This roasted pumpkin soup is one of our all-time favourites for a delicious, healthy, and deeply satisfying dish. Plus, we’ve put a unique twist on the recipe with the addition of our gut-nourishing and immune-boosting turkey tail powder. So, grab a spoon and let’s dig in!
Singing the praises of soup
Soup is undoubtedly one of the best choices of comfort food. It tastes amazing, warms your bones on chilly days, and is easy on the stomach when you’re feeling unwell. What’s really great is that research backs up these intuitive feelings about the nourishing nature of soup. Provided you use a nutritious recipe – like our roasted pumpkin soup – it’s a wonderful way to boost your health. One reason for this is that soup is a quick and easy means to ensure you consume plenty of vegetables. We’re sure you already know that a high intake of vegetables is associated with a wealth of benefits. These include a reduced risk of developing a multitude of harmful conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.(1) In addition, tucking into soup can be helpful for maintaining a healthy weight. Studies suggest that people who eat soup regularly have a lower waist circumference and body weight than those who don’t.(2) They also tend to consume fewer calories and have a better quality of diet overall. Another reason soup can improve our health is because it may help us stay hydrated. We usually think of hydration as coming from drinking glasses of water, but we can also absorb water from food. Staying hydrated is vital for our wellbeing, ensuring that our brains and bodies are able to function at their optimum. Of course, you’ll only enjoy these benefits of soup if you choose recipes which are packed with healthy ingredients. And that’s exactly what we had in mind when we created our roasted pumpkin soup. We've loaded this recipe with wellness-enhancing vegetables and spices to make sure that it does more than just taste great – it also makes you feel fantastic!
Pumpkin’s health-boosting powers
Ok, let’s get specific about why this roasted pumpkin soup is as nourishing as it is delicious. We’ll start with the principal ingredient: the pumpkin itself. Pumpkins are bursting with nutrients that can do wonders for our health. For example, they’re rich in plant compounds called carotenoids. These function as antioxidants, helping to protect our cells against damage caused by free radicals and stave off chronic diseases. This includes metabolic syndrome, which refers to a combination of harmful conditions like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.(3) Carotenoids may also be beneficial for the health of our eyes. Pumpkin contains lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which could protect against conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.(4) Its high levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are vital for healthy vision, magnify this effect.(5) Vitamin A and beta-carotene offer plenty of other health benefits too. For instance, studies show that they can strengthen our immune system, helping us to battle infections and heal more quickly.(5) The fact that pumpkin is a great source of vitamin C makes it an even better choice to boost immunity. All these vitamins have the additional advantage of being good for your skin. As an example, vitamin C is necessary for the body to produce collagen.(6) This is a protein that keeps our skin strong and youthful. Interestingly, the beta-carotene in pumpkin might also help to protect your skin against damage from UV rays.(7) Lastly, tucking into this roasted pumpkin soup could look after your heart. One reason for this is that pumpkins are high in potassium. Research indicates that this mineral may work to lower blood pressure, and also reduce the risk of stroke.(8) Pumpkin might additionally decrease levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, boosting our cardiovascular health.
Soul-warming and scrumptious: our roasted pumpkin soup recipe
Here at Erbology, we love this roasted pumpkin soup recipe for several reasons: it’s nutritious, delicious, and simple to make! To create your roasted pumpkin puree, start by peeling and deseeding your pumpkin. We suggest using a sugar pumpkin, as these are sweeter than other varieties and their flesh is less fibrous. This makes them perfect for cooking and baking. Cut your pumpkin into large cubes and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when they’re soft and dark brown around the edges. After that, simply pop the cubes into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. For a deeper flavour, try roasting some chunks of butternut squash or sweet potato and adding them to the pumpkin. While your pumpkin is roasting, you can whip up the rest of the soup. Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic in a medium pot, then put in the carrots, vegetable stock and seasoning. Simmer it all together for about 25 minutes, and then transfer everything to a blender along with the pumpkin puree. It’s at this point that you’ll add the turkey tail powder. This is the star ingredient of our roasted pumpkin soup recipe, and we’ll discuss it in more detail below! Blend all the ingredients together until the mix is beautifully smooth and creamy. If you’d prefer it to be a little thinner, you can always add a splash more water. Likewise, feel free to sprinkle in a pinch of salt or pepper to suit your tastes. For those who like a bit of heat, chilli flakes are another great addition. Then your roasted pumpkin soup will be ready to serve!
Super spices: adding more than just flavour
Pumpkin isn’t the only ingredient that brings health benefits to this roasted pumpkin soup recipe. We’ve also included plenty of mouth-wateringly delicious herbs and spices that have wellness-boosting properties of their own. For starters, garlic can do more than just keep vampires at bay! Studies indicate it may support our cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.(9) Like pumpkin, garlic also contains antioxidants that help fight oxidative damage and reduce the risk of conditions like dementia.(10) Moving on to the sweet paprika in your roasted pumpkin soup, this vibrant spice is overflowing with beneficial nutrients. These include lutein and zeaxanthin, which support healthy vision, as well as iron. The latter is an essential component of haemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. Paprika also contains a carotenoid called capsanthin, that can have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels. Black pepper in particular is prized for its range of health-boosting effects. This is largely due to its main active compound, piperine. For example, research suggests that piperine has anti-inflammatory properties.(11) This is important because experts have linked chronic inflammation to a variety of harmful conditions, from arthritis to cancer. Animal studies also indicate that piperine could be beneficial for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.(12) However, further research in humans is required in order to clarify this. In addition, there are promising results suggesting that piperine may have anti-cancer properties. Test-tube studies have found it could help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and enhance cancer treatment.(13) So there are plenty of good reasons to be generous when seasoning your roasted pumpkin soup! Which brings us to the final ingredient in our recipe: the turkey tail powder.
What is turkey tail powder?
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of turkey tail before! It’s hardly a common ingredient in roasted pumpkin soup recipes. However, adding it can give the dish some fantastic extra health benefits. Turkey tail is a type of fungi, and gets its name from its colourful bands and fan-shaped appearance. So good news if you’re on a plant-based diet – this roasted pumpkin soup is among our many easy vegan recipes. A popular medicinal mushroom in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the use of turkey tail is also backed by modern scientific findings. Most notably, research suggests it can help to boost our immune system. For instance, two of its active ingredients are polysaccharide peptide (PSP) and polysaccharide krestin (PSK). Studies indicate PSP and PSK could enhance our immune response, and be useful in fighting some types of cancer.(14) Another benefit of turkey tail is that it could promote digestive health. It’s a brilliant source of prebiotic fibre, which helps to nourish the good bacteria in your gut. Research has found that turkey tail can both increase beneficial bacteria and suppress harmful bacteria in your digestive system.(15) Adding turkey tail to roasted pumpkin soup is a great way to enjoy these potential benefits. Plus, ingesting it in powder form is preferable to cooking it like a regular mushroom you buy at the supermarket. That’s because the fungi itself is quite tough and leathery – not the tastiest of treats! With powder, however, you can add it to all kinds of recipes and mask the bitterness of its flavour.