Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Soup: Beta-Carotene on Steroids

Pumpkins are a type of squash that has been in the Americas since 7000 BC and was introduced to Europe in the sixteenth century. Pumpkins are really a berry with a hard outer shell rather than a vegetable.

The bright orange color of pumpkin indicates that pumpkin is loaded with the antioxidant, beta-carotene. Research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease. Beta-carotene aids in the prevention of other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.

1 cup cooked pumpkin has 49 calories and 2 grams of protein.

This is a great recipe to use on Thanksgiving or any of the colder evenings that are bound to present themselves this fall. I supersized my beta-carotene levels by slicing the roasted carrots that I made over the weekend and adding them to the soup. I topped the soup after I plated it with a sprinkling of roasted butternut squash cubes. If you don;t have the butternut squash, croutons will do just as well.

Sweet and Creamy Pumpkin Soup 
Serves 6
2 tablespoons brown sugar
15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 cans chicken broth, 14 ½ oz each
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 c fresh parsley
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  • Sauté onion in the butter until tender, then add half the chicken broth. Stir well and bring  to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Process broth in a food processor until smooth. Put it back in the pan and add the other can of broth, the salt, cinnamon, pumpkin puree, pepper, sugar and ginger.
  • Stir the mixture well and bring it to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat. Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring it all the time.
  • Stir in the cream, add capers and balsamic vinegar and warm without boiling. 
  • Optional: add sliced roasted carrots.
  • Place soup into 6 serving bowls and top with croutons or cooked butternut squash cubes

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