Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pumpkin Soup with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Haitian Pumpkin Soup is one of my favorite meals in Haiti.

I am back home in the United States attending graduate school for Public Health Nutrition right now. In case you are wondering, school is going great! I have met some incredible people and am learning a lot.  It has been extremely busy between my research assistant position and classes. I am realizing, however, that my time in Haiti has been extremely valuable for the things I am learning and working on in graduate school. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have lived and volunteered in Haiti. I didn't realize how much knowledge and skills I actually acquired while I was there...

It's been about 3 months since I have been in Haiti, and I am really missing all my Haitian friends, the missionaries I lived with, and the children at the orphanage.

With the fall weather upon us here in the United States, I felt inspired to make pumpkin soup! It was absolutely wonderful and reminded me of my "home" away from home.

My haitian friends would be so proud!

Along with the pumpkin soup, I also made a tasty pumpkin-seed pesto to top it off. It was absolutely delicious and nutritious! I can't believe I used to throw away the seeds of my squash. See my blog, "Don't throw away those seeds" : HERE

If you've never made pumpkin soup before, you should give it a try! It's pretty easy and you can make it with just about whatever combination of vegetables you have on-hand. Below are the ingredients that I used in my version of pumpkin soup; it's what we had at the house. You could easily add onions, potatoes, taro root,  and/or noodles to this... curry, peanut butter , and/or miso would also taste great in this soup! Nutritional yeast, beans, tofu could be added for more plant-based protein. So many things you could do to this soup to give it a different kick! Get creative!


Ingredients:

1. 1 Squash- butternut or kabuki (I only used one for the soup)


Same squash, different skin! 

2. Carrots 

 3. Sweet Peppers


4. Leafy Green Vegetables (kale and chard)

5. Cabbage 

 6. Green Onion 

 7. Coconut
(I made this into coconut milk)




 8. Garlic, parsley, ginger, cilantro , pepper, and water
 (Not pictured)

Steps: 
**Please be sure to wash all your produce well, including the outside of the squash if you plan on using it in your recipe. 

1. Boil or roast squash in the oven until soft 
(until you can poke a fork through the skin)


2. Chop vegetables. 
(I pre-steamed the carrots and the cabbage ahead of time to speed up the cooking process)


3. Put the squash in the blender with water. 
(I left the skin on and removed the seeds, but don't throw them away....) 




 You may need to add water as you go. There is no exact amount of water necessary-- it all depends on the consistency you like. 



5. Pour the squash puree in a pot on the stove. Warm on low-medium heat. 

4. Blend together the green onion and garlic
 (I used 3 cloves--which was a little strong. I suggest using 1 or 2 cloves) 


 5. Mix the green onion mixture into the squash puree. 

6. Make your coconut milk by blending the coconut meat with water (or you can use an already prepared kind. This is optional ingredient.)
Then add it to the soup on the stove. 


 7. Add the cabbage, carrots, kale, chard, peppers... (and the rest of the vegetables you want to add or have on hand) to the soup on the stove. 





8. Add the seasonings( parsley, cilantro, ginger, pepper). Don't go too crazy on the ginger unless you really like it. The parsley and the cilantro aren't overly potent flavors, so dash away. Add a little salt if need be. If you like it hot like the Haitians, add some hot peppers or crushed red pepper! 





Pumpkin Seed Pesto:

1. Blend pumpkin seeds with water until fairly smooth. You may need to keep adding water until it is the consistency that you like. 




2. Add basil and a dash of salt to the pumpkin seed mix. I also added 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. 


3. Now you've got Pumpkin Seed pesto! 




I added the pesto to the top of my soup. If you want to, you could just blend it into a soup consistency and mix it with the rest of the squash puree. 




And ENJOY! 



This was the only piece left of my squash...... 










(Now I am back to the textbooks to study.)