A bowl of soup. A popular side or main dish in any country on any continent is comfort food at its essence. It’s a versatile, warm (most of the time, unless you’re a Gazpacho fan), soothing, and filling liquid whose fusion of flavors and aroma can captivate and heal.
Homemade soups are in a category of their own because not only do they taste better (like all things homemade), they’re substantially healthier when you consider that they (for the most part) are not processed and have recognizable ingredients.
Soup from a can, can cause health concerns for those with sodium restrictions. Those with high-blood pressure are especially at risk of overloading on the salt from just one serving of canned soup. And who eats just one serving of anything anymore? It’s recommended that adults get no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium in their diet per day and the average serving of canned soup can be as much as a whopping 890 milligrams (nearly 40% of the recommended daily sodium limit for just one meal) , so it’s no wonder why high blood pressure is a growing health concern in a country where convenience foods are a fundamental part of our diet.
The truth of the matter is, canned soup is preserved in a mound of salt. Salt is used to prolong shelf-life. Homemade soups are healthier or can be healthier since the person preparing the soup has total control over the amount of salt added to the recipe.
And “homemade soup” just sounds better, right? Even the title “soup from a can,” or “canned soup” sounds unappealing and…
The drawback from making your own soup is that it can be time-consuming and sometimes daunting. Since most people are crazy busy (myself included), I wanted to come up with a way to create a plant-based soup that is:
- low in sodium
- creamy without the addition of animal-based ingredients like milk or cream.
- quick and easy to make
- homemade (well, sort of)
- of course, delicious!
I think I captured all of the above…
Our month of all things pumpkin continues this week with an easy, creamy recipe that has become one of my favorite warm-weather dishes. Harvest Pumpkin Soup is kinda homemade, but hella yummilicious! A medley of heart-healthy onions and garlic, fragrant celery, and antioxidant-rich, sweet red bell peppers are fused into pumpkin puree and simmered in creamy, cashew milk, then topped with crunchy, chopped, roasted nuts or seeds and additional sweet peppers.
One serving of Harvest Pumpkin Soup is less than 200 calories and has less than 400 milligrams of sodium. As a meal, it uses up less than 20% of your daily recommended sodium requirements. And compared to “soup in a can,” it has less than half the sodium per serving.
You can enjoy topped with either pumpkin seeds or cashews since both flavors are a major component of the recipe. The pumpkin seeds and cashews can be bought already roasted but watch the salt. To decrease on the salt, toast raw pumpkin seeds or raw whole cashews lightly in a heated saucepan for a minute, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Then chop up the cashews. The cashews are my favorite for the flavor, but pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron, which is a plus for an exclusive plant-based diet.
Check out the video:
- 2 15-oz. cans organic pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2/3 cup diced red peppers plus additional (1/2 cup) for garnish
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (soy or other nut milk also works)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus additional as needed
- ground pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted cashews or pumpkin seeds, optional garnish
- Heat oil in a pot on medium high heat.
- Add garlic, and celery. Cook 2 minutes. Add onions and 2/3 cup of peppers. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Stir in can pumpkin, cinnamon, sugar, salt, pepper, and cashew milk. Combine thoroughly. Taste. Add more salt, if needed.
- Once combined, use an immersion blender to break down the vegetables (If you prefer chunky soup, skip this step). If you do not own a hand blender, see notes below.
- Heat to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve garnished with chopped cashews or pumpkin seeds and diced red peppers.
If you do not own a immersion blender/hand blender and prefer a less chunky soup, complete step 3. Next, remove soup from heat and allow to slightly cool. Working in batches, add soup to a regular blender. Blend until smooth. Add soup back to pot and skip to step 5.