I always feel like I’m about two weeks behind. So, apologies for the lack of Halloween inspiration, but I’m sure your news feeds and inboxes were filled with plenty of spooky recipes. In any case, if you’re anything like me, you will have excitedly bought a few pumpkins to scoop out and decorate for Halloween, which will inevitably still be sitting in your kitchen a few days after Halloween has gone by. We scored 3 huge pumpkins at the market for just £2, though we only got round to carving one, which leaves me with two to cook with…and that’s how this delicious leftover pumpkin soup came about, topped with kefir and poppy seeds for extra lusciousness.
Once you get past the gunk and the seeds in the middle of the pumpkin, the flesh itself if so simple to chop up and cook with. I find it much easier to work with than butternut squash. Of course, you can roast the seeds, have a read of this post here if you fancy doing that.
The benefit of this recipe is that, aside from being packed full of fresh veggies, most of the other ingredients you’ll find in the store cupboard – red lentils, stock, a tin of tomatoes or passata and since I had a packet of poppy seeds open from making a Plum and Poppy Seed traybake, I sprinkled some over the finished soup, but the roasted seeds or any other seeds would be nice too.
IF you’re vegan (incidentally it’s World Vegan Month) you can follow exactly the same recipe, but swap the kefir for some vegan/soy yoghurt instead and be sure to use a vegan-friendly, vegetable stock.
Kefir seems to be the ingredient of the moment – the consistency is slightly thinner than yoghurt, but a swirl at the end will add a dose of healthy, friendly probiotic bacteria and calcium to your bowl, too. My tip is to pop into your local Polish shop for the kefir as it will be much cheaper than the new ‘trendy’ varieties in the supermarkets. Eastern Europeans have been drinking kefir for donkey’s years, there’s nothing new about it at all…
I hope you had fun celebrating Halloween, or even just celebrating all the wonderful, autumnal ingredients, such as pumpkin, available at the moment. You can absolutely use butternut squash for this soup, or any kind of squash you can find. There are plenty of varieties about.
Other autumnal soups you may like:
Spiced Pumpkin, Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Fried Sage and White Truffle Oil by Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
Or, try this Slimming World-Friendly Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup over at Katie’s Feeding Boys
Here’s the recipe:
Pumpkin Soup with Kefir and Poppy Seeds
Yield 6 servings
Whip up this simple and healthy seasonal pumpkin soup (or use squash) for the perfect autumnal bowl of comfort for lunch or as a light supper. Add a drizzle of kefir for a dose of healthy probiotic and a sprinkle of poppy seeds for a bit of crunch.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 white onions, peeled, halved
- 700g pumpkin or squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into cubes
- 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1 stick celery, washed
- 200g/1 cup red lentils
- 1 x 400g tin tomatoes or tomato passata
- 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 200ml kefir (cultured milk drink) or use natural yoghurt
- 1 tsp poppy seeds per bowl
- Take a large 24cm pan or stock pot, add the olive oil and heat. Add the onions and fry until slightly softened and golden brown.
- Add the pumpkin, carrots and celery, stir well and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the red lentils, tomatoes/passata and stock to the pan. Ensure everything is covered with stock, if not, add a cupful more of water.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft (the carrots will take the longest to cook).
- Season well with sea salt and black pepper.
- Allow the soup to cool a little and then use a stick blender to blend the soup, or transfer into a jug blender (you may need to blend in two batches)
- Serve the soup with a drizzle of kefir and sprinkle over some poppy seeds, or other seeds of your choice.
Thank you to Jude for the pretty napkins from Anthropolgie which were a book launch gift – I love them.