Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Banana (?) and Pumpkin Seed Garnish

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Do you ever see a recipe and just know that you have to make it because of one ingredient? You just have to know how that would taste? Well, that’s what happened with me and this recipe! I love pumpkin and will put it in pretty much anything, but this particular soup called for banana in it! Weird, huh? Well, I thought so too, but was compelled to make it because of my curiosity.

Here is my report: I used a ripe banana like the original recipe called for. I liked it, but my husband didn’t. He thought it was too sweet. I thought it had a rather exotic flavour and would be good as a starter at a Caribbean meal. I would be more inclined to use plantain the next time I made it, because I think that flavour would be more complimentary to the pumpkin and spices and the soup wouldn’t be as sweet. If you don’t have a plantain, try using a greener banana. Because this soup is a bit on the sweeter side, it can take a good lot of heat from the sambal olek, so you could garnish it with that as well. I would say that this soup is for anyone with a more adventurous palate; but I guess that suits me and that’s why my tag line is – Adventurous Eats at Every Turn!

This recipe is adapted from The Bon Appétit Cookbook.

I’m bringing this recipe over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday because I know my buddies there are adventurous and will enjoy my perky soup! If any of you haven’t yet checked out Fiesta Friday, you don’t know what you’re missing! I assure you that your blogging experience won’t be complete until you do!!

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Spiced Pumpkin Soup


Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Banana and Pumpkin Seed Garnish

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print



1 ½ tablespoons olive oil or butter

1 medium onion, diced

¾ cup chopped peeled carrots

¾ cup chopped celery

¾ cup chopped almost ripe banana

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 whole clove

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon dried sage leaves

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon curry powder

5 cups low-salt chicken salt

2 cups canned pure pumpkin

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 – 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (to your taste)

1 teaspoon sambal olek

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

dried cranberries for garnish

 Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt


Heat oil over medium – high in a large soup pot. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Add the carrots, celery and banana and sauté over medium until the carrots begin to soften. Add the garlic, bay leaf, clove and the rest of the spices, except for the cilantro. Sauté until spices become fragrant.

Add the chicken broth, pumpkin and coconut milk. Increase the heat and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and season with additional salt, brown sugar and sambal olek.

Purée soup with a hand-held blender until lovely and smooth.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds, cilantro and dried cranberries and additional sambal olek if you wish.

Like most soups, this one is better on the second day once the ingredients have had a chance to marry. Just gently reheat and garnish.

 Spiced Pumpkin Seeds:

In a small dry skillet, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat, just until they start to turn colour. Watch your skillet very carefully because this can happen very quickly!

Add the olive oil, chili powder and salt and sauté very quickly, for 1 minute or less, making sure that the seeds don’t burn. They should just be coated with a bit of oil and the spices and be a nice toasty colour.

Remove to a clean plate so that the cooking process stops. Allow to cool at room temperature.

Once cooled, these can be stored at room temperature in a clean glass jar. Use them to top salads, and soups or just for a nice snack!




62 Responses to “Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Banana (?) and Pumpkin Seed Garnish”

  1. Hilda

    I just thawed some frozen pumpkin – am working through last year’s harvest – with the idea of baking something. But this looks more to the point and it is now on today’s lunch menu. I’d better get to it.

    • chefjulianna

      Glad you like it! And glad you liked me garnish – it’s awesome on salads too or just by the handful for a snack! 😀

  2. Hilda

    I just made the soup. It is delicious – creamy, sweet and spicy. I didn’t have a banana, but think it would have been good – next time.

      • Hilda

        I enjoy making soups – never quite the same twice, but pretty hard to miss. But I appreciate having someone else’s recipe once in a while so that I get a little more variety.

    • chefjulianna

      Oh, I’m so glad you asked! I was going to include a note about it and a picture, but didn’t get there. It is a hot chili paste used in Asian cooking. Very similar to the Vietnamese chili garlic paste or Sriracha, only with all of the chili seeds still in it. You can find it anywhere they sell Asian food products; it will be in the condiment section.

      • apsara

        thanks. I have sriracha, and I like it a lot, but have never added it to a soup. sounds like a good addition, though.

  3. Ngan R.

    Hi Julianna! What an interesting soup indeed. So many spices and flavors in this, I’m sure, just from looking at the ingredients. I love bananas in general so will not be afraid to try this–please pass that ladle, I need a bowl!

