Canned pumpkin makes for an easy and flavorful dish
Your pumpkin patch is calling: It’s tired of all the sweet spices and would like some savory for a change.
We’re happy to oblige. This soup unites the iconic October squash with some of its best pals – carrots, of course, but also chickpeas, ginger, and jalapeños.
This dish is great for weeknight dinner. But it’s also tasty enough to serve as a first course at your next dinner party. So give your guests pumpkin to talk about.
Recipe: Curried Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
Because we’ve added hearty chickpeas to this recipe, a large portion of this soup is more than filling enough for dinner (although you might want to add some crusty bread to round out the meal). A smaller serving works well as a starter.
The procedure for this dish is similar to that for our Curried Corn and Shishito Soup (though the flavor is quite different).
This isn’t a particularly spicy soup (despite the addition of jalapeño). If you want a spicier dish, increase the amount of the cayenne pepper – maybe use ½ teaspoon or so.
Prep time for this recipe is about 15 minutes. Cooking time adds 20 to 30 minutes.
This recipe yields 3 to 4 main-course servings (or twice that number when served as a starter).
Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container. Or you can freeze this soup for a month or two.
- 1 medium onion (we like to use red onion, but any color will do)
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves (to taste)
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers (to taste; we prefer 2)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ~½ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste; see Notes)
- 1 pound carrots
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon powdered cumin (we sometimes increase this to 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon powdered coriander
- ½ to 1 teaspoon turmeric (to taste)
- a few pinches of cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 4 cups chicken stock (may substitute vegetable stock or water)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cilantro (minced)
- Peel the onion and cut it into dice of about ½ inch. Set aside.
- Peel the ginger, chop it roughly, then add it to a mini food processor. Peel the garlic and add it to the mini food processor. Whirl the food processor until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the jalapeño pepper(s), then cut off the stem ends. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. With a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and white membrane (the oil from the seeds carries much of the jalapeño heat). Mince the peppers finely, reserving a few jalapeño rounds for garnish if you wish. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can chop the jalapeños roughly and add them to the mini food processor, along with the ginger and garlic.) Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the spicy jalapeño oil from your skin.
- Place a 4-quart cooking pot on medium stovetop heat. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil, then add the chopped onion and salt to taste. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes or so.
- While the onion is cooking, wash the carrots and peel them. Cut each carrot in half lengthwise, then slice the lengths into half moons. Set aside.
- Open the canned pumpkin. Set aside. Open the canned chickpeas, pour them into a strainer or colander, and rinse them off.
- When the onion has cooked for about 5 minutes, add the ginger/garlic mixture and the minced jalapeño, then sauté for another minute. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Add the carrots, pumpkin, and chickpeas. Stir, then add the chicken stock.
- Simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes, until the carrots are soft.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the cilantro, then mince it finely. Once the carrots are sufficiently soft, add the chopped cilantro to the soup, stir to combine, and simmer for an additional minute or two. Taste the soup and add salt if necessary.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish if you wish (see Notes) and serve.
- We like to garnish this soup with sliced jalapeño rounds or a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. A dollop of sour cream would be nice, too.
- We sometimes use an immersion blender to break up chunks in the soup and give it a creamier texture. (We like chunky soup, though, so we usually pulse the blender for just a few seconds.) When to blend? Probably right after Step 8.
- Want a richer soup? You could stir in some heavy cream (maybe half a cup) when you add the cilantro in Step 9. That would also give the soup a creamier texture.
- Don’t like cilantro? Just leave it out.
- Prefer to use commercial curry powder in this soup? Use a tablespoon or so – and leave out the cumin, coriander, and turmeric (which are already incorporated into the curry powder).
- You can substitute roasted whole pumpkin for canned in this recipe. It would probably have better flavor (though canned pumpkin is pretty good quality, and certainly convenient.)
- Don’t want to use chickpeas? You could try substituting lentils (we haven’t done this, but think it would work well, particularly if you use red lentils). If going that route, add about ¾ cup dried lentils and increase the amount of liquid to 5 cups. Then simmer the soup until the lentils are sufficiently soft – maybe 20 minutes for red lentils, 35 minutes for ordinary brown lentils.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Hello gourd-geous,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “This soup is delish.”
“Darn gourd,” I said.
