‘Tis the season for pumpkins! Halloween is a much celebrated holiday in our house. Growing up, I would spend the months leading up to Halloween carefully planning my costume ... a joker playing card kept me coloring for weeks in preparation, R2D2 had my father wiring lights for my blinking white cardboard body (my dad’s white motorcycle helmet provided the perfect top!), and on several Halloweens I chose the classic witch.
Halloween has become a special anniversary, too - Bob and I had our first date on this day 25 years ago when we were undergrads together at UCLA. We went to see Fatal Attraction ... quite the first date movie! Walking back from the theater, Bob asked, “So how do you feel about commitment?” and I burst out laughing. He’s kept me happily laughing all these years.
So, with the arrival of Halloween and jack-o-lantern carving, there are many delicious ways to add pumpkins to your holiday celebration. And soup is always a perfect way in my opinion!
I’ve been playing around with this soup recipe for a few autumns. You can use freshly steamed pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin works just fine. Spiced with cardamom and coriander, the soup also has a slight kick from cayenne. Coconut milk makes it creamy, and a surprise ingredient is banana, which adds a bit of sweetness (and provides a terrific way to use those overripe bananas stashed in your freezer).
Perfect to ladle into bowls for your Halloween celebration or to begin your Thanksgiving feast, I enjoy this soup most when cuddled up on the couch with Bob, a warm cup in my hand to sip.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste
2 medium, very ripe bananas, peeled and chopped
2 cups organic, pure pumpkin puree (fresh or 1-15 ounce can)
1-13 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unfiltered apple cider
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted pumpkin seeds, garnish
Additional cayenne, garnish
In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and carrots and stir. Let cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cardamom, coriander, turmeric and cayenne and stir. Let cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the bananas, pumpkin puree, coconut milk, broth and cider. Stir together and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds, snipped chives and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Can be made ahead and rewarmed gently before serving.