Roasted Pumpkin Soup & Tower Bridge Bistro for Sacramento’s Vegan Chef Challenge
This post is all over the place today, as is my mind. If you can survive this post, you might be able to survive a day in my head… but probably not. Anyway…
Well, I made it through most of yesterday with a lot of blended and juiced items but then threw a salad into the mix along with some quinoa. Overall, I think I’m just looking to push myself back into healthy eating and overall healthy living. Over the last year (or two) I’ve slowly gotten away from eating mostly raw, mostly vegetarian, and mostly healthy.
So, anyway, back to a mostly juiced day in the life of Lori…
Breakfast consisted of a beautiful, nourishing green juice, complete with juiced apple, beet, celery, parsley, and ginger. This was purchased at my (only) local organic grocer. As I went to make myself a juice this morning at home I realized that I was completely unprepared. No carrots, no celery, no veggies really besides kale. So off to the store for a juice it was.
While I was waiting for my green juice something significant happened…
Listen to my tiny, short, insignificant voice as a podcast below! Fun stuff, this technology is.
After my morning juice and a nice and short 30 minute run, I fed myself a blended green smoothie.
No picture of the smoothie because it was quite ugly. Delicious, but quite ugly.
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 scoop raw protein powder (Garden of Life RAW protein)
- fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 cups fresh coconut water
- 1 tsp spirulina (for protein)
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1 cup ice
Blend all together, tasting and adjusting as needed.
After a lot of water, some herbal tea, and personal training clients, I made it home to recreate a roasted pumpkin soup I had during one of my visits for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge.
For the background on the soup, let’s take a trip down memory lane to a few weeks ago…
*cue flashback monologue music*
The Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, that took place during the month of October, was home to 10 different restaurants throughout Sacramento, each one ready for the challenge of expanding their menu to meet the needs of vegan visitors. One of the restaurants participating was Tower Bridge Bistro in the heart of Old Town Sacramento and inside the Embassy Suite hotel. Executive Chef, Clay Purcell and Sous Chef, Eric Sunquist were up for such a Chef Challenge: No animal products.
Tower Bridge Bistro had a great pre-fixe menu offered for the event.
Choice of Appetizer:
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Parsley Oil
Tabbouleh Cucumber Canapes with Cracked Lavosh
Choice of Entree:
Protein Power Stack of Quinoa, Tofu, Black Beans, and Vegetables layered between Crisp Corn Tortillas drizzled with Spicy Vegan Yogurt Sauce
Cous Cous and Vegetable “Chilli” with House made Harissa Sauce, Cilantro, and Pita Chips
Choice of Dessert:
Baked Phyllo Cup with Brown Sugar Maserated Berries and Stone Fruit
Buckwheat Blinis with Raspberry Coulis and Chocolate Dipping Sauce
I went with the soup, the stack, and a friend and I split both desserts.
The food was excellent and I must say that whatever sauce they made for the Protein Stack was amazing! Spicy but wonderful flavor!
Upon loving the soup so much I begged the chef for the recipe, to which he emailed me. I couldn’t be happier… or more eager to make it!
Fast forward to present day in the kitchen of Lori during a liquid detox/cleanse/juice lovin’ fest and the smell wafting through the house was fresh pumpkin roasting in the oven and a mirepoix of vegetables sauteing in a pan. Simply heavenly.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Base to recipe by Tower Bridge Bistro in Sacramento, California
Adapted by Lori
- 1 medium sized Sugar Plum Pumpkin
- 5 oz organic carrots, diced
- 3 oz sweet yellow onion, diced
- 3 oz organic celery, diced
- 2 cups water (or more as needed for consistency)
- 1 tsp Stevia (or sugar, agave, maple syrup)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry your pumpkin.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place your clean pumpkin on top. Bake whole pumpkin until soft when poked with a fork, about 30-45 minutes.
Once roasted, peel the outer skin off, keeping the pulp, discarding the seeds. Set the pumpkin pulp aside.
In a large pot, over medium heat, sweat the onions, celery and carrots in 1 cup water until onions are translucent, about 15 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep the vegetables from burning.
Once the vegetables have been cooked, add the pumpkin pulp and mash it down so that it all lays flush atop the vegetables. Add more water just until it comes over the top of the evenly dispersed pumpkin pulp.
Chef’s note: No need for vegetable stock for two reasons: 1) It can overpower the pumpkin when you introduce too much vegetable flavor and 2) you’re essentially making a vegetable stock in the pot anyway!
Allow the pumpkin, water, veggie mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes being sure to stir occasionally to scrape the bottom of the pot.
In batches, puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender (no need for batches with the immersion blender). *Always take caution adding hot items to a blender and take care to add half of what you would cold*
If the soup is too thick, add in more water. If the soup is too thin, add in more pumpkin pulp or even a cooked sweet potato. Find the consistency that works for you.
Once you have the desired consistency add your sweetener of choice (Stevia, sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc), cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt and pepper.
Chef’s note: This may vary based on the initial quality of the ingredients but I can generally say that you’ll add a decent amount of sugar and just enough salt until all the flavors pop-out on your taste buds.
This recipe definitely constitutes a blended recipe. And was a wonderful filling addition to a cleansing way of eating. Not to mention, it was EASY to make. Great recipe, delicious flavors, and makes a lot of soup… just enough for everyone to rave about it and gobble it up (at least in my house!).
Let the juicing and cleansing veggie-filled foods continue! With all the green juice I’ve been loading up on, I’m feeling much better! I swear, it’s the healing powers of fresh fruits and vegetables.
So, why eat blended foods or drink juices?? What purpose does that hold when helping your body to cleanse or heal?
Find out tomorrow! And in the meantime, what do you think? Why would you blend as oppose to just eating a hearty meal?