Meatless Monday: Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Chipotle

by Kelly on October 17, 2011

This weekend came with a heavy dose of nostalgia that followed me into the kitchen. It all started when I went to see Matt Nathanson in concert in Chicago on Saturday night.  (If you’re not familiar with him and like indie pop music and talented songwriting I couldn’t recommend him more highly.)  It was particularly fun because the last time I saw him in concert was in October of 2005, so when he played some of his old material it was like a trip down memory lane.  It took me back to the place in my life when I had just graduated from college.  I was living on my own for the first time and trying to navigate so many new experiences – post-college dating (which, quite frankly, I think I am continually trying to master), homeownership, and a full-time professional job.  It was also when I first began to cook in earnest.  And as if I wasn’t digging far enough back in my memory, this recipe is inspired by an even earlier moment in time.  Believe it or not, I had never had pumpkin soup (that I remembered) until I was 13 and on a summer educational trip to Australia and New Zealand.  One of the few dishes I still remember from the trip was the pumpkin soup.  I still remember its richness, golden color, and ever so light hint of cinnamon.  It was so good that I’m amazed I’ve never made it sooner.

This is my version.  It came together quickly thanks to the pantry staples of vegetable broth, canned pumpkin, and evaporated milk.

Pumpkin Soup-1

Since I normally prefer to make things from scratch canned pumpkin feels a bit sacrilegious.  But I have to admit, having made my own pumpkin puree before that I think fresh pumpkins can be pretty inconsistent in flavor and texture.  Some are robust and creamy, others watery and a bit bland.  So canned pumpkin for me it is.  Also in my pantry arsenal was some Pacific Foods Organic Vegetable Broth I was sent to sample for the blog.  I’ve cooked with, and loved, their beef and chicken broths in the past and the vegetable broth was equally great.  I do believe that homemade broth usually has the best flavor, but if you don’t have the time to make your own, this brand tastes the closest to homemade of what I’ve tried.

Pumpkin Soup-2

My version does take a departure from the more classic creamy pumpkin soup with the addition of chipotle peppers and goat cheese that are blended right into the soup.  I was struck with the idea after eating my Smoky and Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Goat Cheese.  Eating them I kept thinking that not only would the goat cheese and chipotles pair well with Pumpkin as well, but also that I would love them as a soup.  I skipped the bacon to make it Meatless Monday appropriate, but I imagine that it would be as tasty in this soup as it was in the sweet potatoes.  However, I have to admit that there were so many tasty flavors going on in this soup that I didn’t miss it.

Pumpkin Soup-3

I garnished my soup with crumbles of additional goat cheese and blue corn tortilla chips, but I imagine this would be great with some crumbled up corn bread as well and perhaps a little crema or sour cream to balance out the heat of the chipotles.  I loved the way the flavors of this soup worked together.  The chipotles added the perfect amount of heat, the goat cheese added just the slightest tang, and cinnamon rounded out the flavors.  And I’m always a sucker for the creamy flavor and texture that comes from a mix of evaporated milk and half and half.  All and all it was perfect for slow sipping on a chilly fall afternoon.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Chipotle
Very loosely inspired by Libby’s Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Yields 10-12 servings


-2 tablespoons butter
-1 medium onion, diced
-1 cup diced carrots
-1 cup diced celery
-2 cloves garlic
-1 quart vegetable broth
-1 29 ounce can pumpkin
-2 tablespoons minced chipotles in adobo sauce (this yield a medium to hot soup for my taste, if you prefer something milder, cut back to 1 tablespoon)
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
-1/2 cup half and half
-4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled, plus additional for garnish, if desired
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-Freshly ground black pepper to taste
-Blue corn chips, if desired, for garnish


Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and sauté 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 5 minuts longer.
Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low so broth is at a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, chipotles in adobo, and cinnamon. Simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to the dutch oven.

Keeping the saucepan on low, stir in the remaining ingredients until the goat cheese is well incorporated, the brown sugar has melted, and the soup hot enough to serve.  Season with the salt and pepper.  If soup is too spicy, add additional half and half to mellow it out. Ladle into bowls and garnish with blue corn chips and additional goat cheese crumbles as desired.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Victoria (District Chocoholic) October 17, 2011 at 8:14 am

Using canned pumpkin is a very acceptable shortcut. I mean, who wants to peel a pumpkin? NOT ME. And you made up for it by combining pumpkin and goat cheese, which is a divine combination


Kelly October 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

Your comment re: peeling a pumpkin made me laugh. You’re absolutely right. I think I am just one of those stubborn people that has felt that a) everything tastes better from scratch and b) I should be capable of making everything from. Pumpkin + goat cheese is divine. I can’t believe that i am just getting around to putting them together now.


Bridget October 17, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Aww Matt Nathanson reminds me of college too!! Saw him while I was at UNH, actually I think he’s from the area or at least went to highschool in NH. Anyways! That soup looks delicious! I made a butternut squash soup yesterday too actually, and pumpkin bread haha…tis the season I guess 🙂


Kelly October 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Bridget – Yeah he definitely did the college circuit. Being the dork I am when I met him (he was the sweetest guy ever and so genuine) I made a point to tell him how long ago it was that I saw him sooo long ago. And you are right, he is from the area. I believe he’s actually from a suburb outside of Boston.


Ashlee October 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I’m so super jealous you got to see Matt Nathanson! And this soup looks SO delicious. Super creamy, and then with goat cheese – yum!!!


Cara October 17, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Mmm, I love where you’ve taken this. But then again, there really isn’t anywhere that goat cheese doesn’t belong, is there?


Hannah October 18, 2011 at 8:52 am

Looks nice and rich, just as a decent pumpkin soup should be! I like your spicy take on it- I usually go simple and savory, but chipotle would certainly liven things up a bit.


Kelly October 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

Ashlee – I’m not going to lie, the concert was fantastic. He came in the summer and I missed him so I was happy to see him this time and thanks for the compliment on the soup. 🙂

Cara – I like how you think. I do believe that goat cheese goes well on EVERYTHING.

Hannah – It definitely was. Pumpkin soup just isn’t pumpkin soup without a bit of creaminess for me and yep, the spice did shake things up.


shannon October 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Definitely an acceptable substitute 🙂 While I tend to do alot from scratch, I’ve only roasted a sugar pumpkin once or twice! This sounds alot like a soup I made last week- butternut with some goat cheese melted in at the end, SO GOOD!


Alexis @ There She Goes October 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm

i love this idea! and laid by matt nathanson was my fav song sophomore year of college- i used to blast it CONSTANTLY


Biz October 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for your comment on my blog post today – Hannah definitely has some reading to do tonight! 😀

And I love the idea of goat cheese and pumpkin together – yum!


Reeni October 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm

You’ve put together some fantastic flavors! Everything about this soup sounds incredibly good. I love the chipotle with the hint of cinnamon.


Kerstin October 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Yay for goat cheese – sounds so perfect with the pumpkin and chipotle! Isn’t it amazing how songs can immediately take you back to a certain moment?


Esi October 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I made a great pumpkin soup last year, but it was very time consuming. This looks like an easy alternative.


Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living October 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

Pumpkin & chipotle go SO well together, and everything is better with goat cheese! I’ve been enjoying pumpkin in savory recipes lately… this soup looks fantastic =).


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