I’m doing a series for Earth Eats (a healthy food-focused podcast and blog produced in southern Indiana) called “five pumpkin-focused recipes for anything but pie.” And this week, I’m kicking things off with a pumpkiny budget recipe that also fits in with the food stamps challenge I’m doing. (It’s been a very busy week for me and food!)
I wanted to make a creamy pumpkin soup, but most recipes call for heavy cream while all we had was skim milk. So, in a stroke of inspiration, I decided to substitute some of the regular coconut milk in our fridge for cream. It’s a vegan source of fat, and adds a creamy, thick texture to the soup.
Coconut milk is not, by any means, a completely healthy alternative. It’s very high in saturated fat. But a little bit goes a long way, and it’s a conscientious alternative to milk or cream. Plus, you don’t have to worry about boiling and curdling the cream! Coconut milk keeps its consistency at boiling temperatures.
Coconut pumpkin soup (vegan!)
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vegetable bullion
- 2-3 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Saute the vegetable oil and chopped onion on medium high until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add 2 cups water and vegetable bullion (or 2 cups vegetable broth.)
- Add the pumpkin puree and coconut milk, stir to combine. (I used my new food processor to puree the pumpkin, but you could use canned if you wanted.) Heat this mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
We enjoyed this soup with a garnish of coconut milk, fresh cilantro, and sweet toasted pumpkin seeds. The soup was served with sliced, toasted whole wheat bread.
The soup alone costed a total of $2.93 to prepare. It yields 4 large servings, with a very roughly estimated 400 calories each. We ate 2 servings, plus 2 slices of whole wheat bread each, for a total cost of $1.53 for dinner for two. With a budget of $5, we were way under, leaving a total of $4.91, or $2.46/person, to spend on any extra snacks. Good for people like us who don’t eat breakfast:)
My overall food for the day was:
- Lunch – black beans and caramelized corn with rice
- Snack – some pumpkin seeds and 1 slice toast with PB&J
- Dinner – pumpkin soup with 2 slices of toast, and broccoli stir fried with leftover black bean mixture
- Late night snack – an apple, some cheddar cheese, and a little bit of extra lentil stew
- Small cup of coffee with milk/sugar
My total spending today was $4.04 (leaving about $.46 leftover) and I’m actually very full this evening. Eoban and I also each had a beer, which of course wasn’t included because alcohol can’t be purchased with food stamps.
I probably should have had more vegetables and fruit, but otherwise this seems like a pretty healthy diet – and it’s nearly vegan and fully vegetarian. So far, so good! I’m looking forward to cooking a crustless quiche for tomorrow’s dinner.