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Healthy Pumpkin Soup

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With all the focus on pumpkin this season, I thought I would take a moment to share all the healthy benefits of this fall favorite. Pumpkin is low in calories and full of  vitamins and minerals. It contains:

  • Vitamin A, an anti-oxidant, which helps our vision, supports a healthy immune system, and plays a role in synthesis of protein in the body
  • Vitamin E another powerful anti-oxidant, which protects skin from UV exposure, and is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Potassium- an essential mineral that is a primary electrolyte, along with chloride and sodium. It is essential for conduction of nerve impulses, regulates fluid balance in our bodies, helps maintain bone density, plays a role in protein synthesis
  • Pumpkin is rich in phytonutrients which, help prevent chronic disease, are high in anti-oxidants and help with inflammation

Try this healthy soup:

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or coconut oil can be substituted
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 (15-oz) cans solid-pack pumpkin (3 1/2 cups; not pie filling)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (12 fl oz) or
  • 1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 8 fresh curry leaves

Cook onions in butter in a wide 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, and cardamom and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in salt, red pepper flakes, pumpkin, water, broth, and coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a large bowl, and return soup to pot. Keep soup warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook mustard seeds until they begin to pop, about 15 seconds. Add curry leaves and cook 5 seconds, then pour mixture into pumpkin soup. Stir until combined well and season soup with salt. Soup can be thinned with additional water.

Makes 10-12 servings in under an hour!


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