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Monday, April 21, 2014

Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Libby's. All opinions are 100% mine.
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup #PumpkinCan
I've never been shy about my love for pumpkin. It's healthy. It's versatile. It's delicious. It's a superfood that packs a powerful boost of Vitamin A (which promotes healthy bones, skin, and eyes) and fiber which, along with a balanced diet, helps to protect your body from certain types of cancer and heart disease. So, when I was offered the opportunity to partner with Libby’s Pumpkin to promote the versatility and health benefits of eating pumpkin year-round, I happily accepted.

So wait, pumpkin year-round? Oh yeah, I said it. Don't shove those hoarded cans of pumpkin puree to the back of your pantry once the cool weather finally gives way to a Spring thaw. Instead, shift your perspective. I'll concede to the fact that your warming spices may no longer be displayed prominently next to your salt and pepper, though.

I mean, did you know that one serving of Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin actually provides more than 100% of your daily allowance of Vitamin A, and 20% of your daily fiber requirement? Why would you want to forget about such an easy source of antioxidants for 3/4 of the year? That's just crazy talk.

Are you with me yet?
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup #PumpkinCan
Just in case you're still on the fence, let's talk about what to do with that pumpkin puree now that the snow has melted. Did you know that adding pumpkin to a recipe can help reduce fat? That's because pumpkin adds moisture, just like fat does. So, when mixing up a batch of muffins, cookies, cake, or bread, try replacing a portion of the oil or butter called for with some pumpkin puree.

Some year-round breakfast options for pumpkin are:
  • I've found that my family enjoys both waffles and pancakes made using pumpkin (be on the look-out for a Malted Pumpkin Chia Seed Waffle and/or Pancake recipe soon). 
  • Stir some pumpkin into your oatmeal, cream or wheat, or other hot grain breakfast cereal
  • Put it in your cinnamon roll bread dough
  • Make it into pumpkin butter and spread it on your toast, bagel, croissant, etc.
  • Smoothies

Let's move on to some way to get pumpkin in your lunch menu:
  • Sandwiches - mix pumpkin puree with your nut butter (1:1) and then use as you normally would...with jelly, bananas, or honey.
  • Make a Thai-inspired bowl of soup accented with coconut, ginger, and lemongrass (like I did today - see recipe below).
  • Stir some into a cream or tomato-based pasta sauce...even macaroni and cheese

What's that? You say you want an afternoon snack? Two words: Pumpkin Granola.
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup #PumpkinCan
When dinner time rolls around, and you're looking to add some pumpkin to your meal:
  • Use it as a pizza sauce (in part or in whole) or use make your crust with pumpkin!
  • Make one of my all-time favorite meals, Pumpkin Hummus w/ Spiced Lamb. Your dinner guests will thank you. You'll thank me. One big happy family.
  • Stir some into your mashed potatoes or other mashed root veggies.
  • Make pumpkin dinner rolls. They're beautiful, soft, and will disappear pronto.

I'm sure dessert isn't a problem, but...
  • Make pumpkin cookies and top them with a lemon glaze.
  • Pumpkin pound cake, anyone?
  • Pumpkin. Flan. Mmmhmmm...
  • Wait, wait, wait - Pumpkin POPSICLES!

Those are just some ideas to spark your imagination. Just think of all the things that you could stir a tablespoon or two of pumpkin puree into! And you don't have to use it all in one go. Empty it into an airtight container with a lid and store in the fridge to use over the course of a couple of days. You could also portion it and freeze it so that it's ready when you are.

You're with me now, aren't you!?

So, that soup recipe I promised you? It's not thick like a "winter soup". It's basically a thin cream soup consistency, and it uses pumpkin, coconut, and the flavors of a Thai curry (coconut, lemongrass, ginger, chiles). It's spicy and creamy, bright and fresh, satisfying and entirely healthy! I made it vegan, but it can definitely be beefed up with the addition of chicken, seafood, or even some chewy baked chunks of tofu.

Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup
This Thai-inspired bowl of soup marries pumpkin, coconut, and curry paste to make a satisfying meal to be enjoyed anytime of the year.
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Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew vegan coconut pumpkin Thai

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut or olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon grass paste
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 ounces red curry paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground white pepper, to taste
to serve:
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 thin red chile pepper, thinly sliced into rounds
  • full fat coconut milk, for drizzling
  • sliced coconut, toasted
  • small hanful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Put the oil into the bottom of a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the shallots, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger, lemongrass, curry paste, and brown sugar, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, coconut milk, and vegetable stock until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer and let bubble for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed, with salt and white pepper.

To serve, ladle into warm bowls. Put plenty of the garnish on the table for people to add as much or as little of each, to taste, to their bowls. It's important to add all of the garnishes to the soup for texture and flavor contrasts, but they are entirely customizable.

There will be shallot strands in the soup. If this bothers you, you could either use an immersion blender to blend them in, or strain the soup before serving.

Make variations on this soup by adding extra-firm, baked and seasoned tofu or if it doesn't need to be vegan, you could add chicken, shrimp, or white fish. Either cook the proteins first in a bit of extra oil, then add back just before serving or use pre-cooked and add to the pot during the last few minutes of simmering to reheat.

Use your favorite brand of red curry paste (or homemade) in this recipe. I really like Thai brand Red Curry Paste.
Curried Pumpkin Coconut Soup #PumpkinCan

What are your favorite ways to add pumpkin to your cooking? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments, but you can also share your favorite #PumpkinCan fact at the Pumpkin Can website where there are chances to win weekly prizes via Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Let's hear those ideas - how do you enjoy pumpkin year-round!?