Even using canned pumpkin purée, this soup is creamy and flavorful and most importantly quick! Gluten free, vegan, paleo, keto or eat whatever you want when you want, this pumpkin soup recipe works for all, and is brilliant when the mercury drops. Warm up and enjoy fall with a wonderfully-spiced, rich and creamy bowl.
The perfect fall weather dish
I love, LOVE, love the fall season! Beautiful colors, crisp air and harvesting of all kind really gets me going. Especially harvest in California’s wine country, where the pumpkin below came to life. You’ll never see so many grapes and smell such wonderful aromas of fermenting grape juice. And eat such amazing, seasonal food (to skip ahead to said seasonal food, click here to go straight to my pumpkin soup recipe). And my last two words for the moment on wine country:
For a few more tips on visiting California’s wine country with little ones, jump to this.
Fresh roasted pumpkin vs canned pumpkin
For easy pumpkin soup
For an easy pumpkin soup that you can whip up in less than 30 minutes, of course canned pumpkin is the way to go. I try and find an organic brand, and always be sure the only ingredient is pumpkin.
For rich, fresh pumpkin soup: roast sugar pumpkins
For an amazingly pure, richly flavored pumpkin soup, pick up three to five sugar pumpkins and roast them yourself.
Pumpkin Roasting Instructions
- Slice small pumpkins in half
- Drizzle the flesh with olive or avocado oil
- Season generously with salt
- Roast cut-side down at 400° F for 35-45 minutes, until flesh is tender.
- Cool pumpkins and scrape out cooked flesh.
- Blend roasted pumpkin before adding to soup.
Vegan pumpkin soup
Any kind of soup is easily made vegan. With the exception of cheese and cream soups, most are vegetable-packed, hearty delights. For vegan pumpkin soup, simply use your preferred healthy oil like olive, or vegan butter to sauté the vegetables. For a silky finish, whisk or blend in coconut milk or cream at the end of cooking.
Spicy + spiced pumpkin soup
Some like it hot
If you like your soup to clear your sinuses, shake in a few drops of your favorite hot sauce. My advice would be to do this in each individual bowl, and not the pot. The pepper sauce will become increasingly spicy as the soup stores. This approach keeps the soup friendly for everyone.
Chinese five-spice pumpkin soup
I love Chinese five-spice powder, especially adding it to my squash dishes. The blend of five ground spices screams FALL! and warms the soul with its combination of sweet and savory spices.
Chinese Five-Spice Blend:
- Star anise
- White Pepper
A not so secret chef secret about seasoning, soups included
Rarely in a restaurant would there be specific measurements for salt and pepper. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of recipes in restaurant kitchens, but scan down to the salt and pepper on the ingredient list and you won’t find an amount. What you will find is the two magic words: to taste. WHAT THE HECK? How MUCH?
Sip, season, sip, season, so on and so on
The answer is you will know when you start tasting. Taste your soup… what does it need? Add a little salt. Taste again. Perhaps some pepper? Add a little pepper, take another taste. You’ve added enough of all types of spices and seasonings when you are happy with the flavor.
That’s what is great about cooking your own food at home. At a restaurant you are at the mercy of the kitchen’s cooks (who hopefully have a developed a keen sense of seasoning). But at home – you’re the boss.
Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. And the kiddos.
Yours in seasoning,Print
This is pumpkin soup for all diets, including vegan! Use my seasonings as a guide – not the end all, eat all. For any mention of “small dice”, just do your best to cut the ingredient to somewhere near 1/4″ pieces.
- 4 ounces pancetta or 4-6 strips of bacon, chopped small (leave out for vegan + GAPS diet)
- Butter, ghee or avocado oil
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 2 stalks of celery, small dice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (chopped super small, almost to a paste)
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme or parsley stems
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (couple small splashes)
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock, no salt added (homemade for GAPS diet)
- 28–30 ounces pumpkin puree, fresh roasted or canned (1 large can or 2 small)
- ½–1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup heavy cream or coconut milk/cream
- Kosher salt & ground white pepper, to taste
Crisp the pancetta or bacon (if using)
In a dutch oven or large soup pot, crisp the meat over medium heat with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. Remove and drain on paper towels, reserve for later.
Combine and simmer the rest of the ingredients
- In pancetta drippings left in the pot or with oil/butter/ghee, sauté onions and celery until translucent.
- Add bay leaves and garlic, cook a minute, stirring to keep garlic from burning.
- Add thyme or parsley, stock, and pumpkin and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat, and simmer on low for 15 to 30 minutes, even a couple hours.
- Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
- Blend your soup in batches for the smoothest, silkiest texture, or use an immersion blender for quick smoothing out.
- Add Chinese five spice, nutmeg and season to taste with salt.
- Optional! Whisk in cream, a dash of Tabasco or Sriracha, or a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
- Garnish with pancetta, chopped fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds or all three!
Keywords: soup, pumpkin soup recipe, pumpkin soup, giant pumpkin
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Tips for visiting Napa Valley with kids
I love Northern California, and find any excuse to talk and reminisce about my time living and working in wine country. I didn’t have kids then, but I do now. And if we find ourselves there, the following would be our first stops, other than a winery picnic at V. Sattui.
- Old Faithful geyser in Calistoga (not to be confused with Yellowstone’s own). The geyser spouts regularly, there are plenty of picnic tables, and even grazing goats!
- The historic Petrified Forest. Great for a fun hike amidst huge, ash-white toppled tree trunks, and leashed dog-friendly.
- Treat yourself to some of the best French food this side of the Atlantic at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville (please forgive the overt bias, I trained in the kitchen at Bouchon).
- Brave the winding mountain roads to enjoy a memorable picnic at Pride Mountain Vineyards. The kids will have fun standing in two places at once (the vineyard is on Sonoma/Napa country line), and the wines are cab and chardonnay are class acts.