  4. Serena

    I really like the spices you have used with the banana and the pumpkin! I love sweet and spicy soups, nice recipe!!! 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Serena! I guess I never thought of it, but there are a number of sweet and spicy soups around,aren’t there?

      • Serena

        Not many, really. But it reminds me of some lovely exotic food, this is what I meant to say. 🙂

  5. sabine

    I really agree with you – always enjoy trying new combinations, unless they sound completely weird to me . If it´s great, you´re having a true hit, if not, it leads you back to basics a little. Both can be very refreshing! I really wonder what the soup tasted…..maybe I´ll give it a try, too!

    • chefjulianna

      Hi Sabine. Yes, I guess that either way, it causes you to look at your recipes with a new eye and that is always healthy….and fun too!

  6. Nancy

    The flavors definitely intrigue me! I greatly appreciate your notes on the flavors and possible substitutions as well. I think this is the perfect dish for Fiesta Friday, giving us all the the opportunity to be more adventurous! I’m going to give this a try, keeping your notes in mind. Thanks for sharing it Julianna 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      Hi Nancy. Yes, I always appreciate it too when I get some ideas for substitutions. Some of the nicest things I have made have come from these kind of suggestions. I hope you like it if you get a chance to make it! 🙂

  7. Alex

    Banana in soup does sound unusual – props for you for giving it a try. It looks great!

    • chefjulianna

      Yes, above all, it really does photograph well! The colours are very rich. Honestly, the cook could just leave out the banana and it is still a wonderful soup 🙂

  8. Patty Nguyen

    This looks so flavorful, Julianna! I love your combination of ingredients. I like your tip about using a less ripe banana!

    • chefjulianna

      Thanks! And I’m glad you noticed the bowls! I love the way they photograph! Just bought them at Crate and Barrel in Seattle!

      • Jhuls

        I’m afraid what might happen if you keep this on your bedside. 😀 Wishing you a lovely day, Juliana. ❤

  9. Sylvia @superfoodista.com

    Wow, I love this recipe Julianna! Yum, I totally get you about having to try a recipe, happens with me all the time, I am very curious about how different ingredients combine together 😉 I can imagine that banana and pumpkin would fit well, because pumpkin also is on the milder, almost sweet side. Lovely photos as always! hugs

  10. saucygander

    You are so right, sometimes I see an unusual ingredient and just *have to* try that recipe! I love the idea of a Caribbean dinner starting with exotic banana and pumpkin soup – or for a tropical themed Fiesta Friday! Don’t know if I can find plantains, but will give this a go next time I see green bananas at the markets. 😀

    • chefjulianna

      Hi Saucy. Yes, I will have to wait around for plantain season. It’s not an ingredient that I use too often, but I find it offers an exotic flavour and texture! Fun idea of themed FF… you should pass that by Angie 😀

  11. cookingwithauntjuju.com

    I love a good soup like this and you have some interesting ingredients that I bet makes your soup really stand out. Yum – sambal olek – I have a big jar in my fridge so you know I like it 🙂

  12. The Novice Gardener

    Er…what? Banana in a soup? Are you sure? Lol! I trust you, I trust you! Your recipes are always sound and excellent, so this must be incredible. It looks it! Photos are fabulous, Julianna. So bright and colorful. It’s a Fiesta soup! 🙂

    • chefjulianna

      LOL! Well Angie, I’m glad to hear that you trust me! It does work, believe it or not 😀 BY THE WAY, how was your place? Everything in order? Nothing broken?

      • The Novice Gardener

        Just a few plants getting shoved out of the way and looking a little limp. Forgot to tell you guys to water for me. Of course, I already forgot to water for an entire week prior, so it was really my fault! 🙂

      • chefjulianna

        Oh yeah, that was to make room for the break dancing!Next time just remind us about the plants! I hear that Aunt JuJu is a Master Gardener, I bet she knows how to water plants! 😀

  13. Liz

    Because I love sweet potato soup so much, I think this soup has the right taste for my palate and 3/4 cup banana, I think is s good balance for two cans pumpkin as long as it’s not sweetened. I shall be trying this one. Thank you!

    • chefjulianna

      Yes Liz, and maybe because I added the extra sugar, that is why my hubby thought it was too sweet. I might not add any sugar the next time I make it. I really hope you like it when you do make it 😀


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