When a recipe calls for pumpkin or pumpkin purée, many people resort to opening a can. For a long time, I was guilty of such culinary craziness — choosing convenience over nutrition and flavor. However, now that I’ve tasted the difference between canned pumpkin and fresh, I don’t think I can ever go back. There is simply no comparison!
Baking a pumpkin isn’t difficult at all. Just break off the stem, put the pumpkin in the oven, and cook it for an hour. The best pumpkins for baking are sugar pumpkins, the pint-sized versions of the larger varieties used for jack-o-lanterns. Not only are these orange beauties adorable, they’re also wonderfully delicious! This recipe features the sweetness of a roasted sugar pumpkin, combined with the rich, velvety texture of coconut milk.
1 small sugar pumpkin (about 2 ½ -3 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon dried ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Finely chopped pistachios
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove stem from pumpkin, and cut pumpkin in half. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Discard (or set aside if you want to keep the pumpkin seeds). Using a basting brush, rub olive oil across surface of pumpkin (use about ½ tablespoon total). Place halves on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Bake about 1 hour, or until pumpkin is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, and let sit on baking sheet until cool enough to handle, about 10-15 minutes. Using a large spoon, remove pumpkin flesh and place in a food processor or blender. Purée until smooth. Set aside.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan, and add onions. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn. Add puréed pumpkin, coconut milk, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat, and cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle pumpkin seeds and/or pistachios across surface of soup.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)
- For a more intense coconut flavor, sprinkle toasted unsweetened coconut flakes on each serving.
- Substitute dried ginger for fresh minced ginger root (about 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons).
- Use light coconut milk instead of regular and save about 50 calories per serving.
Nutrition Facts (without pepitas or pistachios)
Calories per serving: 125