This Roast Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup makes good use of all those inexpensive seasonal Halloween pumpkins. Instead of discarding the insides of your carved Halloween pumpkin, keep it, and prepare this easy, wholesome, delicious veggie soup that is perfect for lunch or dinner or simply as a nourishing snack. Enjoy with a drizzle of vegan cream, sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and deliciously toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Perfect for warming up the family during the chilly months and for special holiday meals such as Harvest, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New year celebrations.
History Of Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkins are native to the Americas as Indigenous peoples have been cultivating and consuming pumpkins and other squash varieties for thousands of years. Before Europeans arrived in the Americas, Indigenous tribes had been using pumpkins as a staple in their diets. They also dried and ground pumpkins into a flour-like substance.
After Christopher Columbus' voyages to the New World in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, many American plants, including pumpkins, were introduced to Europe and were soon used for cooking. The French, for example, are known for their "potage de potiron," a type of pumpkin soup.
When the European settlers arrived in North America, they were introduced to pumpkins by the Indigenous peoples and quickly adopted them into their diets. There's a popular belief that the first Thanksgiving dinner including pumpkin dishes, possibly even an early version of a pumpkin pie, but there is some speculation around those ideas.
As settlers expanded their colonies, they brought their cooking traditions with them, adapting and incorporating local ingredients into their diets. The process of making soups by boiling various ingredients together was common, so pumpkin naturally found its way into these recipes.
Over the centuries, as cooking techniques evolved and ingredient availability changed, pumpkin soup recipes would have adapted. The soup could be made creamy with the addition of milk or cream, and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon were added, especially in regions where they were accessible. In modern times, there are many versions of pumpkin soup with many cultures including various flavors, from the spicy curries of Thailand to the savory potages of France.
In Australia, pumpkin soup is a family favourite especially during colder months, and while it is less common in the UK, it is still a relatively popular soup especially during the Halloween festivities. In The U.S., pumpkin recipes, including soups, become very popular especially as fall approaches and Thanksgiving nears. Other countries have their own version of pumpkin or squash soup including Africa, and Asia. And a spicy squash soup is a favourite in Haiti and is enjoyed their New Year celebrations.
Roast Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup
Preparing this soup is so easy with no long simmering on the stovetop required. Instead the pumpkin, sweet potato, red pepper, and onion chunks are roasted for 35-40 minutes with tasty garlic and fresh thyme.
No oil is required to roast the veggies to perfection but if preferred drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil over the veggies. Alternatively a swivel of balsamic vinegar would be delicious.
Once roasted the veggies are added to the soup pot along with some hot vegan chicken flavoured stock. Although any vegan stock can be used instead. Once the soup is seasoned with salt and pepper it is blended smooth using an immersion stick blender.
The smooth, silky pumpkin soup is heated through before being served with a garnish of vegan cream, toasted sunflower seeds and red pepper flakes.
Dry toasting sunflower seeds only takes a few minutes. A small non-stick pan is heated for a few minutes along with the seeds, a few twigs of thyme and a sprinkle of salt. Once the pan is very hot it can be taken off the heat and gently shaken back and forth so that the seeds brown nicely and evenly.
The toasted sunflower seeds are a tasty snack and any seeds or nuts can be substituted. Delicious.
This pumpkin soup recipe feeds 4 good sized portions or it could be stretched to 6 smaller bowls especially if feeding kids or using the soup as a starter.
How to prepare roast pumpkin & sweet potato soup
This is the best easiest roast pumpkin soup as the fresh simple ingredients - pumpkin, sweet potato, red pepper, garlic and onion, are roasted in the oven to bring out their natural delicious sweet and savoury flavours, before blending the soup into a silky smooth slurp-able soup!
Also, this pumpkin soup recipe can be prepared with any type of pumpkin, including butternut squash, and we especially love using the insides of those large pumpkins that are extra cheap during the Halloween season, although they are intended for carving they can easily be turned into a delicious bowl of budget-friendly soup!
Place the pumpkin, sweet potato, red pepper and onion on a baking tray. Add the garlic and fresh thyme.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until soft and golden brown in areas.
Add the roasted veggies to a soup pot. Pluck the thyme leaves off the stalks and add those to the pot.
Pour in the hot vegetable stock, add the cayenne pepper, along with some salt and black pepper.
Using an immersion stick blender puree the soup until smooth. Or cool the soup and then use a food processor to blend the soup.
