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Pumpkin Soup

Fri 18th Oct, 2019 - 10:16am by Emma Cockrell

October is the only month of the year that you can find pumpkin readily available in the shops. The majority of these seem to be used for carving autumnal decorations, but let’s not forget that pumpkin is a versatile vegetable suitable for many dishes.

Pumpkin Nutrition

Because pumpkin has a high water content, it is relatively low in calories and carbohydrate. Along with fibre, it also contains good levels of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, vitamin B2 and vitamin E. However, the biggest boast of pumpkin is its vitamin A content, in the form of beta-carotene. This is a carotenoid that turns to vitamin A when in the body. Whereas with animal or supplemental sources of vitamin A it is possible to ingest too much, the body only converts as much beta carotene to vitamin A as it needs. This is particularly helpful for women who are pregnant, where a fine balance needs to be held between adequate and excess vitamin A.

Carotenoids and Vitamin A

As well as beta carotene, pumpkin contains other carotenoids including alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These phytonutrients are known to be antioxidants, which are so important in neutralising the free-radical molecules produced by our bodies’ metabolic processes.

The benefits of vitamin A include supporting the immune system, which is good to know at this time of year. Vitamin A is also helpful for healthy skin. It may also help protect skin cells from harmful UV rays.

Pumpkin contains additional phytonutrients including lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds are important for eye health, particularly linked with lower risk for age-related macular degeneration.

How to Use Pumpkin

Don’t be put off by its size! The easiest way to prepare this beautiful vegetable is to give it a good wash and then cut into slices, as you would a melon, with a sharp knife. You can then pull the seeds out from the centre of each slice and carefully remove the skin. Chop through the slice to make cubes. These can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days, or frozen to use at a later date.

Roast Pumpkin

Pumpkin doesn’t usually have as much flavour as butternut squash. Therefore, it can be made more interesting by tossing the cubed pumpkin flesh in one or two crushed cloves of garlic before roasting in a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Cook slowly at a medium oven temperature until tender. Serve with anything! Use in place of potato, toss into rocket leaves for a warm salad, or top with a poached egg.

Pumpkin Soup

A warming autumnal meal doesn’t get much simpler than this! Serve with Protein Low-Carb rolls for a complete meal.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 onion peeled & chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups pumpkin peeled & chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of filtered water
  • 1 cup of filtered water (or vegetable stock or bone broth)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of ground cumin (optional)
  • black pepper
  • Pinch Lo-Salt or Himalayan Pink salt

 

 Method

  1. Place the onion in a pan with the olive oil and a tablespoon of water. Cook gently until onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the crushed garlic and continue cooking for a couple of minutes
  3. Stir in the dried cumin if using and cook for about 30 seconds
  4. Add the chopped pumpkin and stir into the onions and spice. Add one cup of water or stock
  5. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until pumpkin is tender.
  6. Blend veg to create a creamy soup. Add more water if necessary. Taste and season if you need to.
  7. Sprinkle with a little more ground cumin to serve.
  8. This will keep in the fridge for several days, or it can be frozen.