Coconut cream is the secret to making this dairy-free pumpkin soup creamy and slightly sweet.
Dairy-free pumpkin soup for fall
14 years, 5 apartments, 3 houses, 8 moves, 6 kids (including a set of triplets), a bazillion poopy diapers, too many sleepless nights, the NICU, the ICU, surgeries, countless trips, a master’s degree and 5 jobs later we are still married and reasonably sane. Keeping the love alive is no small task, and since food is love in my family, I like to make things that are full of flavor and memories.
We went to Jamaica on our honeymoon to decompress from the intense wind up preceding our wedding. One of the restaurants at the resort was right on the beach. We sifted the sand with our toes while we sipped virgin coladas. The waves crashed as we crunched our salads. The sun dipped below the horizon as we dunked crusty bread in our soup. The soup. As much as we loved the romantic setting of the restaurant, we kept going back night after night for the soup.
Fall is officially here. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, my mums are in full bloom, and while there is nothing about the current weather that reminds me of the salty breezes and warm water of Jamaica, it is pumpkin season. We carve ’em, stack ’em, pick ’em, and eat ’em this time of year. I love to eat this soup and enjoy the flavors of the season and remember a warmer place when my husband and I were newlyweds and had no idea what a challenging path lay ahead of us. We were innocent and in love, and sometimes a bowl of soup can take us back to those days for a moment.
For years I experimented with various recipes trying to recreate the flavors, and eight years later I emailed the resort asking for the recipe so I could make it for our anniversary. They were gracious enough to send it to me. I was stunned that my recipe was so similar, and, honestly, a little better. The coconut cream adds a little sweetness and makes this a dairy-free pumpkin soup without any substitutions necessary.
There was a time when I would have carved, baked, scooped and pureed a pumpkin from my garden to make this soup. These days I’m happy to pull out the can opener and open up the fruits of someone else’s labor. It’s homemade enough. Thanks to a can of pumpkin puree, this soup can be on the table in the time it takes to heat it up. I love to serve it with a simple dinner of roasted chicken or grilled pork chops, a fall salad, crusty bread (for the family), and steamed veggies. The soup makes a simple meal special with very little effort. It takes 5 minutes to throw together and then warms up while you finish dinner.
If you need it ready when you walk in the door, do the 5-minute prep and then let it simmer in the slow cooker all day until you are ready to eat.
Jamaican Dairy-Free Pumpkin Soup
6 cups vegetable stock
3 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped onion
4 clove garlic, minced
½ cup coconut cream
¼ cup butter (or Earth Balance if you are dairy free)
¼ cup white wine
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1 tsp salt
Ground black pepper to tast e
On low heat sauté onion and garlic in butter until translucent (do not brown). Add white wine and sauté until almost evaporated. Add pumpkin, stock, coconut cream, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Put on low heat and simmer* until heated through. Puree the soup in a blender or use an immersion blender, which is what I do. As much as I heart my Blendtec, pouring hot soup back and forth from blender to pot with 6 kids running around is an accident waiting to happen. When it comes to pureeing hot stuff, I use my immersion blender every time. Bonus: fewer dishes to wash.
Serve with croutons or crusty bread if desired.
*I use this pan and love it for even heating, easy cleaning, and it’s pretty enough to serve from, saving me extra dishes to wash.
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