This vegan pumpkin bisque smooth, creamy, flavored with granny smith apples and spices, and is topped with slightly sweet maple-cinnamon tempeh croutons.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Soyfoods Council. I was asked to participate in the “#SoyInspired for Thanksgiving” campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.
Waaaaay back, for one of my first Thanksgivings as a vegetarian, my mom went out and bought me a vegetarian roast. They're out there. Some are decent. This one wasn't. (Sorry mom. I know it's the thought that counts.) In the following years I told her to skip the roast, as there were sides-a-plenty to fill my belly. This was true, and it still is. The older I get though, the harder the carb overload hits me. It's always fun going down, but during the car ride home I find myself in a half asleep stupor muttering "duuuuddee...next year I'm bringing myself some protein." Whoever made up that bit about it being tryptophan in the turkey that puts you to sleep totally lied.
This year I found a solution: I worked protein into my soup!
An old friend of mine used to put tempeh croutons in her soup. I love that idea for a bisque like this one. I especially love that idea when said croutons have an ever so lightly crispy maple-cinnamon coating. If you're ever inclined to put croutons in the form of little bread cubes into your soup, you'll love tempeh croutons. They add not only some healthy plant-based protein, but also some bulk, so if you have this as first course, you might be less inclined to load up on the mashed potatoes.
The vegan pumpkin bisque itself is light, creamy, and just slightly sweet, thanks to the natural sweetness from the pumpkin and apples. I went with soy milk as a base for this vegan bisque, because it adds a bit more protein yet, along with a light creaminess, and thanks to it's neutral flavor, let's the pumpkin and spices shine through.
Another thing about this recipe: any time I post a pumpkin recipe, I'm pretty certain to get some questions on substitutions. If I use canned pumpkin, I'll get questions on whether fresh pumpkin puree is a suitable substitute. I'll get questions on canned if I use fresh. While I know that the two are generally interchangeable, I've never experimented to find out for myself. So, guess what I did? I went and made both versions. Yes, I did. The recipe gives both types of pumpkin puree as options. Both will be delicious, but a bit different. If you use canned, your soup will be a bit thicker and have a more intense flavor. Fresh yields a lighter soup with a smoother texture. I can't really say which is better. I liked 'em both. You just might want to make them both (like you'd have the energy for that on Thanksgiving ;)).
**Giveaway has ended.**
Couldn't forget that part of the post, right? The Soyfoods Council is celebrating a #SoyInspired Thanksgiving by raffling off a $200 Williams Sonoma gift card! Enter here.
Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Bisque with Maple Cinnamon Tempeh Croutons
For the Pumpkin Bisque
- 2 medium sugar pumpkins 2 ½ lb. each OR 2-14 oz. cans pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp. olive oil divided
- 1 bulb garlic
- 1 medium onion halved
- 1 granny smith apple peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups unflavored soy milk
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. powdered ginger
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
For the Tempeh Croutons
- 1-8 oz. package tempeh cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice about ½ lemon
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup pepitas
Make the Pumpkin Bisque
Preheat oven to 375°.
If using fresh pumpkin, remove stem and scrape out seeds and inner pulp. Cut each pumpkin into 3-4 sections and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Cut the top off of garlic bulb, so that the tops of cloves are exposed. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and wrap loosely in foil.
Rub onion with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and place on a separate parchment lined baking sheet.
Toss apple with remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and arrange in a single layer on baking sheet with onion.
Place garlic, pumpkin (if using fresh), apple and onion into oven.
Remove onion and apple from oven after about 20 minutes, when apple is soft and onion is lightly browned. Allow pumpkin and garlic to roast for another 15 minutes, until pumpkin is easily pierceable with a knife.
If using fresh pumpkin, allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Gently peel off skin and transfer pulp to food processor bowl. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. If using canned pumpkin, simply place puree into food processor bowl.
Add onion and apples to food processor bowl. Squeeze roasted garlic pulp from bulb. Place pulp in food processor bowl with pumpkin, onion and apple. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Transfer pumpkin mixture to large saucepan. Add broth, soy milk, cinnamon, ginger, salt and pepper. Bring just to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Make the Tempeh Croutons
While your soup ingredients roast, place tempeh cubes in a small bowl with maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer on baking sheet and place in oven (which should already be heated to 375°).
Bake 15 minutes, or until croutons are browned in spots, flipping once about half way through baking.
Divide soup into bowls. Top with pumpkin seeds and tempeh croutons.
As you may have noticed, this recipe requires quite a bit of oven/baking sheet real estate. Work in shifts if needed, adding the tempeh croutons just as you remove the onion and apple.