Jamaican Pumpkin Soup is a hearty, vegan meal made with squash, yams, veggies, and plenty of bold authentic Caribbean flavour. Served with dumplings, this warm comforting bowl of soup is ideal for cold fall and winter days or all year-round! The best part of this vegan Jamaican pumpkin soup is that it’s ready in just one hour!
Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
Jamaican pumpkin soup with dumplings is definitely in rotation for “Soup Saturdays”. It’s one of my favourite comfort meals during soup season and for good reason! It’s brimming with lots of fresh, good-for-you-ingredients and the mouthwatering aroma that wafts from my kitchen is pure perfection!
The creamy balance of sweet delicate pumpkin and coconut milk with island herbs and spices like allspice berries and scotch bonnet pepper, make this a staple in my household. It will keep your body warm and your belly full!
Here’s Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Easy to Prepare – you start by boiling some water flavoured with garlic and allspice berries then slowly add fresh ingredients like pumpkin, corn, yams until you have a cozy bowl of hot soup.
- Filling – loaded with pumpkins, dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes this soup will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
- Nutritious – it’s just as nourishing as it is tasty! Pumpkin (squash) is an excellent source of iron, potassium, and Vitamin A.
- Great for the Whole Family – everyone can grab a bowl of this vegan pumpkin soup, regardless of their diet. I love an inclusive meal!
What is a Jamaican Pumpkin?
Jamaican pumpkin is calabaza, a variety of squash. It is often used in desserts, stews, and soups. It has smooth textured flesh and a sweeter taste.
Squash to Use for Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
There are a variety of squashes to choose from when preparing this easy Jamaican pumpkin soup recipe. Any of the below would work:
- Calabaza – also known as winter squash, this is the preferred pumpkin used in traditional Jamaican pumpkin soup.
- Sugar Pumpkin – prominent throughout North America during the fall
- Butternut Squash – slightly, sweet and nutty, this is a good option for pumpkin soup.
- Yellow Squash – a mild peppery flavour.
- Kabocha – smaller with dark green skin with bright orange flesh.
What’s Needed to Make this Recipe (Kitchen Tools and Equipment)
- Large Stock Pot – a stock pot is often much taller than a regular large pot. The tall sides help to prevent too much liquid from evaporating during the cooking process, as well as helping to reduce any potential spillage. Not to mention, great for big batches of soup!
Ingredients and Ingredient Notes
- Water – this is what you are going to use to make the broth.
- Garlic – use large cloves and crush them using the bottom of a can or between two cutting boards.
- Pimento Seeds – also known as allspice berries, this adds a woody, cinnamon-like flavour but is not overpowering.
- Pumpkin – sliced with seeds removed. It’s what provides the rich pumpkin flavour and orange colour to the soup and helps to thicken the soup. Cut the into small cubes for easier cooking.
- Corn – quarter the corn into smaller pieces and add to the soup.
- Carrot – use large, peeled and sliced carrots or carrots cut into chunks.
- Yellow Yam – 2-inches thick, cut into 4 chunks.
- Chocho (Cayote) – peeled and sliced and is also known as cayote is a type of squash and has a taste between a mild apple and cucumber with a crisp texture.
- Turnip – cut into small chunks.
- Celery – a great filler food for soup.
- Onion – cut into wedges.
- Thyme – this fresh, aromatic and flavourful herb is essential in many Jamaican dishes, and definitely great in this one as well.
- Escallion (Green/Spring Onion) – also known as green onion, crushed using the handle end of a chefs knife if needed.
- Flour Dumpling – a mixture of all purpose flour, water, and salt rolled into circular shaped dumplings. See below for the recipe.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper – this is optional but definitely use it if you prefer a spicy soup.
- Vegetable Bouillon – concentrated vegetables and spices added in the last 20 minutes of cooking.
- Seasoned Salt and Black Pepper – season to taste.
- Coconut Milk – add this for a velvety smooth consistency and a subtle pop of fresh coconut flavour.
- All Purpose Flour – you can also use other varieties of flour such as whole wheat, gluten-free etc.
- Water – more or less may be needed.
- Salt – to taste.
How to Make Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
Step One: Soften Pumpkin and Corn
In a large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 10 cups of water and add garlic and pimento. Then add pumpkin and corn and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until pumpkin softened and tender.
Step Two: Add Ingredients
When pumpkin has softened into the soup (water is now an orange colour), add the remaining ingredients – carrot, yam, cayote (chocho or chayote), turnip, celery, onion, thyme, green onion (escallion), dumpling and scotch bonnet pepper. Allow to boil for 15 minutes.
Step Three: Add Coconut Milk and Additional Seasonings
Reduce heat to medium and stir in coconut milk, then add vegetable bouillon(s), seasoned salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary; allow to simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs, serve while hot and enjoy!
In a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt then gradually add water and use your hand to knead and form the dough for the dumpling. Dough should be soft but not sticky and wet.
Pinch or cut off 6 equal sized pieces. In the palm of your hand using a circular motion, form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, and fold the edges of the dough into the center creating small round wheels. Set each dumpling aside.
Recipe Substitutions and Tips
- Spicy Jamaican Pumpkin Soup – if you don’t have access to scotch bonnet, you can use habanero pepper instead. For more subtle flavour, use your favourite hot sauce.
- Jamaican Pumpkin Soup with Chicken – you can use bone-in chicken but boneless chicken thighs is easier to work with, here’s the recipehttps://seasonedskilletblog.com/jamaican-chicken-soup/.
- Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup – you can use stewing beef, cut into large chunks as it will shrink down and break apart as the soup cooks. However, I prefer using beef shank with the bone, as it enriches the flavour.
