Vegan Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup with Foraged Mushrooms


Hey there friends! Long time no write. ;) I hope if you are reading this today that all is well in your world. Things are well on my end. Staying busy with work and even squeezed in a little vacation, and of course--lots of cooking! I missed the farmers market for about a month between my time off and Saturday work schedule, but this past week I was so happy to finally get back to visit my farmers and see what's growing here in Georgia at the moment.

As is also usual--I probably purchased too much. Though in reality, there's no such thing when I will make sure to use every last scrap of local goodness! I may have to freeze a few things, but at least then when I have another busy stretch I'll have plenty of goodies left even if I can't go to the market. This time of year is a glorious one for multiple reasons, but in particular I adore some of the seasonal produce!

Squash in all forms ranks high up on the list. Butternut, Acorn, Jarrahdale, Candy Roaster--there's so many varieties! We try to grow some in our own garden, however my local farmers have plenty to keep us in stock when our own little plot isn't providing. This week I got to try a new type of pumpkin: Seminole.

My farmer, Pinewood Springs, said they've done a hybrid of Seminole with their usual butternut squash variety this year for better pest control. I had never tried the Seminole pumpkin itself, so I was excited that they had both the hybrid and the pumpkin. Despite having one of my own butternuts from the garden ready to cook and a gorgeous Jarrahdale from the apple market, I had to grab one to try. It still amazes me how different each variety can be in taste and even texture.

This squash is quite hearty, with a fairly thick skin. The flesh was a rich orange that just makes you want to dive right in and enjoy. I butchered the top half to use for my soup, then roasted the bottom half to puree and make muffins. Along with my Seminole pumpkin, I also snagged some different mushrooms. I love my mushroom lady and her cultivated shrooms, but it's also exciting to see some rarer foraged mushrooms at her table. Don't worry vegans, these Honey Mushrooms don't actually contain any "honey."

I have never seen this variety before, let alone tried them. They looked similar in size and texture to my beloved Chestnut mushrooms, so I thought they would be great to bring home and try!

Don't they look so inviting? The weather lately has been very conducive to lots of mushroom growth, so she had quite a good harvest of foraged mushrooms. As always, only purchase foraged mushrooms from an expert who knows how to differentiate from poisonous or inedible varieties. Honey mushrooms do have some look-alikes. This article has some great information about them. Apparently they can cause some gastrointestinal distress in some people, but we had no adverse effects from eating them. The tip from that article was to cook them well, so I made sure to sauté mine for plenty of time.

They made a fantastic garnish for my pumpkin soup. I make a pureed squash soup regularly during this time of year. There are so many ways to change up the seasonings and other ingredients so that it is slightly different each time. This one pulled inspiration from the East--with curry powder, cumin, ginger and a few hot peppers for some kick. Golden lentils are perfect in this type of soup to add body and plenty of plant-based protein. We ate all the mushrooms in the first bowl, but the leftovers will still be delicious all week!

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup

Makes Approximately 8 Servings

  • 4 cups cubed, peeled pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash
  • 3 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1 small onion, peeled & chopped
  • 2 small hot chilis (I used jalapeno), de-seeded & minced
  • 1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional--most curry powder already has fenugreek and turmeric, but I like adding a bit extra)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 8 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups golden or red split lentils, rinsed
  • 8 ounces honey or other mushrooms, cleaned & larger caps halved or quartered into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium tamari or liquid aminos

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and hot peppers. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture starts to soften. Stir occasionally, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent sticking.

Next add in all of the seasonings and cook for a minute before adding in the pumpkin and sweet potato. Stir together, then add in the lentils and water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the lentils are cooked through.

When the soup is just about done, start preparing your mushroom garnish. Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in the sesame oil then add in the mushrooms. Stir occasionally, cooking for 10-15 minutes or until your mushrooms are to your desired doneness. Stir in the tamari and remove from heat.

Once the soup is cooked through, let cool slightly then blend with a stick blender or in batches in a traditional blender. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve in a bowl with the mushrooms as a garnish. Enjoy!

Like I mentioned above, I make soups like these frequently (like this slow cooker butternut squash and cauliflower one or another variation in the Wonderbag), but it never hurts to have another one in the arsenal! That's one of the great things about soup--you can find those tried and true "perfect" recipes, or you can continue to change up your recipe each time you make it. There's no wrong way to find what you enjoy cooking!

What are your favorite ways to use seasonal squash?

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