Pumpkin Soup With Parsley–Sunflower Pesto

Nutrition & Movement

pumpkin soupPrep Time: 30 Min          
Cook Time: 80-95 Min
Ready In: 2 Hr 5 Min

Servings: 6-8

Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 large pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (or more)
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or 1 tablespoon chicken soup mix, MSG-free, mixed with water)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Roasted sunflower seeds, extra-salted, for garnishing

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 very small clove garlic (or half of a big one)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Roasted sunflower seeds, extra-salted, for garnishing

Soup Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds with a large spoon. Rub the inside of the pumpkin with the oil and place face-down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. The pumpkin will soften considerably. Scrape out the flesh and transfer to a large saucepan. (If it’s too hard to scrape the filling out, return the pumpkin to the oven and bake longer.)
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Pour in just enough stock to cover the vegetables.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook over medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Use an immersion blender or ladle batches into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade and purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pesto Directions:

  1. Separate the leaves and small stems of the parsley from the main stem. Discard the main stem. Place the parsley, sunflower seeds and garlic into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade.
  2. With the machine running, slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tube, combining the ingredients until the mixture is chopped and pasty. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Dollop the pesto on top of the soup and garnish with extra-salted roasted sunflower seeds.

Note: This gluten-free soup is a good fall dish because pumpkins are readily available. Pumpkins may be daunting because of their size, but are really simple to work with if you follow this technique.

This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Inspired: Bringing Creativity and Passion Back into the Kitchen, written by Estee Kafra and distributed by Feldheim Publishers; September 2013.


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