Pumpkin and pepper soup
Skill level: Easy peasy
Costs: Cheap as chips
This filling squash soup, full of vitamin A, is great as a starter, a light lunch or even taken to work as a change from sandwiches!
- 2 red peppers, halved
- 1kg pumpkin or butternut squash
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium leek, washed well and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
- 1litre vegetable stock
- Shredded coriander
- Pumpkin seeds
Top tip: This richly coloured soup is rich in carotenes, converted in the body into vitamin A - great for vegetarians as vitamin A is mainly found in animal sources.
- Heat the grill and place the pepper halves under the grill to roast - the skin will blister and blacken in about 15 mins. Transfer to a bowl.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin or squash, discard the seeds and cut into large pieces then pare off the skin. Cut the flesh into smaller chunks. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and leek and cook over a medium heat for 5-8 mins until softened. Transfer the peppers into a bowl, cover with cling film and allow to cool so that you can pick them up in your fingers.
- Stir the garlic and chilli (if using) into the pan and cook for a further minute.
- Add the stock and prepared pumpkin/squash, bring to the boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 15-20 mins until the pumpkin/squash is tender.
- While the soup is cooking, discard the seeds from peppers and peel off the skin and roughly chop.
- Blend the soup in batches adding the peppers. They will retain some texture while the pumpkin/squash will become a smooth puree. Season if needed then re-heat to serve.
- Scatter the soup with coriander and a few pumpkin seeds.