“We need to squash these puns,” said Mrs K R.
“Don’t think I cayenne,” I said.
“So we’re stuck with these punkin puns?” said Mrs K R.
“Afraid so, my little chickpea,” I said.
“Well, the flavor of this soup is haunting me,” said Mrs K R. “What if I suggested seconds?”
I’d light up like a jack o’lantern.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Curried Cauliflower Soup
Curried Corn and Shishito Soup
Curried Cauliflower and Chicken Soup
Moroccan Chickpea Soup (Harira)
Pumpkin-Spice Pumpkin Soup
Moroccan Carrot Soup
Pumpkin and Pork Chili
Or check out the index for more
This is exactly what I am craving now! I simply love pumpkin season :-))
Hi Angie, pumpkin season is fun, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a great idea! It looks hearty, healthy and delicious.
Hi Pam, it's good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks delicious. It is raining cats and dogs here in the Pacific Northwest today and I am ready for a big bowl of soup. I love all the flavors in this
Savory pumpkin dishes always appeal to me much more than the sweet ones. Great to get away from "pumpkin spice." I'm always amazed at how many cultures have some type of pumpkin soup or stew -- even France! Almost every island in the Caribbean. Various parts of the USA. I even saw it on a menu in Australia once. So good.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Dahn, gloomy, rainy weather is soup weather! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, we certainly like sweet pumpkin recipes, but agree savory dishes are more our taste. Thanks for the comment.
Oh, your pics are always the priettiest, yummy soup☺
Hi Natalia, it IS yummy. :-) And thanks for that kind comment.
I love the savory pumpkin recipes. I'm already over the sweet stuff! haha!
Now this soup looks really nice! Every time I make pumpkin soup, it is the kind that you puree so that you could almost drink it. But adding the chickpeas and carrots gives the soup a nice texture!
Hi Ashley, we like the sweet dishes, but savory are better. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Fran, we're fans of texture in soup, too! Thanks for the comment.
your soup looks splendid but i have to be honest, i am not a huge fan of pumpkin soup. every winter, in every cafe and every home (or so it seems) you get served the ubiquitous pumpkin in a soup form:-) But i love chickpeas, so that helps in yours. and your flavourings sound lip-smacking. cheers S
in winter every cafe here has pumpkin soup on the menu!
Hi Sherry, just substitute sweet potatoes for the pumpkin and you'll be good to go. Unless you don't like sweet potatoes, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love seeing pumpkin in savory recipes. And I really love the heat of the jalapeños mixed with it. This looks like a very comforting, nourishing and delicious meal! ~Valentina
I love great ideas for pumpkin soup, it does need a lift and you have elevated this to skyscraper levels. Just perfect with some crusty bread. Thank you.
Love the savory and spicy combined with pumpkin! So much flavor in this soup! Love it!
Great sounding soup. So many of these types of soups are pureed, I'm loving this chunky version. And of course that spice with the jalapeno.
Hi Valentina, pumpkin really works well with spicy ingredients. Even though it's not spicy-hot, there's a reason pumpkin spices became so popular! No reason to restrict those particular spices to seasoning pumpkin, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Merryn, pumpkin by itself is kinda bland, hence all the spices one tends to use with it. In a soup like this it has outstanding texture, which is part of its appeal. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kelly, isn't this neat? We love it too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, no need to puree since the pumpkin is already pureed -- giving the soup a nice, silky texture. And spice! Yes! :-) thanks for the comment.
I love anything curried! This sounds delicious!
Hi Kelsie, we love curry anything, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum, Yum, Yum!! This looks so delicious and flavorful and absolutely perfect for the cold rainy days we are having lately.
Oh, boy, it's definitely soup weather! Would love a big bowl of this pumpkin soup for lunch today.
Hi Amy, it's wonderful for fall weather. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, soup weather is great, isn't it? And this is perfect! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Wow! Mrs Riffs is right--this is gourd-geous! Wish I had a big bowlful of it right this minute.
I love the idea of using canned pumpkin...especially with curry...looks delicious and super hearty...I would not need anything...just a big bowl of this soup. Thanks John...have a great rest of the week!
Hi Jean, wish we had a bowlful right this minute, too! All gone -- need to make some more. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Juliana, whole pumpkin IS better, but canned is pretty good quality. And SO easy to use! Thanks for the comment.
