Eat for Your Health: Pumpkin Veggie Soup and Cornbread Muffins (V, GF)

Souper pumpkin...

I spent the last 3 months living in an Airbnb with no kitchen access, which meant eating out at least twice, sometimes three times a day.  I kept a stash of things at my work desk and usually made my own oatmeal at work in the mornings, which helped.  Since NYC has an abundance of healthy food options, I didn't feel like eating out everyday impacted my health negatively, but it certainly impacted my wallet and I missed the comfort of a home cooked meal.  Now, living at my parents house in Plymouth, MA for next two months before I head off on a year of adventure, I have open kitchen access once again!  I kicked off my kitchen re-entry with a hearty, veggie filled pumpkin soup and cornbread muffins. I used homemade cashew milk for both (recipe included below) and added a few roasted pumpkin seeds to the top of the cornbread muffins before baking to tie the meal together.

When I'm traveling I seek out new and unique ingredients for cooking.  It helps broaden my culinary horizons, but also adds a dose of nostalgia to each dish.  Last November I gifted my mom with some sea salt from the Dead Sea in Israel and was excited to be able to use it for myself for the first time with these recipes.  As I slurped the pumpkin soup, I reminisced about my time floating in the sea. 

Pumpkin and Veggie Soup

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50-60
  • Serves 4

What You Need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 4 cups vegan vegetable broth
  • 1 cup homemade cashew milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

What You Do:

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Add broth and cashew milk, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Raise heat to medium-high. Add pumpkin and potatoes, stirring and returning to a boil. Reduce heat again and add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and parsley. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Purée mixture with an immersion blender, or, in a standing blender. Serve hot, garnished with parsley and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

Cornbread Muffins

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Yield: 10 muffins

What you need:

  • 1 cup cashew milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice), room temperature or warm (this is important so that the coconut oil doesn't harden once added)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup  gluten-free cornmeal
  • 1 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.
  2. Pour the cashew milk in a large mixing bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, and give it a few stirs. Let sit for 5 minutes while preparing the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sea salt, cornmeal, oat flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. To the milk mixture, add the melted coconut oil, sugar and vanilla and stir until well combined.
  5. Add the dry mixture and stir just until combined.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan. Add any topping like roasted pumpkin seeds if desired. Bake muffins for 12 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with pure maple syrup (optional) and serve.

Note: If you don't have oat flour, you can grind up raw oats in a food processor until they reach flour consistency.

Cashew Milk

What you need:

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 4 cups of water
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp raw agave (optional)

What you do:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, such as a Vitamix.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

You can use any type of raw nut you want to make nut milk, but cashews are the easiest because there isn't any pulp so no filtering is necessary.  The general rule is 1 part nuts to 2 parts water and you can add sea salt and a sweetener of your choice to taste. 

 

*Soup and cornbread recipes adapted from Veg News.