Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Cheese Soup

This year, Fall has been particularly spectacular! Not only has the landscape far surpassed my expectations in terms of color, falling leaves, and sunny days BUT my garden has provided a bounty of pumpkins and squash!  More than I could have ever imagined!  In tribute to my blossoming green thumb and to the chilly temperatures outside (c'mon Washington it's only October, are you really going to be 41 degrees outside!) today we are talking festive and we are talking soup! 
Soup is one of the easiest and one of my favorite dishes to make.  Soup can be thrown together with very few ingredients and will warm the body and delight the taste buds. Don't let being vegan make you think you can't have your potato cheese, corn chowder and pumpkin cheese soups!  Using vegan shredded cheese like Daiya,  a vegan non flavored creamer, or blended white beans with nutritional yeast are tools of the vegan trade when it comes to creamy and/or cheesy soups.  For this soup, I have opted to use beans and nutritional yeast with a little bit of miso paste.  If you are living soy free or just don't like soy, opt for chickpea miso.  If using a soy based miso paste, look for organic and verified non gmo on the label. 

First, a slight detour into my photo world of Fall...
This past weekend a friend from LA came to visit our little island so we took her to one of the many seaside parks here on Bainbridge Island.  The sun was out in all its glory (rare for Western Washington) and we were very lucky to have had Fall in full swing with all its beauty.
We saw a banjo player making folk music as the sun was setting over the water...
Who doesn't love a good live music show on the weekends.  This guy was nice enough to hold his position long enough for me to grab a quick pic :).
If you ever visit Seattle make sure to visit the Space Needle.  I've been here for about a year and a half and we finally made it to the famous landmark.  It was cloudy when we walked out onto the observation deck so we couldn't see Mt. Rainier but the view and experience were still top notch.
My sister Alexis, our friend from LA Emily and yours truly at the Space Needle!
Ok, enough with the touristy stuff, lets make some soup!  Are you ready for pumpkin-cheese-festive yumminess?!!  This soup is as delicious as it is easy, make extra because it will go fast!
Pumpkin Cheese Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 large sugar pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cubed (approx. 4-6 cups)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can white beans
2 cups almond milk, non flavored
2 Tbsp. miso paste (mellow or white miso)
2/3 cup nutritional yeast (found in bulk isle of your grocery store)
In a 6-quart stock pot, warm oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the pumpkin and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.  Add the white beans, almond milk, miso paste and nutritional yeast.  Allow the soup to cool slightly.  Then add to blender and blend until smooth.  Depending on the size of your blender, you might need to do this in two batches.  If that is the case, pour half the soup into blender and blend.  Place blended soup in a medium sized bowl.  Add remaining soup to blender and blend until smooth.  Replace all the soup to the stock pot and warm over medium low heat for serving.  If  the soup is too thick for your liking, add a little more stock and stir.  To serve, garnish with a dash of paprika or for some heat, a dash of cayenne.  Enjoy!

If you have leftover sugar pie pumpkin and are looking for something to make with it, try my raw pumpkin pie!

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