Reheat before serving.
Using a small skillet or fry pan - toast the sunflower or pumpkin seeds with some fresh thyme and a pinch of salt, until they take on some golden hues. Shake or stir the seeds well during toasting.
Serving suggestion: Enjoy with a drizzle of oat cream, toasted sunflower seeds, and red pepper flakes or a dash of paprika.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Leftovers can be stored within a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or freeze for 2-3 months. Defrost completely before reheating.
Pour leftovers into a pot and gently bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until piping hot. Stir frequently during reheating. Or reheat using a microwave.
Yes, the main consideration is that a gluten-free vegetable stock is used and that any herb or spices that may be added are also free from gluten as some may add flour as a thickener. Also if using a shop-bought vegan cream as a garnish do ensure that it is gluten-free.
No, its not essential to roast the vegetables, as they can be steamed or boiled on the stove-top before using for the soup, or all the ingredients added to the soup pot and cooked until soft before blending. However, for the best flavours we do highly recommend roasting the veggies as it does make a huge difference. Also roasting the veggies cuts down the length of time needed to cook the soup on the stove top, as once roasted the soup just needs blended and then heated through.
Alternatively, sauté the vegetables in about a tablespoon of oil, or half a cup of veggie stock, for around 10 minutes or until everything is soft, stir frequently and aim for a nice colour on the vegetables. Next pour in the stock and blend until smooth and then reheat. At least with this method it will help with releasing the tasty vegetable flavours compared with steaming or boiling.
Some people prefer a chunkier soup so blending is not a requirement. Although blending does lead to a silkier smooth soup texture and for those picky eaters who are skeptical of eating pumpkin it can help!
If you are not going to blend the soup the veggies could be chopped into smaller pieces before roasting otherwise your soup may resemble more of a stew.
Alternatively, you could use a potato masher to mash up some of the soup, and stir the mashed vegetables through the soup, or you could use an immersion blender to puree half of the soup so that some texture remains.
We use an immersion stick blender but a food processer or larger counter top blender or smoothie mixer could be used instead. Although it is always best not to pour boiling hot soup into a plastic blender, rather wait until its cooled, but do consult your appliances guidebook for specific guidance.
Add any flavours you like if you are not too keen on fresh thyme or don't have easy access to thyme.
A few ideas - sprinkle these suggestions over the vegetables before they are roasted, and give everything a good stir, use a mix of flavours or just one:
* ground cumin, or stir cumin seeds through the vegetables before they are roasted
* ground coriander
* paprika powder, either ordinary or go with a sweet, smoked, or hot variety
* dried or fresh sage
* dried or fresh rosemary
* dried parsley
* a dried herb mix or a mix such as one from the Mrs Dash range
* curry powder
* chilli powder
* garam masala powder
* a pinch or two of cinnamon
* dried nutmeg
* garlic powder or granules
* onion powder or granules
Yes, there are a few substitution ideas that would work well, such as:
* Instead of pumpkin use butternut squash, acorn squash, vegetable marrow, courgette [zucchini]
* Replace the sweet potato for carrots or ordinary potatoes
* A yellow or orange pepper can replace the red pepper
* Instead of thyme use some fresh sage, rosemary, oregano, lemon balm
* Replace the fresh onion and garlic with their dried counterparts, go for about 2-3 teaspoons of each depending on how strong a flavour you prefer
* Instead of oat cream, drizzle in a little plant-based milk or canned coconut milk, or use a cream such as Alpro single soya cream or Elmlea plant cream, or prepare a home-made cashew cream. Dr McDougall's cashew cream recipe calls for 3 cups of cashews and 3 cups of water which results in 4 cups of cashew cream. But simply reduce the ingredients for less amounts, which is what we do! Just remember the ratio 1:1, so the same amount of cashews to water.
