Pumpkin Walnut Soup

DSC03335I have been very attracted lately to soup recipes that are made rich by the addition of nuts rather than cream.  Last winter I made two soups that were enriched with cashew cream (curried broccoli soup and cream of mushroom soup).  I have plans to try a hazelnut mushroom soup and potato almond soup in the near future.  This soup has toasty richness from walnuts, buttery sweetness from the squash and a little bit of acidity from the orange.  It is a very satisfying winter lunch with a piece of toasted gluten-free dark sourdough bread slathered with parsley butter or biscuits right out of the oven.   Like many other soups, this one tastes better after sitting around for a while.  I make a big batch and freeze half of it for later.  This soup is one of many recipes on this blog that is based on a recipe that I got from my parent’s friend Keith.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter (oil would be fine too)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 small or half of a large kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash (32 ounces to 1 Kg)
  • One large orange,  zested and juiced
  • 5 cups stock (I used Turkey stock leftover from Thanksgiving, but home-made chicken stock would also be delicious)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup shelled walnuts (halves and pieces are fine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley and more walnuts for garnish (optional)DSC03302
  1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in butter or oil until the onions turn a bit golden.
  2. Add the pumpkin, orange juice, orange zest, stock, nutmeg and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour or until the squash is very soft.  While it cooks, toast the nuts.
  3. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, keeping an eye on them to be sure that they do not burn.  You could also put them on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350.
  4. When the squash is soft, scoop out the sprigs of thyme (if using fresh) and discard them.  Throw the toasted nuts into the pot and use a submersion blender to process the soup until it is totally smooth.  Don’t give up when the texture is a bit grainy from the walnuts, keep blending until the soup is smooth and creamy.  You could also let the soup cool and process it in batches in a blender, instead.
  5. Once the soup is smooth, gently reheat it and season it with salt and pepper.  If you are using homemade, unsalted stock you will want to add quite a bit of salt or the flavours will seem oddly sweet.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley and walnuts (if you like) and serve hot.

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