Recipe: Southwest Pumpkin Soup

Turn pumpkin carving leftovers into a unique, flavourful dish

On Thanksgiving, we carve up a turkey and eat so much of it that it lulls us into tryptophan-induced torpor. On Halloween, we carve up a pumpkin and then throw pretty much the whole thing into the trash.

But isn't a pumpkin food, too? We asked Ernest's Dining Room executive chef Rylan Krause (Cook ’12) what might be done with a pumpkin, other than roasting seeds, making pie or … nothing. Here’s his response to repositioning the vegetable as a meal, and his original recipe for Southwest Pumpkin Soup.

The genesis of a gourd-geous soup

(as told by the chef)

“Anytime I am cooking with an ingredient that I am not well versed in, my first approach is to research where it was traditionally grown, and which cultures or regions use it. I feel there is so much to learn about generations of knowledge in cooking.

“Pumpkins originally came from North America, which is why they’re a Thanksgiving staple. With the idea of ‘from whence it came,’ I turned my attention to integrating the flavours of North America.

“A regional cooking style that I am particularly fond of is the American Southwest. There is a wonderful combination in Southern U.S. cooking, with Mexican notes, that brings our experience of those flavours to the next level.

“I focused on the warm notes often associated with pumpkin recipes, while adding a bit of flair."

“Looking to highlight the sweetness and colour of the pumpkin, I chose to pair it with carrots and yams. I felt that the additional natural sweetness would help bring out those same notes in the pumpkin.

“For spices, I focused on the warm notes often associated with pumpkin recipes, while adding a bit of flair. You will see the familiar face of cinnamon but rather than inviting clove and cardamon to the party, I opted for coriander and cumin seed, the richness of paprika and an old ally in Mexican cooking, the humble yet confident oregano. I also added a little jalapeño because who doesn’t like a little heat in these colder months?

“When garnishing, I added some toasted pumpkin seeds (waste not, want not), fresh tortilla chips, the Italian fresh cheese Ricotta (in lieu of queso fresco, as this can be tough to find), cilantro and lime. For the final touch, I added a little vanilla and some maple syrup because it can’t be a North American soup if we don’t include Canada.”

How to make Rylan Krause’s Southwest Pumpkin Soup

southwest pumpkin soup by chef Rylan Krause

Serves 4


1 Tbsp                 Canola oil
1 cup                   Red onion, medium, diced
½ cup                  Carrot, medium, diced
1 ½ cup               Sweet Potato, medium diced
2 Tbsp                 Jalapeño, minced
1 Tbsp                 Garlic, minced
½ tsp                   Cumin, ground
½ tsp                   Coriander, ground
1 tsp                    Cinnamon, ground
¼ tsp                   Black Pepper, ground
4 cups                 Pumpkin, chopped
1L                        Vegetable stock
2 tsp                    Paprika
2 tsp                    Oregano
¼ cup                  Heavy cream
½ tsp                   Vanilla extract
1 tbsp                  Maple syrup
½                         Fresh lime, juiced


  • Pumpkin seeds (see the method below; start these so they're ready once the soup is done)
  • Ricotta
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Green onion
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges


  1. Heat oil in a medium sauce pot over low heat. Add onion and sauté until just starting to turn golden brown. Add carrot and sweet potato and continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes to soften.
  2. Add cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon jalapeño and garlic. Allow to toast until fragrant.
  3. Place pumpkin, oregano, paprika and stock (enough to cover) into pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered until pumpkin is fork tender. You may need to add more stock if soup dries out.
  4. Remove from heat. When pumpkin is fully cooked, purée in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth.
  5. Mix in cream, lime juice, vanilla and maple syrup. Scoop into bowls. Top with ricotta, green onion, fresh jalapeño (crispy is even better; the PC brand from Superstore is very good), tortilla chips, green onion, fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Don’t forget those pumpkin seeds!
  6. Enjoy.

Pumpkin seeds ingredients and method

                            Seeds from one pumpkin
1 tsp                    Smoked paprika
1 tsp                    Ground cinnamon
1 tbsp                  Canola oil
1 tsp                    Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add pumpkin seeds and boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain seeds and immediately toss with smoked paprika, cinnamon and canola oil.
  5. Lay flat on a sheet pan and roast in oven until shells begin to turn golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and immediately salt.
  7. Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Subscribe to receive more great stories every month

Find out more news about NAIT, stories about our alumni and their impact on their communities, and useful how-to content featuring our experts.

Sign up today »