* Replace the sunflower seeds with pumpkin seeds or chopped cashew nuts, walnuts, flaked almonds or crushed peanuts
A nice chunk of home-made or shop-bought bread is a delicious accompaniment to a bowl of home-cooked pumpkin soup, its such as homely comforting meal. A few side suggestions:
* Irish Traditional Soda Bread (100% wholemeal, naturally no-oil recipe, and a no-yeast quick bread)
* Australian Damper Bread ( similar to a plain soda bread and is also a no-yeast quick bread)
* Traditional Scottish Oatcakes
* Oil-free Traditional Scottish Oatcakes
* crackers/ saltines
* rice cakes, rye cakes, corn cakes, or lentil cakes
* American biscuits
* Old-Fashioned Cornbread Muffins
* Old-Fashioned Bran Muffins
* Warm vegan croissant, bagel, or crumpet
* Vegan cheese toasted or grilled sandwiches
* A delicious sandwich such as this Vegan Coronation Chickpea Sandwich or this Vegan Tofu 'egg' and Cress Mayonnaise Sandwich or a Ploughman's Lunch Baguette
* A big crispy green side salad, or this easy Italian Bread Salad or a fancier Waldorf Salad!
* Additionally, we find that a few wee spring rolls, vegan sausage rolls, pakoras, or samosas on the side are a very tasty accompaniment
Yes, you can eat Halloween carving pumpkins, also known as "jack-o'-lantern" pumpkins.
However, do consider the following points :
1. As carving pumpkins are grown for their size and durability, not necessarily for their taste or texture, they can be more watery and less sweet than pie pumpkins or other varieties grown specifically for eating. This means that while they're edible, they might not be as flavourful, but the flavour can be intensified by roasting the pumpkin which also serves to reduce the moisture content, and by adding tasty herbs and spices.
2. If you're planning on eating a carving pumpkin, make sure it hasn't been treated with any chemicals or pesticides that aren't safe for consumption. Also, ensure that no non-food-safe materials, like candle wax or paint, have contaminated the inside. The best way to avoid this is to scoop all the pumpkin flesh out, and store the pumpkin within the refrigerator, before using the pumpkin as a jack-o-lantern. Also avoid eating the pumpkin skin.
3. Make sure the pumpkin is still fresh when you use it as if it's been sitting out for a long time, especially with a candle inside, it might have started to rot or mold so check for any signs of spoilage before consuming. However, again, its best to remove the pumpkin flesh whilst you are carving it, and store the insides within the refrigerator, rather than eat an already carved pumpkin that's sat around during the Halloween festivities.
4. Don't discard the seeds! The seeds of carving pumpkins can be roasted and eaten, just like any other pumpkin seeds.
5. If you're looking for a richer flavour and better texture, especially for stuffed pumpkin recipes or pumpkin pies, then look out for the smaller carving pumpkins as these would be best. We always bake a pumpkin pie for Halloween using a small inexpensive carving pumpkin and its always very tasty.
Toasting pumpkin seeds from a carving pumpkin is a delicious way to make use of the entire pumpkin. First remove the seeds and rinse them under a tap, picking off any pumpkin pulp.
Lay the seeds out onto kitchen paper and pat them dry. Next, prepare a baking sheet and spread the dry seeds over and season with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, mixed spice, sugar, etc. Or any flavours you like.
A little oil can be stirred through or perhaps use a spray oil. Roast [150 Fan, 170 C, 338F, Gas 3] for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crisp, you may need to cook longer or for less time depending on your seeds.
Stir the seeds a few times during baking so they all get evenly crisp. Cool the seeds on the baking tray, just like home-made granola they will become crisper as they cool. Once completely cool store in an air-tight container and use as a soup garnish, add to granola or muesli, eat as they are for a snack, or sprinkle some over yogurt.
Sprinkle your roast pumpkin soup with toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for extra crunch, flavour, and nutrition.
More Vegan Recipes that feature pumpkin or squash
We love pumpkin and squash season as the supermarkets and stores often sell these tasty veggies quite cheaply so we always stock up on lots! Last year we kept one of our Halloween pumpkins for 6 months before we actually ate it! If stored somewhere cool and dry they can last ages!
Our Vegan Pumpkin Spice Fruit Loaf Cake was prepared with cooked and mashed pumpkin that came from one of those Halloween carving pumpkins, and a slice of this incredibly moist and perfectly spiced fruit cake is perfect for Halloween or Thanksgiving afternoon teas, snacks, or even enjoy for dessert along with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Our Harvest Pumpkin and Lentil Open Pie also makes good use of Halloween pumpkins.
If your looking for a recipe for stuffed acorn squash then our Vegan Chana Chaat makes an amazingly tasty filling and our recipe also has a method for how to cook stuffed acorn squash which would be a great meal for Thanksgiving or a dinner party.
