Savory pumpkin soup – with a Latin accent


It’s October. Who doesn’t love pumpkins? I sure do!

DSC_0147Yum… a smallish plump pumpkin on our trellis. If you grow them upward, they won’t take over your back yard.


With Pumpkins, Smaller is Better.

Most of us, I venture to say, don’t grow pumpkins so huge that they need to be transported on flatbeds only to be hoisted up on cranes and dropped mercilessly – but crowd-pleasingly – onto the roofs of junk cars or derelict convertibles or else equipped with outboard motors for racing around Damariscotta Harbor, and can’t readily be eaten (except for the seeds). No, we grow them to eat, and we don’t want them much larger than a half-deflated soccer ball, because that would be too much pumpkin!


Our squash and pumpkin trellis.

Incidental Sidebar: Libby’s Pumpkin.

Some years ago I was doing some writing work for Nestle, the world’s largest food company, and it was mostly about chocolate chips, but it was also partly about Libby’s Pumpkin, which is owned by Nestle, and I totally forget why I was doing this. The people at Libby’s Pumpkin were proud that the product name was Libby’s Pumpkin as opposed to Libby’s Mooshed Pumpkin or Pureed Pumpkin or Squashed Pumpkin, though it certainly is all of those (as well as being cooked), because the only ingredient in the can is pumpkin, so why draw attention to the fact that it’s squishy? A single serving of pumpkin from the can gives you enough Vitamin A to see in the dark – they say 300% of your RDA – because pumpkin has super-heroic amounts of carotene in it. The Libby’s Pumpkin people are also proud that their pumpkins are all grown in one vast, endlessly sprawling pumpkin patch in Ohio that produces nearly perfectly uniform, pleasingly plump pumpkins aplenty, almost all of which end up in pumpkin pie.

DSC_0151Enough about Libby’s. You grow your own pumpkins, and some of them will be for pies and some for soup, so you don’t need Libby’s, good as it may well be.



Bilingual Libby’s Pumpkin. 300% Vitamin A RDA!!



Savory pumpkin soup -Ecuadorian style {sopa de zapallo}

This is about pumpkin soup. The usual approach to pumpkin soup is to produce a sweet soup, with spices like clove and nutmeg tossed in, but this recipe is for a savory soup that uses some ingredients to diminish the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. Onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, cumin and more. Tomatoes?! Really!

This recipe is slightly modified from Layla Pujol’s Ecuadorian food site, Lots of great South American dishes – with recipes in English and other languages.

DSC_0146Oh so good… creamy, spicy, savory and not very sweet.

Getting started…

Pick the right ripe pumpkin. Cut it in half and remove the seeds and stringy gook. Now remove the skin, which won’t be as tough or as thick as one might expect so a regular peeler should do the trick. Then chop up the pumpkin into smallish cubes – about 3/4″ big.

You’ll also need…

  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, or 4 chopped roma tomatoes
  • 3 pints chicken or vegetable stock or broth
  • salt and pepper and cayenne to taste
  • (garnish with queso fresco, goat cheese, avocado slices, or green onion)

Now do these things…

… and why am I using all these ellipses?!
  • Heat the oil over lowish heat in a large sauce pot
  • Add onion, garlic, cumin and tomatoes, and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add the stock or broth, bring to a boil, add the pumpkin chunks, bring to a boil again, then reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft.
  • When it’s cooled down a bit, puree in a blender till silky, or use an immersion blender (which we don’t own yet)
  • Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste, reheat, and serve.


I need to credit my wife, who made this. Thanks, C!! I took the photos, though.


There it is. Much more to say about several things, but there’s time… next time.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.