Here at Effortlessly Eco we like to help like-minded people share their voices! We will be holding a regular feature on our site, where guest bloggers can share a sustainability topic of their choosing. This week's blogger is Ellice Hey, discussing Halloween and teaching us how to create delicious vegan pumpkin soup.
Ellice's homemade vegan pumpkin soup
One of the scariest things about Halloween, is how much unnecessary waste it creates year upon year. Halloween has gone from a bin bag outfit (90’s kids shout out) and a quick trick or treat, to parties and new outfits every year. I love Halloween as much as I love the new vegan Pumpkin Spice lattes from Starbucks, which is a lot, and my bank account is suffering.
Onto the serious stuff now, if we don’t make small changes now towards a more sustainable Halloween, it is only going to get worse in years to come. I won’t frighten you with the statistics on the amount of plastic that is wasted each year with Halloween, if you want to have a read on this yourself, I recommend this article. If you also like to browse the Halloween aisle at the supermarket, looking at fake scabs and a selection of fake body parts, you can see why Halloween is such a problem when it comes to plastic packaging and a ridiculous amount of single use items.
Like most people who care about how much plastic comes on mass produced items, I could go on and on about it but instead I am dedicating this blog to my favourite part of Halloween...pumpkins. Now for some facts scarier than any Netflix horrors I have watched; more than 8 million pumpkins will head straight to waste this Halloween, which is over 18,000 tonnes of the vegetable not being eaten! It is such a luxury to have food grown for us that is not created for consumption but rather landfill. To try to lessen this haunting thought, I have a few ideas of how we can change the course of a pumpkins life and not just carve the poor pumpkin but consume it (it is food after all).
Some of the following ideas suggest using pumpkin puree which is so simple to make, that it makes using up the inside of your pumpkins even more worth it. Simply scrape out the seeds and stringy parts of your pumpkin (set aside as roasted pumpkin seeds are amazing), steam the fleshy part of the pumpkin until it is soft, test with a knife to check it is ready, then let it cool before blending it until smooth. You then have the versatile pumpkin puree that is ready for any recipe.
If you are a Gaz Oakley (Avant-Garde Vegan) fan like me and if you also wait every year for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, then take a look at Gaz’s PSL recipe. I must admit that this recipe demands a lot of effort but the recipe has 50 servings, which even by my expectations is a lot of PSL.
Why not use up some of that healthy fresh pumpkin and create a sweet treat? I have found the perfect recipe for vegan pumpkin cookies with a maple glaze and even though veg in sweet treats is not up everyone's street, make an exception this Halloween because with this recipe you will not regret it!
Just in case you are not tempted by my first two recommendations, take a look at my favourite Canadian vegan’s recipe, Liv’s Pumpkin Lentil Spaghetti. This recipe is perfect for this time of year, use up your pumpkin and impress whoever you have been stuck with in lockdown, with this quick and easy pasta.
Lastly, I am going to take you through my easy pumpkin and butternut squash soup recipe, I have made this soup many times, with varying ingredients and I have finally perfected my recipe if I do say so myself. Follow the quick and easy steps with your pumpkin no matter what shape and size it is and you will end up with a spine-tinglingly tasty soup. What I love about this recipe is that you can use as much and as little as you like of the two squashes, I recommend a 50/50 approach, if you have a large pumpkin but only a small butternut squash, then use about the same amount of each. And keep the rest of the pumpkin for some cookies or to use in your next Sunday roast.
1 Butternut squash
4 Cloves of garlic peeled
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
1 Vegetable stock cube diluted with 300ml of boiling water
Salt and Pepper
Optional extras- Coconut milk or dairy free cream, nutritional yeast and the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin.
Step 1- Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Step 2 - Peel the butternut squash and cut up into cubes and add to a non stick tray, drizzle over some olive oil and salt and pepper (I will leave the amounts to your taste), add the sprigs of rosemary to the tray and the garlic. Place in the oven and cook until the butternut squash has crisped up a little and is cooked all the way through, this usually takes 25-30 minutes depending on the size of the cubes.
Step 3 - Peel the pumpkin (this can be difficult so it may be easier to chop the pumpkin into smaller pieces first), then cut into large cubes, add to a pan with water and bring to the boil, this will be ready in 15 minutes and should be soft once it is ready. Drain the pumpkin and leave in the pan. If you want to use the pumpkin seeds for your soup, then rinse them in a sieve, add to a tray with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes, turn the seeds over every 5 minutes so they cook on all sides.
Step 4 - Once the butternut squash is cooked, add it to the pan of cooked pumpkin, make sure you also add the garlic, you can take out the rosemary or keep it in. I add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt and pepper, this is optional. Add the diluted stock cube into the pan. Bring the pan with all the ingredients back to a boil.
Step 5 - Once all the soup is bubbling again, turn off the heat you may want to wait until the soup has cooled slightly before blending. If the soup is a little too thick for your liking, then you can add more stock. Once the soup is smooth then it is ready. Optional last steps- For a creamer soup add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk to the soup. If you are eating the soup straight away, then serve in a bowl with a drizzle of dairy free cream and top with your roasted pumpkin seeds.
Ellice's homemade pumpkin soup is a delicious and perfect way to avoid unnecessary food waste caused from pumpkins. It is also a comforting meal in these cold, miserable Autumn/Winter months!
We will regularly be featuring Guest Bloggers to write about a sustainability topic of their choice - if you are interested in being included please email email@example.com - thank you!