Tasty Words: Anticipation grows at Thanksgiving for pumpkin soup

Photo courtesy of Lauren Kudlawiec / This pumpkin soup is filling and full of healthy nutrients to fight off winter sickness.

Autumn is a great season to enjoy pumpkin in every shape and form.

I certainly have my fair share of pumpkin-infused recipes, and they permeate my kitchen just about every week in November.

Sometimes, I’m craving a sweet treat, like pumpkin cookies or cinnamon rolls. Other nights, I scour my cooking magazines for a unique pasta or chili.

As my husband and I prepare to host our third Thanksgiving this year, I can always count on my aunt, Gwen Berardinelli, to prepare a giant batch of her amazing pumpkin soup. This ranks among my very favorite pumpkin recipes.

This velvety starter is filling and full of healthy nutrients that will keep those sniffles at bay as the chilly temperatures approach. The cran-apple relish gives it an extra boost of flavor using only fruit, vegetables and pantry spices.

My aunt likes to add roughly 1 cup half-and-half to her recipe to increase the creaminess of the dish, but I usually opt for the dairy-free version.

Use it as a stunning holiday appetizer or part of a sandwich/soup light lunch for your next special occasion.

Pumpkin Soup with Cran-Apple Relish

Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 8, each with 1 cup soup with 1 heaping tablespoon of relish

Total Cost: $9.68

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large apples, chopped and divided

1 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, divided

1 1/4 teaspoon paprika, divided

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

15 ounces canned or fresh pumpkin puree

32 ounces low-fat, low sodium chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped

1/3 cup scallions, chopped

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook for 3 minutes.

Add one chopped apple to the pot and cook an additional 2 minutes, until the apple and vegetables are soft. Sprinkle in the chili powder, paprika and cinnamon and stir. Add in the pumpkin puree and stir to coat the mixture in the pumpkin completely. Cook 1 minute. Add in the chicken broth and stir until the pumpkin is dissolves completely in the broth. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Serve with cran-apple relish.

As soup cooks, prepare your relish. To a small bowl, add the remaining chopped apple, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder, paprika and cinnamon, the cranberries and scallions. Stir to combine and serve with the hotsoup.

Nutritional Information — Calories: 95; Total Fat: 2.4 grams; Saturated Fat: 0.3 grams; Sodium: 582.1 milligrams; Carbohydrates: 19.1 grams; Fiber: 5.1 grams; Sugar: 10.8 grams; Protein: 2.1 grams; Cholesterol: 2.5 milligrams

Lauren Kudlawiec is the author of “Cooking with Lauren K,” a cookbook featuring healthy and affordable meals. Books are available on her website laurenkcooking.com or at the Altoona Mirror building. She teaches at Penn Cambria High School and lives in Ebensburg with her husband and son.