Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Leeks

by: Chopra Mind-Body Health

Pumpkins are a winter squash with a sweet flavor that soothes the Vata dosha. This easy pumpkin soup recipe is wonderful to make for holiday meals and any time you want to feel warmed and nourished from the inside out.

The pumpkin’s cheerful orange flesh is  packed with beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps improve immune function and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.  A cup of cooked pumpkin has just 49 calories, 2.7 grams of fiber, 567 mg of potassium, and 5,116 micrograms of vitamin A.

Tip: How to Choose a Pumpkin
Look for varieties specifically grown for eating, such as the sugar pumpkin. Choose a pumpkin that is brightly colored, blemish-free, and heavy for its size.  Smaller pumpkins have more succulent, tasty flesh.  A ripe pumpkin will have a tough skin. Test it by gently pressing with your fingernail; if you can leave a mark on the skin, the pumpkin isn’t ready for cooking.

Ingredients

1 large pumpkin (about 3 pounds), or 3 cups canned pumpkin

1½ cups water

1 teaspoon ghee (Indian clarified butter) or olive oil

1 cup chopped leeks or onions

½  teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cloves, ground

2 to 3 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari

1 cup low-fat vanilla soy milk (regular milk is also fine)

Nutmeg for garnish

 

Preparation
If using fresh pumpkin, preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Wash the pumpkin, cut in half, and remove seeds. Place the pumpkin halves face down in a baking pan. Pour in the water and cover pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until a

Knife inserted in the pumpkin pulls out easily.

 

Let cool, then remove the pumpkin pulp from the rind with a spoon. Place into a bowl and set aside. You should have about 3 cups of pumpkin pulp.

Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the leeks and spices. Sauté for 4 or 5 minutes or until the leeks are translucent. Add some stock if the mixture begins to dry.

Add the pumpkin pulp and continue to sauté for another 3 or 4 minutes. Add the liquid aminos or tamari and brown the pumpkin pulp slightly. Add the vegetable stock to cover the pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Using a hand blender or food processor, puree the soup to a smooth and creamy consistency, adding the vanilla soy milk as you puree the soup. Return the soup to the pot and reheat if necessary. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Tip:  Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds! You can make a tasty snack by roasting these hearty seeds, which are a good source of protein, zinc, and other vitamins.

 

Nutritional Facts Per 1¼-cup Serving:

Calories 172; Carbohydrates 23.8 g; Protein 12.2 g;

Total fat 3 g; Saturated fat 0.4 g

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About the author

Chopra Mind-Body Health
March 21, 2014 - 2:12pm, - Comments

This recipe was taken from The Chopra Center Cookbook, which is based on the ancient healing wisdom of Ayurveda. All Ayurvedic recipes focus on creating balance and supporting the body's natural state of health. To learn more about Ayurveda and achieving optimal mind-body health, explore our Perfect Health and Journey into Healing workshops. 

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