- Other Optional Ingredients or Substitutes for Above Listed Ingredients – Ground Provision yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dasheen, eddo and cassava etc.
Serving Suggestions and Tips
Serve this hot from the stove as a standalone meal. It is usually not served alongside any other food items, however you can serve it with:
- Bread – warm crusty bread or Jamaican hard dough bread.
- Crackers – soup crackers or Jamaican water crackers.
Recipe Notes and Tips for Success
- Don’t Overseason – instead, season as you go to build up flavour.
- Oil Your Hands When Peeling Yam – this prevents your hands from getting itchy.
- Don’t Break the Scotch Bonnet Pepper – we want the essence but not the full impact of the pepper. Be careful when handling the pepper so it doesn’t break.
- Remember to Remove Herbs and Peppers Before Serving – scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs.
- Determine How Thick Or Thin You Want Your Soup – Jamaican pumpkin soup can be customized depending on how thick or thin you want it. Make it thinner by adding more water or thicker, by adding more pumpkin/less water. It just depends on your preference.
Can I Make this Ahead of Time?
Yes! Jamaican pumpkin soup can be made in advance. However, you may need to add vegetable broth to thin the soup out because it thickens when it sits.
Store leftover Jamaican Pumpkin Soup in an airtight container and place in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Frozen Jamaican pumpkin soup lasts up to 3 months. For easy storage portion the soup into individual freezer friendly bags or airtight containers.
The Best Storage Containers for Storing and Freezing Soup
Soup recipes often taste even better as leftovers, and if you’re making a big batch, storing for later is a great idea! The best features to look for in the storage containers are ones that are:
- Glass Container – this allows you to see what’s inside, lasts longer than plastic, does not stain, can be heated on stove top (double boiler), used in the oven as well as microwave.
- Snap Close Lid – this forms a tight seal to ensure no spillage as well as to keep freshness in.
Be sure to look for a lid that is BPA-free!
How to Freeze Soup
Soup is one of the best meals to make-ahead because it freezes so well. Here’s how to store your soup in the freezer and the best tips for the best results:
- Cool and Portion it Out – it is recommended you cool your soup prior to placing into the freezer to prevent it from thawing other foods in the freezer. Then, portion the soup out into easy and convenient grab-and-go individual servings.
- Separate Grains and Pasta – if there are pasta or grains such as rice in your soup, they will soften as they freeze and reheat. Remove, store, and freeze separately then add back the soup broth when ready to serve.
- Store in Glass or Plastic Containers – then line the top of the soup with a piece of plastic wrap to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
- Label – you can keep frozen soup in the freezer for up to 3 months, so label with a “eat by” date.
- Thaw/Reheat – the easiest way to thaw your soup is in your refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Before reheating, thaw frozen soup in the fridge overnight. It can be warmed up over medium-low heat on the stove or in the microwave. In order to reheat large batches of soup, use a stock pot or dutch oven on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. You may need to add a little water because soup tends to thicken as it sits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No. They are two varieties of squash.
Yes! It is high in fiber and rich in Vitamins A & C.
Although this step is not necessary, it does yield a creamier soup. So puree the pumpkin if you’d like. You can also just mash the pumpkin with a fork if you don’t have a food processor or blender.
Although I have never used canned pumpkin for this soup, it could work. Just be mindful that cooking times will vary and the texture may vary because you aren’t cooking raw pumpkin. But if you plan to use pumpkin puree as the base of your Jamaican pumpkin soup, this would be a convenient but non-traditional method.
Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!
- Jamaican Curry Chicken
- Gungo Peas Soup
- Ackee and Saltfish
- Brown Stew Fish
- Jamaican Oxtail Recipe
- Jerk Chicken Sandwich
- How to Soak Fruit for Christmas Cake
- Easy Jamaican Pigeon “Gungo” Peas and Rice
- Jamaican Pickled Vegetables (Escovitch Sauce)
- Jamaican Curry Shrimp (Seafood)
- Quick & Easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
- 1 Large Stockpot
- 10 cup Water
- 6 cloves Garlic crushed
- 6-8 whole Pimento Seeds allspice berries
- 1 med. Pumpkin
- 1-2 Corn cut into 4
- 1 large Carrot sliced
- 2 slices Yellow Yam 2-inches thick, cut into 4 chunks
- 1 med Chocho cayote, peeled and sliced
- 1 med Turnip cut into small chunks
- 2 stalk Celery
- 1 sm Onion cut into wedges
- 6-8 sprigs Thyme
- 2 stalks Escallion green/spring onion, crushed
- 6 Flour Dumpling see below for recipe
- 1 whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper optional
- 1-2 Vegetable Bouillon
- 2 tsp Seasoned Salt more or less to taste
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Water more, or less may be needed
- 1/4 tsp Salt to taste
Other Optional Ingredients or Substitutes for Above Listed Ingredients
- Ground Provision yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dasheen, eddo and cassava etc.
- In a large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 10 cups of water and add garlic and pimento. Then add pumpkin and corn and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until pumpkin softened and tender.
- When pumpkin has softened into the soup (water is now an orange colour), add the remaining ingredients – carrot, yam, cayote (chocho), turnip, celery, onion, thyme, green onion (escallion), dumpling and scotch bonnet pepper. Allow to boil for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and stir in coconut milk, then add vegetable bouillon(s), seasoned salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust if necessary; allow to simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs, serve while hot and enjoy!
- In a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt then gradually add water and use your hand to knead and form the dough for the dumpling. Dough should be soft but not sticky and wet.
- Pinch or cut off 6 equal sized pieces. In the palm of your hand using a circular motion, form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, and fold the edges of the dough into the center creating small round wheels. Set each dumpling aside.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.