I seem to have an issue with canned pumpkin. It all started when there was a pumpkin shortage two years ago. Because I could not find my beloved canned pumpkin in my local stores (or online), I made it a habit to stop at grocery stores (especially small ones in the country) when en route to Houston or Dallas, and, if I was lucky enough to find a few cans, I would buy them all. I let my quest be known to friends and neighbors and before long they would drop off cans, as they found them, to enhance my horde. I have to say, it was pretty great.
The pumpkin shortage was extinguished with the following autumn’s crop, but I never stopped purchasing excess quantities of canned pumpkin. I stir it into yogurt, add it to smoothies, use it to enrich and sauces, and stews, and mix it into countless baked goods, from protein bars to pies.
But hoarding canned goods can be tricky when you have a husband who examines expiration dates with a religious zeal, so I have been forced to use my creativity–and my pumpkin supply–at an accelerated pace. I was finding it hard to face another pumpkin smoothie when the weather took an overnight turn from sweltering to sweetly cool. I promptly made a batch of coconut and curry pumpkin soup for lunch.
Pumpkin soups are ubiquitous in the fall and winter, but this one has a decidedly springtime vibe. With a sprinkle of cilantro, the soup has the colors of sunshine and grass, and the flavors are equally bright and breezy. You can tweak it with different spices (especially if you have curry issues). Smoked paprika (pimenton), for example, or a combination of cumin powder and coriander would be lovely. You can top the soup with a few pumpkin seeds, cilantro, hot sauce, or toasted coconut, or add a few cooked shrimp, some cooked chicken or tempeh. I also like to bump up the protein by whisking in some unflavored pea protein powder (see my notes following the recipe). You can reheat any leftovers the next day or freeze the cooled leftovers. The flavors only get better.
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil OR vegetable oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I used Taste of Thai--it's vegan & GF)
- 1 28-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1-3/4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar or agave nectar
- grated zest and juice of 2 medium limes
- Optional/suggested add-ons:
- cilantro leaves
- roasted pumpkin seeds (white or green)
- sriracha (or hot sauce of choice)
- additional lime wedges
- toasted flake coconut
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the curry paste; cook and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the pumpkin puree; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the broth, coconut milk and brown sugar. Let the soup come to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Whisk in the lime juice and zest, then season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve with any of the additional add-ons, if desired.
Curry Options: Look for Thai curry paste in small jars where Asian foods are shelved in the grocery store. Alternatively, use 1-1/2 tablespoons of curry powder (mild or medium) in place of the curry paste.
Instant Protein Powder Power-Boost: Add ½ cup water and ½ cup (about 2-1/2 scoops) unsweetened pea protein powder (I used Growing Naturals Original Pea Protein Powder) along with the broth and coconut milk. This changes the calories and protein per serving to the following: 155 calories/ 8 grams protein,