I don’t want to be preachy or give anyone the impression that I don’t love Hallowe’en and Samahin – it’s my favorite! I just have been thinking about the message we give when we carve up our annual jack-o-lanterns.
For those of us who have the luxury of picking and choosing what we care to eat, Reclaiming the Pumpkin as Food Rather than Decorations might seem like a novel idea.
Try the idea on for size, wrap your head around the thought that we are using pumpkins as decorations when others would rather be be eating them. In the summer of 2000, I worked for a local environmental center and my supervisor opened my eyes to thinking carefully about using food items (dried beans, macaroni, etc) in kid’s craft projects. “I just don’t think it should be all right to use food wastefully when there are so many children who are going to bed hungry every night,” shared Kristin.
If you think this isn’t a local concern, check out the statistics for your state or county and then take a moment to educate yourself on just what it means to be food insecure. I thank my daughter-in-law, Amy, for opening my eyes to the food/nutrition challenges of the kids she works with in South Bronx. Another related and paradoxical article on obesity and being food insecure can be read here.
So next time you find yourself ready to carve up a pumpkin, make it into something tasty! Here is a luscious and hearty vegan soup to inspire you to enjoy pumpkins as food! I dedicate this recipe to Amy and the good work she does!
Curried Jack-o-lantern Soup
This soup can be made more easily by using canned pumpkin puree but the meaning of this post is to know what real pumpkins are for – they are food. Grab a 3 pound pie pumpkin, they are smaller, and are available during holiday time. Admire it, photograph it with your cat. Clean and carve it into any design you like but then use it as food instead of putting it on display.
After the soup is made, garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of roasted pumpkin seeds and a small dollop of Tofutti Sour Supreme. This thick soup will keep in the fridge and it freezes well too.
* 1 (3 pound) pumpkin, cut & cleaned or 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
* 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
* 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
* 1 diced Onion
* 2 Ripe Pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
* 3 cloves of minced Garlic
* 1 tablespoon Curry Powder
* 1/2 cup Apple Juice
* 6 cups Vegetable Broth
* 1/3 cup Thick Coconut Cream (NOT sweetened Cream of Coconut)
* Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
* Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
* Cilantro and a sprinkle of curry or
* Tofutti Sour Supreme
1. Place the pumpkin pieces (best just halved), cut side down, on a baking sheet and pour a half cup of water onto the baking sheet. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350° F for about 1 hour, or until the pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a knife. When cool enough to handle, scrape the pumpkin flesh from the skins.
2. Heat the oil and Earth Balance in a large stockpot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the pears, garlic and curry powder to the pot and cook 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Add the juice and deglaze, scraping up any caramelized bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the roasted pumpkin and the vegetable broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.
3. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth right in the pot. Heat thoroughly then stir in the coconut cream and adjust the seasoning. Do not boil.
4. Serve the soup in warm bowls garnished with a dollop of Tofutti Sour Supreme and a few pumpkin seeds.