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Pumpkin Soup With Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto

Pumpkin Soup With Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR /

Top bowls of this sweet and smoky soup with a variation on traditional pesto.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


3/4 cup lightly packed fresh sage leaves (from 2 large bunches)

3/4 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (about 4 ounces)

1/4 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves

2 garlic cloves

3/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


2 carrots, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 (4- to 4 1/2-pound) pumpkin seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 9 cups)

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups vegetable broth

3 1/2 cups water

For the pesto, place the pumpkin seeds and garlic in a food processor, and process until a thick paste forms. Add the olive oil in a steady stream; add the lemon juice. Add the sage and parsley, and process until smooth.

For the soup, cook the carrots, onion, garlic and bay leaf in olive oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add pumpkin, salt, cumin and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin begins to soften around edges, about 15 minutes. Stir in broth and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Blend soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor until smooth. Top with the pesto and serve hot.

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