A 9-hour storm outage left me in the middle of a comment yesterday! Do agree with Sherry about the over abundance of pumpkin in Down Under recipes tho' it is hardly ever used in sweet dishes here ! I do make the occasional soup and like your use of chickpeas . . . I oft use cannellini. Thought I would bring up another geographical anomaly: you used pumpkin puree - I did not remember ever seeing such in our well stocked supermarkets here . . . tried three main chains - pureed pumpkin is only solf as baby food, in many kinds of soups and in dogfood :) ! Well, perchance because few of us make pumpkin pie . . . .so back to the raw !!!
Hi Ebha, it's the pie thing that makes canned puree so popular here, I think. When used in soup it's got a wonderfully creamy texture -- almost silky. Well, raw silk, maybe. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I, too, prefer savory pumpkin to the sweet! (Not that I would say no to a slice of pumpkin pie...) This looks delicious and, even though you can open a can, I have some wonderful roasted pumpkin in the fridge just waiting for this recipe!
Hi David, one's own roasted pumpkin is definitely the best in this dish! But canned is pretty good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
So perfect for this Fall cold weather!
Oh yes, it's pumpkin season and what a great celebration of it. Great color and perfect ingredients. Was really excited to see the coriander. I love that spice, but have never used it with pumpkin. Need to give this a go. Thanks John!
Hi Denise, it is, isn't it? ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi MJ, coriander and pumpkin works, at least we think. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This soup looks delicious and healthy ! I much prefer savory pumpkin soups! I got a chuckle from your pun dialogue as well.
Hi Judee, we like sweet pumpkin stuff, but savory is wonderful. And better, we think. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks awfully good! And I love the color. Here's one version of "pumpkin spice" I can actually get behind. :-)
Hi Frank, although we like the traditional pumpkin spice (and use it often in savory dishes as well as sweet), the spicing in this is rather good, if we do say so ourselves. :-) Thanks for the comment.
With autumn here now, this is my ideal supper. I love the pairing of carrots and pumpkin, too. They are ideal mates that play well together.
Hi Carolyn, carrots and pumpkin are wonderful together! Love that combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love how easy this soup is to throw together. Using pumpkin puree is really a great idea. So much flavor with little prep.
Hi Bobbi, decent canned pumpkin is pretty good stuff. And we do like easy dishes. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, I love the ingredients and flavors in this soup! I cayenne already tell I will love it! I will make this very soon :)
Hi Marcelle, :-) Thanks! And thanks for the comment.
This soup looks amazing for next Winter however I have never used canned pumpkin in Australia.
We grow great pumpkins here so easier and cheaper to just cook it and mash it. Probably the same result. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Pauline
Hi Happy Retiree, fresh pumpkin would work great in this dish. But it's the time thing -- gotta roast it and all of that. And canned pumpkin is really good quality and isn't expensive at all (in the US, at least), so it's convenient. Thanks for the comment.
It is raining here and just now I saw this wonderful picture of delicious soup 😋 😋 😋
Hi Deeksha, we've got rain here, too, this morning. Time for soup! :-) Thanks for the comment.
That is one beautiful soup. I love the taste (and aroma) of curry. Trying this for sure.
Hi Debra, curry has wonderful flavor! And there are so many different variations on the same basic flavors -- and all good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Absolutely lovely fall soup! I would love to add both cilantro and jalapeno.
Hi Balvinder, isn't this nice? Really tasty and satisfying. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Soup really soaks up spices. I imagine some serranos or thai chilis would really add a punch here as well. There's so escaping a truly spicy soup though - not a bite of relief unless you look elsewhere.
Hi Laura, haven't tried this soup with those chilies, but now you have me thinking. :-) Thanks for the comment.
i think it's squash and soup season which is OK by me. Especially when it sounds and looks like this!
Hi Abbe, definitely OK by us. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum, is what comes to my mind, John. We love soups here and we love curries of all types, so this will surely be a winner at our table. I'll be using fresh pumpkin as canned pumpkin is almost non-existent here and when you do find it, it's 5-6 US dollars per can.
Hi Ron, that's expensive! Canned pumpkin here is actually a bit cheaper than fresh. But fresh DOES have nice flavor. Thanks for the comment.
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