This pumpkin soup uses a seasonal favorite in a new way to support digestion. Pumpkins are amazing vegetables that all too often wind up carved on our front stoops and never making it into our kitchens. According to Chinese medicine dietary therapy, pumpkin is considered “warming,” unlike squash, gourds, and related fruit of the Cucurbitaceae family, which are generally considered cooling.  In other words: consider the below recipe "Middle Burner" friendly to your digestive system, meaning the longer-term benefits to your digestive health are many.


Pumpkin Soup

Because of their warming nature, pumpkins support digestion and bolster Qi. But Chinese medicine dietary therapy also suggests that they can be effective in reducing pain and swelling, alleviating asthma, soothing burns, and killing parasites (pumpkins seeds are a widely used medicinal in China to eliminate tapeworms).  The "food as medicine" benefits that this simple vegetable offers, underscores the broader power of Chinese dietary therapy, along with the broader benefits of Chinese medicine in general.

This time of year, with autumn harvests  transforming my meals into something especially unique.  As I've learned more about the endless benefits of the health-related properties of the ingredients, all through the lens of Chinese dietary therapy and experiencing the transformation to my digestive health firsthand, the time in the kitchen seems to take on a new meaning.

Because pumpkins are also “sweet,” they can be very filling. We have addressed this problem by adding leeks and Thai red curry to the soup. Leeks together with red curry paste, which contains chili peppers, garlic, shallots, and lime zest, add “pungency” to the soup - I love this combination. The dispersing qualities of these spices not only add complexity to the dominant mellow flavors of this soup, but prevent bloating and abdominal fullness that might occur in other pumpkin dishes.

This particular soup can be saved in the refrigerator and consumed throughout the work week.  


Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Flavors of Red Curry, Coconut & Maple for Digestive Happiness

Serving size: 2-3
Prep time/cook time: 15/45 minutes

1 ½ c. Roasted pumpkin, packed
½ c. Leeks diced
2 oz. Olive oil, plus more to brush the pumpkin for roasting
12-14 oz. Vegetable stock
½ tsp. Red curry paste
2 tsp. Maple syrup
¼ c. Coconut milk plus more to finish each serving
½ tsp. Apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Chive to garnish
Lemon Balm to garnish (we happened to have in the garden, not required)

Cut one or two pumpkins in half, remove the seeds, brush with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, depending on size, and remove the skin. Roast the seeds for garnish.

Saute leeks in olive oil until just starting to brown, add roasted pumpkin and vegetable stock and simmer until mixture comes together then use a regular blender or immersion blender to completely puree.

Depending on how much moisture was still in your roasted pumpkin, you may need to adjust the amount of stock. Stir in the red curry paste and maple syrup and adjust heat and sweetness to your liking. Stir in the coconut milk adding more if you prefer it creamier and balance with a touch of apple cider vinegar. Adjust seasoning as desired.
By Travis Metzger