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  • Els Kenney

leftover pumpkin soup

After a spooky evening of pumpkin carving this Halloween, the four of us looked down at the bowl filled with pumpkin seeds and guts in the middle of the table—we didn’t want to watch all of that go to waste, despite our composting efforts.

leftover pumpkin soup

Time for the facts; pumpkins are technically a fruit, and each carving pumpkin is home to around 500 seeds. Every single part of the pumpkin is edible—even the skin, leaves, flowers and stem. In 1584 a French explorer discovered and called them "gros melons," which was translated into English as "pompions," according to history. It wasn't until the 17th century that the word "pumpkin" showed up for the first time in the fairy tale Cinderella.

Pumpkin is a great source of potassium for strength, vitamin A for your vision and immune system, and fibre for heart health. Eating pumpkin makes you feel fuller for longer, by slowing down digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. Rich in trytophan, which is then converted to serotonin (the “happy” neurotransmitter), you may find pumpkin improves the quality of your sleep, too. What’s not to love about this orange squash? If you’ve never considered incorporating it into your diet, you might be more convinced now.

When you set out to carve your pumpkin, have two bowls (or similar, to pop the pumpkin inners into) within arms reach. Separate the seeds and ‘guts’ as you scoop, as it’s a lot easier to do now, rather than later! Once you’ve scooped out the inside of the pumpkin, set the bowls aside until you’ve finished carving.

Let’s start by roasting the seeds—these are also high in nutrition and super easy to prepare! Rinse and dry them off, then place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle them with your seasoning of choice (I like to use cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, honey and brown sugar. Here are 5 other great ideas for seasoning) and roast at 180°C for 15-20 minutes, or until toasted brown.

Next, let’s make our soup. This recipe is a bit more extensive, so follow the ingredients list and method below to cook up a delicious, cozy autumn meal, that goes wonderfully with warm crusty bread, parmesan, cracked black pepper and mixed seeds scattered on top!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion

  • 3 large garlic cloves

  • 1 palm-size white potato

  • c. 1.5kg pumpkin guts (seeds removed)

  • 2 vegetable stock cubes

  • 800ml water

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes or ground ginger (optional)

  • salt + pepper, to taste

  • spinach/kale (optional)


  1. dice the onion and garlic, and cook in a large pot with the olive oil until slightly softened.

  2. cut the potato into small cubes and add to the pot, along with the pumpkin guts.

  3. boil 800ml of water, and pour into a jug with the remaining ingredients. mix until everything is dissolved. add the contents of the jug to the pot, and simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes.

  4. blend the soup up until smooth, desired consistency. wash and add the spinach and/or kale, then simmer for another 10 minutes (optional) and serve!

Leave a comment on how your seeds and soup turned out, and any other creative ways you’ve used up your leftover pumpkin! For more of my recipes, check out my cookbook meatless, which promotes sustainable, simple, plant-based cooking.


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