There’s no doubt that pumpkin soup is a favourite Winter meal for many people, but sometimes it’s good to give our favourites a bit of a twist! The great thing about soup is that the possibilities are pretty much endless and you can really make it your own by adding different vegetables or other ingredients. I started making this satay version a couple of years ago and it’s peanut & coconut flavours are a real hit with anyone who tries it. I don’t like things particularly spicy, but if you and your family do, feel free to add some chilli flakes or powder into the soup or sprinkled on top.
To keep this soup creamy and delicious without adding the traditional cream, I use light evaporated milk as it has less saturated fat (the type of fat which needs to be limited to small amounts for good health). Coconut essence adds a flavour hit of coconut without adding saturated fat, as even low-fat versions of coconut milk or cream can contain large amounts of saturated fat. Although coconut oil is getting a lot of media hype as being a great ‘superfood’, there is no solid scientific evidence to show that the saturated fat in coconut oil is better for us than other saturated fats in the diet, so it’s best to limit our overall intake of saturated fat. The occasional can of coconut milk isn’t going to cause harm, but don’t fall into the ‘superfood’ trap and start adding coconut oil to every meal, no one food is that good for us!
To add extra fibre to this soup I kept the skin on my butternut pumpkin when I roasted it. This also cuts out the tedious task of peeling the skin off the pumpkin, which will save you time and unnecessary frustration. It does mean the finished soup is likely to have a few lumps, so if you prefer your soup absolutely smooth you may want to peel the pumpkin first, and I do not recommend trying this time-saving tip with thicker skinned pumpkins because your blender might not cope. Keeping the skin on the butternut pumpkin seemed to work fine though – it even passed the man test! And you know how picky they can be.
Satay Pumpkin Soup
2kg butternut pumpkin
1.5 Tbsp sesame/peanut oil
2 onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves, whole
375ml can light evaporated milk
3 tsp coconut essence
150g smooth peanut butter (no added sugar or salt)
2 salt reduced vegetable stock cubes
5 cups boiling water
chopped peanuts, coriander, chilli flakes and natural yoghurt, to serve (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Chop pumpkin into 2cm cubes, de-seeding but leaving the skin on. Put in a couple of baking trays along with onions, garlic and sesame or peanut oil, toss to coat and season with pepper. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked.
2. Heat evaporated milk, coconut essence, peanut butter and stock cubes in a large soup pot, stirring until combined. Add roasted pumpkin, onion and garlic to the pot along with boiling water and blend with a stick blender to desired consistency. If you prefer a smoother consistency blend in batches in a blender or food processor.
3. Ladle soup into bowls and top with chopped peanuts, coriander and natural yoghurt, if desired. Freeze any unused portions for future meals.
Nutrition info (per serve, not including toppings) - 1432kJ, 15g fat (3g saturated), 14g protein, 31g carbohydrates (26g sugars), 223mg sodium, 10g fibre, 3.7 vegetable serves. Cost = $1.63.
Why should you eat this? First and foremost because it is delicious and a great way to warm up on a cold wintery night. It’s also high in fibre and vegetable content and low in kJ and sodium, so it ticks a lot of nutrition boxes as well. All of that for just $13.01 for a big pot – make sure you put some away for lunches during the week!
What is your favourite twist on pumpkin soup? Share it in the comments below.