There's nothing like the cozy embrace of a warm bowl of soup, especially when it's homemade. That's why I absolutely love this Pumpkin Carrot Soup recipe. It's a delightful blend of hearty pumpkin and sweet carrots, seasoned with a pinch of spices like cumin and nutmeg. Not only is it easy to make, but the flavors also combine so perfectly that it feels like a hug in a bowl. Whether you're looking for a simple weeknight dinner or something elegant for a gathering, this soup never disappoints.
The best part? You can customize it to suit your dietary needs. Want to go vegan? Use vegetable broth and skip the butter. Need it to be gluten-free? It already is! I usually add a can of coconut milk to make it extra creamy, but you can leave it out if you prefer a lighter version. Plus, it's a great way to use up any leftover pumpkin you might have. So grab your pot and let's make some comforting Pumpkin Carrot Soup!
How to Make Pumpkin Carrot Soup
Alright, let's dive into making this comforting bowl of Pumpkin Carrot Soup. Trust me, your taste buds are in for a treat!
- Start with the Prep: First, I peel my pumpkin and carrots, get rid of any seeds from the pumpkin, and chop everything into cubes and slices. I also dice my onion and mince my garlic.
- Get Sautéing: I heat up a large pot over medium heat and add my choice of olive oil or butter. Once it's hot, I throw in the diced onion. I let it cook until it turns translucent, which usually takes about 5 minutes. Then, I add my minced garlic and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Spice Time: This is where I add my ground cumin and nutmeg. I give everything a good stir so that the spices nicely coat the onions and garlic.
- Add the Veggies: Now, it's time for the pumpkin and carrots to join the party. I add them to the pot and stir everything well, making sure they mix with the onions and spices.
- Pour in the Liquid: I pour in my chosen broth next. If I'm going for a creamier texture, this is when I add my can of coconut milk. I then bring everything to a boil.
- Let It Simmer: I reduce the heat and let my soup simmer away. I let it cook until the pumpkin and carrots are soft, which usually takes about 20-25 minutes.
- Blend It Up: After confirming that my veggies are soft, I turn off the heat. I use my blender or immersion blender to puree the soup. I love a smooth texture, but if you like it chunky, just pulse a few times.
- Final Seasoning: Once my soup is blended, I taste it and add salt and pepper as needed. Sometimes, I even throw in a dash of cayenne for a little kick!
- Garnish and Serve: To finish, I ladle the soup into bowls and garnish it with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme.
Substitutions for Pumpkin Carrot Soup
When I make this Pumpkin Carrot Soup, I know that not everyone will have the exact ingredients on hand, or maybe dietary restrictions will require some swaps. So here are some handy substitutions that I've found work really well:
Coconut Milk: If coconut milk isn't your thing, you can use heavy cream, half-and-half, or for a dairy-free alternative, almond milk. Adjust the amount according to how creamy you want your soup to be.
Cumin and Nutmeg: If you don't have these spices, try using a pinch of curry powder or garam masala for a different but equally tasty flavor profile.
Broth: Don't have vegetable or chicken broth? Water can work in a pinch, though you may need to adjust the seasoning.
Oil or Butter: Any neutral oil like canola or sunflower oil will work. For a vegan option, you can also use vegan butter or even coconut oil.
Fresh Herbs: If you can't find fresh herbs for garnishing, dried herbs will work too. Just use them sparingly, as dried herbs are more potent.
Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Pumpkin Carrot Soup
Texture Variations: If you prefer your soup with more texture, consider only partially blending it. Use an immersion blender and pulse it a few times to leave some chunks of carrot and pumpkin. This will give your soup a more rustic feel.
Broth Choices: Your choice of broth can greatly influence the flavor of the soup. For a more nuanced and deeper flavor, consider using a homemade bone broth. If you're going for a vegan option, a homemade vegetable broth with herbs like thyme and rosemary can add an extra layer of flavor.
Dairy and Non-Dairy Creaminess: The creaminess of the soup comes from the optional coconut milk, but you're not limited to this option. If you don't like the coconut flavor, heavy cream works wonderfully. For a nutty twist, you can use almond milk or even cashew cream as a dairy-free alternative.
Roasting Option: For an added depth of flavor, try roasting the pumpkin and carrots before adding them to the pot. Just toss them in a little olive oil, spread them on a baking sheet, and roast at 400°F (200°C) for about 25-30 minutes. The caramelization brings out the natural sweetness in the vegetables.
Spice Balancing: While the recipe calls for cumin and nutmeg, feel free to experiment with other warm spices. For instance, a pinch of ground coriander can complement the cumin wonderfully. If you prefer a spicier kick, a dash of cayenne can liven things up.
Freezing, Storing, and Reheating Pumpkin Carrot Soup
- Refrigerator: Once the soup has cooled to room temperature, you can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Use an airtight container to keep it fresh and to prevent it from absorbing other odors from the fridge.
- Portion and Freeze: For the most convenient future use, portion the cooled soup into individual servings. Use freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion as the soup freezes.
- Label: Always label your containers with the date. This soup can be frozen for up to 3 months without losing much quality.
- From the Fridge: If you've stored your soup in the refrigerator, simply reheat it in a pot over medium heat until it's hot throughout. Stir occasionally to ensure even reheating.
- From the Freezer: For the best results, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. However, if you're in a hurry, you can reheat it directly from the freezer. Place the frozen soup in a pot and heat over low to medium heat, breaking it up and stirring occasionally as it thaws and reheats.
Pumpkin Carrot Soup
- Large pot or Dutch oven
- Vegetable peeler
- Blender or immersion blender
- 1 medium pumpkin about 3-4 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
- 4 large carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 can 13.5 oz coconut milk (optional for creaminess)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Fresh herbs like parsley or thyme for garnish
- Preparation: Peel the pumpkin and carrots. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and cut it into cubes. Slice the carrots and dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
- Sauté the Vegetables: Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil or butter. Once hot, add the diced onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Spice it Up: Add the ground cumin and nutmeg to the pot. Stir well to coat the onions and garlic.
- Add Main Ingredients: Add the pumpkin cubes and sliced carrots to the pot. Stir well to mix with the onions, garlic, and spices.
- Add Liquid: Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth. If you're using coconut milk for added creaminess, add it now. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Simmer: Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pumpkin and carrots are tender.
- Blending: Once the vegetables are soft, turn off the heat. Use a blender or an immersion blender to purée the soup until smooth. If using a blender, you may have to do this in batches. Always be careful when blending hot liquids.
- Season: Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. If you'd like a spicier kick, you could also add a dash of cayenne pepper.
- Garnish and Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme if desired.
- Optional: For an added layer of texture, you can also add a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds before serving.
Pumpkin Carrot Soup - FAQ
Yes, you can definitely use canned pumpkin. If you opt for canned pumpkin, the cooking time will be shorter since it's already cooked. Just make sure to use plain pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar and spices
The basic recipe can easily be made vegan by using vegetable broth and substituting the butter with olive oil or another plant-based oil. You can also use coconut milk for creaminess.
Absolutely, this soup freezes really well. Make sure it's completely cooled before transferring it to airtight, freezer-safe containers. You can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Yes, this soup adapts well to a slow cooker. Add all the ingredients except for the coconut milk and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Blend and add the coconut milk towards the end, letting it warm through before serving.
If you find that your soup is too thin for your liking, you can thicken it by simmering it for a longer time to reduce the liquid. Alternatively, you can add a potato while cooking, which will naturally thicken the soup when blended.