The Great Pumpkin Mishap and Caribbean Pumpkin Soup (vegan and gluten-free)

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It all started when I impulsively bought a couple of cute new rust-orange dishtowels covered with little pumpkins to help usher in the autumn season. I threw them in the washer with a small load of white laundry by mistake. Well, you know what happened.

One of my favorite white wear-around-the-house-shirts, two of my husband’s white workout tee shirts, five pairs of our white gym socks, and a couple pairs of his tighty-whities came out a lovely shade of pale orange. I tried to pretend it was funny and threatened to sew up his undies and then stuff them to create a kind of mutant great pumpkin to put out on the steps by the front door.  Fortunately, the New York Giants were on TV and he sat transfixed ignoring my gasps and cranky laughter as I tried to figure out how much bleach I would need to make everything all white again. Thank God for Sunday night football.

Long story short- little dancing pumpkins whirled around my head the rest of the night and this morning I woke up with a huge craving for everything pumpkin: pumpkin bread, old fashioned pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars and my favorite easy-to-make-in-a-couple of-instant-replay-minutes: Caribbean Pumpkin Soup.  I love this soup because the first mouthful always surprises me with it’s rich, savory, spicy, fragrant flavor. It combines cumin, allspice, black beans, a hint of molasses and a touch of fresh cilantro in a creamy antioxidant-rich pumpkin  base laced with onions and green pepper. It’s really good.

I usually serve a big bowl along side a fresh green salad as part of a colorful dinner. But sometimes I make a pot just so I can have a cup for lunch several days in a row. It’s fast, easy and hits the spot when you crave a little bit of orange in your life and you don’t have any new dish towels to wash.

Here is a sunny, pantry-friendly gluten-free and vegan soup to get you through the busy holidays or any time you start longing for a little tropical spice. I like to make it one day before I serve it in order to allow the flavors to develop.

Serves 4 – 6
Recipe can be doubled
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons allspice
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 can coconut milk (about 13.5 ounces)
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth*
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan (3 – 4 quarts) over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add green pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more over medium heat until vegetables are soft.
  2. Turn heat to high and add cumin and allspice. Stir continuously for 1 minute. 
  3. Add pumpkin puree, coconut milk, chicken broth, black beans, and molasses and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Add lime juice, cilantro, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Soup can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for up to three days a tightly sealed container.  Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator for up to three days. Rewarm over medium-high heat.

*You can use chicken broth for a non-vegetarian soup.


(c)2010 by Annalise Roberts





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5 thoughts on “The Great Pumpkin Mishap and Caribbean Pumpkin Soup (vegan and gluten-free)”

  1. I love all things pumpkin, so can’t wait to try this! Sounds yummy and easy.
    Meanwhile, I think Tide has these strips you can put in the wash to absorb
    running color. Might want to try them? : )

    1. hi!
      Hope you enjoy the soup! And I think it might be too late for Tide on some of the clothes. Fortunately, a lot of the orange came out with bleach when I ran them through the washer again.

  2. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Gluten-Free Community? Our members will appreciate it.
    Members include: Those living Gluten-Free, Gluten-Free Experts, Advocates and Organizations.
    It’s easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also share Articles, News, Photos and Videos if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Gluten-Free Community:
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor

  3. Hi, Annalise. I’m enjoying your blog very much. Can’t wait for your post each month.

    Just wanted to tell you that I made this soup last night. Followed your instructions to a tee, except I added a pound of cooked, shelled shrimp at the last minute with the cilantro. That’s an amazing combination with this wonderful soup. Just saying….

    1. Hi there!
      Good to hear from you Shawn (and I’m happy that you are checking in on me)!
      I’m also glad to hear that you like the pumpkin soup recipe! I love the idea of adding shrimp; think I might try that next time myself.

      I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.
      very best,

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