From the AICR Test Kitchen
Week of October 10, 2011
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Pumpkin Soup

from the
American Institute for Cancer Research

With its autumn orange, this basic pumpkin soup adds color and nutrition to your diet. The versatile pumpkin is botanically a fruit and part of the Cucurbita family, which includes squash and cucumbers. Their popularity is universal. After all, pumpkins are grown on six of the world's seven continents – the exception being Antarctica – but the self proclaimed "Pumpkin Capital of the World" is Morton, Illinois.

Pumpkins go back over 5000 years. The word "pumpkin" comes from the Greek pepon, which means large melon. The French adapted it to pompon and the British promptly changed it to pumpion. American colonists further modified the word to pumpkin.

This vegetarian soup offers the benefits of high fiber without the fat and calories of a cream-based soup. You don't need added salt in this soup because the onion, garlic and thyme enhance the pumpkin flavor. For more complexity, try sprinkling on some oregano or basil.

Pair it with a hearty sandwich made with crusty whole-wheat bread, sliced tomato, hummus and avocado and you have a satisfying lunch or light dinner. No butter or mayonnaise is required. All you have to do is lightly brush the tomato and avocado with olive oil and spread on your favorite hummus. Your meal is ready – a delicious hot soup and a cool, substantial sandwich.

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 4 cups pumpkin purée (canned or fresh) (butternut squash may be substituted)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. light whipping cream (optional)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Nutmeg (optional)

In large pot over medium-high heat add 3 cups broth, pumpkin, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer uncovered, about 30 minutes.

Purée mixture until smooth, in small batches, using blender or food processor. Return to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes. Add remaining broth as desired. (Optional, stir in cream.)

Pour into bowls. Garnish with parsley (or sprinkle of nutmeg) and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 71 calories, 1 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate,
3 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 284 mg sodium.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

We have contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. Find evidence-based tools and information for lowering cancer risk, including AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, at

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