Finally, for mid-week meals one of our family favourites is this Vegan Butternut Squash & Lentil Lasagne which just hits the tasty comfort food spot every-time!
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Roast Pumpkin Soup
- Baking tray/s
- Large soup pan, Dutch oven pot, large saucepan
- Immersion blender, food processer, or blender
- Small non-stick pan for toasting seeds (optional)
- 700 grams pumpkin [or squash or butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks, weight is after the pumpkin has been peeled and deseeded, about 1 medium sized pumpkin]
- 190 grams red bell pepper [1 large, sliced into chunks]
- 340 grams sweet potato [2 medium, chopped into wedges or chunks]
- 170 grams onion [1 large, sliced into thick chunk]
- 4 garlic cloves [use more if liked, or 2-3 teaspoons of dried garlic]
- 1 bunch fresh thyme [or two teaspoons of dried thyme]
- pinch cayenne pepper [use more to taste, or replace with 1-2 teaspoons of paprika or to taste]
- 2 litres vegetable stock [hot]
- 4 tablespoon plant-based cream [either fresh or shelf stable variety]
- 4 tablespoon sunflower seeds [or shop-bought hulled pumpkin seeds, plus extra fresh or dried thyme, and a pinch of salt for toasting]
- 3 teaspoon red pepper, paprika, or chilli flakes [add more as liked]
- Preheat the oven to 180 Fan, 200 Celsius, 392 Fahrenheit, Gas 6.
- Place the pumpkin, red pepper, sweet potato, and onion chunks onto baking trays, and add the thyme stalks and garlic.700 grams pumpkin, 190 grams red bell pepper, 340 grams sweet potato, 170 grams onion, 4 garlic cloves, 1 bunch fresh thyme
- Roast for 35-45 minutes or until the veggies are soft.Half-way through cooking the veggies can be turned over but this is not essential.
- Once roasted add the veggies to a soup pot. Pick the leaves off the roasted thyme and add those to the pot as well.Pour in the hot vegetable stock and season with salt, black pepper, and the cayenne pepper or paprika.pinch cayenne pepper, 2 litres vegetable stock
- Using an immersion hand blender puree the soup until smooth. If your concerned about scraping your pot, pour the soup into a bowl to puree and then pour back into the pot. Or use a food processor or stand blender instead (but check your appliance guidebook as it may not be advisable to pour hot soup into the blender or processor, if so then leave the soup to cool first before blending).
- [Alternatively, mash the soup with a potato masher and give the soup a good stir. The amount of mashing is personal preference as some may prefer a chunkier soup with more texture.]
- Once blended heat the soup until piping hot and adjust the seasoning to taste, adding more salt and pepper, and cayenne or paprika.
- Serve with a drizzle of vegan cream and a good sprinkle of red pepper, paprika, or chilli flakes.4 tablespoon plant-based cream, 3 teaspoon red pepper, paprika, or chilli flakes
- Optional: Scatter over toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.4 tablespoon sunflower seeds
Easy method for toasting shop-bought sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional as can simply use plain seeds for garnish):
- Heat a small non-stick pan with the sunflower seeds, a few sprigs of thyme, and some salt, until very hot. The seeds may sound like they are going to pop. Once the pan is very hot remove from the stove and shake back and forth until the seeds are nicely browned in places. Once the thyme sprigs are cooler the leaves can be plucked off and mixed through the toasty sunflower seeds.*If you would like to roast the pumpkin seeds obtained from a pumpkin then do have a look at our recipe notes and FAQ section above this recipe for an easy guide*
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary.
- Leftovers can be stored within a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Or freeze for 2-3 months. Defrost completely before reheating.
- Pour leftovers into a pot and gently bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until piping hot. Stir frequently.
- Butternut squash or acorn squash can substitute the pumpkin.
- Halloween carving pumpkins can be used for this soup.
- For gluten-free soup use a gluten-free vegetable stock, and that any spice powders are free from gluten ingredients, and if using vegan cream check that it is free of gluten ingredients.
- Instead of toasting sunflower seeds try pumpkin, sesame, or poppy seeds. Or chopped cashews, walnuts, peanuts or flaked almonds.
- For a simple guide on toasting pumpkin seeds from Halloween pumpkins do check out the recipe notes and FAQ's above this recipe card.
Prepared our Roast Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe so do pop back and let us know how you got on, and click the star ratings. Its very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x