This savory pumpkin soup uses canned pumpkin as a shortcut, and is thickened with lentils to make it more filling. Top with sour cream and crunchy croutons!
Want to make pumpkin soup, but don’t want to roast an entire pumpkin? This is the recipe for you! Alex and I aren’t against the idea of whole roasting a pumpkin, of course. But we made this recipe to be an easy weeknight soup recipe where you don’t have to worry about slow roasting for an hour. Nope, all you need is a can of pumpkin puree! It’s got another secret ingredient too, that makes it more filling than a standard creamy soup (see below). Top sour cream swirls and crunchy homemade croutons, and well: it’s a cozy masterpiece. Keep reading for one of our favorite pumpkin recipes to date.
The tricks to this pumpkin soup
When I was growing up, I was actually a little freaked out by the thought of eating squash and pumpkins. One year, my mom made a Halloween dinner recipe called “Dinner in a Pumpkin.” Imagine a hollowed-out pumpkin with some kind of casserole inside (yep, it was the 1980’s!). Looking back I can see she was being creative and festive, but as a kid I couldn’t even IMAGINE eating something out of an actual pumpkin!
Now, this pumpkin soup is the absolute opposite of the effort required to serve dinner in a pumpkin. Because Alex and I wanted to create a pumpkin soup for weeknights, this one uses a can of pumpkin puree! No need to hollow out or roast any pumpkins, friends! This one is quick and easy. Here are a few tricks to this hearty and healthy pumpkin soup:
- It’s savory, not sweet! There are not sweet notes with this pumpkin soup: it’s all hearty and savory! If you want it sweeter, you could definitely add a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Canned pumpkin puree makes things easy. No need to spend hours roasting with this one. Red lentils add creaminess and protein! Instead of using lots of dairy to make this soup creamy, it’s got a secret: lentils! Red lentils thicken the soup and add plant based protein, so it’s more filling than a typical creamy pumpkin soup.
- Garnish is key: sour cream or coconut milk required. If you do a little dairy, adding a swirl of sour cream is clutch in this pumpkin soup! It adds just the right amount of tang (and reminds you of a baked potato!). Then add the crunch factor: croutons and pepitas are clutch!
Making homemade croutons
One more thing about those croutons! Alex and I love making homemade croutons to go in salads and soups. It’s seriously easy, making there really no need to every buy croutons at the store again! For this soup, we made an Everything Bagel version of our croutons by sprinkling on our Everything Bagel seasoning before baking. So that’s another option! Here are the main steps for making homemade croutons (or go to our homemade croutons recipe):
- Chop the bread into cubes.
- In a bowl, mix it with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt (about 1/2 tablespoon olive oil for every 1 cup of cubes).
- Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until browned and crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
How to serve pumpkin soup
Because this healthy pumpkin soup is more filling than most, you can just add a few sides to make it a meal! (We used a similar concept with our curried butternut squash soup.) It would be a great first course or side for a fall meal like Thanksgiving. Or, serve it as a main dish with some protein-packed sides to make it a main dish.
Here are some great sides to serve with pumpkin soup:
- Toast spread with goat cheese.
- As a lunch, homemade crackers and slices of smoked gouda.
- Grilled cheese! Try a fall-ish version like apple sage grilled cheese.
- A fancy quesadilla, like brie & mushroom quesadilla.
- With a fall salad, like beet salad with balsamic dressing.
- With a hearty grain salad, like farro with mushrooms or farro salad with tart cherries.
- With flaky homemade biscuits and hot honey.
- With pita pizzas: try our cheese pita pizza.
This easy pumpkin soup recipe is…
Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.Print
This easy pumpkin soup uses canned pumpkin as a shortcut, and is thickened with lentils to make it more filling. Top with sour cream and crunchy croutons!
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup red lentils
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup sour cream, plus more to serve (substitute coconut milk for vegan)
- Homemade Croutons*, to serve
- Roasted salted pepitas, to serve
- Dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
- Heat a dry soup pot (no oil!) to medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes until lightly browned and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add pumpkin, broth, lentils, cumin, oregano, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then simmer for 15 minutes, until lentils are softened.
- Transfer the soup to a blender and blend with the sour cream until smooth. Taste and add additional salt as necessary (we added about 1/8 teaspoon additional) — remember to cool it off since being very hot can dull flavors.
- Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with homemade croutons, pepitas, and more sour cream.
*We made this recipe, then sprinkled about 2 tablespoons Everything Bagel seasoning on the top before roasting. Much of the seasoning did fall off, but the crunchy bits and fallen off portions were great as an additional garnish!
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Fall
Keywords: Pumpkin Soup, Easy Pumpkin Soup Recipe
More pumpkin recipes?
Gotta make all the pumpkin while you can! Here are a few of our favorite pumpkin recipes we’d recommend:
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Penne with Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Baked Gnocchi with Pumpkin Sauce
- Pumpkin Yogurt Fruit Dip
- Pumpkin Stuffed Shells
- Pumpkin Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal
- Pumpkin Pecan Parfaits
- Pumpkin Pie Mousse
- Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.