This creamy pumpkin tahini soup is made with just six ingredients but is filled with aromatic Moroccan flavours. It’s vegan, super easy to prepare and makes great use of everyone’s favourite seasonal vegetable!
If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that I’m a firm believer that roasting makes everything better. This vegan roasted cauliflower soup is a prime example of how an oftentimes bland vegetable can turn into something spectacular after just 30 minutes in the oven.
Since my last soup recipe, vegan curry lentil soup, turned into a runaway hit on social media, I’ve been working on many more cozy soup recipes for this chilly weather!
I recently reorganized my ample spice collection and came across a jar of ras el hanout that I rarely use. And so was born this recipe for pumpkin tahini soup!
What is ras el hanout?
Ras el hanout is simply a spice mix. It’s popular in North African cuisine and is especially associated with Moroccan food.
Just like with garam masala, there is no one set recipe for ras el hanout and each brand or recipe is a little bit different.
The principal flavours are warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, turmeric, mace and nutmeg. It’s generally not a super spicy mix but the brand I use does have cayenne pepper and gives a nice bit of heat to this pumpkin tahini soup.
The brand I use (pictured) also contains rose petals and lavender. They add an exotic floral note that is absolutely delicious!
Where to buy ras el hanout or can I make it?
I got mine at an Asian supermarket that also has an aisle of Middle Eastern foods. I have also seen it at a regular supermarket with a particularly good spice selection. You can also check in the “ethnic” foods aisle. If you have a Middle Eastern grocer in your city, you’re sure to find it there.
If you can’t find it, you can also make it. There are many recipes available online, you just have to google. You’ll need an ample spice cabinet, but most of the spices you need can be easily found at any supermarket.
I particularly like the looks of this ras el hanout recipe from the blog My Moroccan Food as it includes dried rose petals and as I mentioned previously, the floral notes make this soup extra exotic and delicious!
How to make Pumpkin Tahini Soup
It’s really easy! Start by breaking down a small pumpkin. I’m sure this recipe would work equally well with a squash such as a butternut or red kuri if you prefer.
Scoop out the seeds and carefully cut it into slices. No need to peel it at this stage. Drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Arrange the slices on a baking pan so that they are not overlapping. Roast until tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.
Did you know that pumpkin and squash skin is edible? It’s also got lots of vitamins in it so when I’ve roasted a squash I often eat the skin as well.
The first time I made this recipe I just tossed the pumpkin slices, skin and all into the blender. The texture of the soup was totally smooth but you could see some specks from the skin. This time I peeled the skin off with a fork. It didn’t make any difference to the flavour but the soup looks a bit prettier.
If you’re lazy like me and don’t mind how it looks, don’t bother peeling the skin off. If you want it to look just like mine in the pictures, the skin should slip off easily with the help of a fork.
While the pumpkin is roasting, fry off some onion and garlic. Do this over super low heat in order to develop as much flavour as possible. You have lots of time to do this slowly and gently while the pumpkin roasts.
When the pumpkin is ready, add the ras el hanout to the pot for a few seconds in order to bring out the flavours. Then add the stock and turn up the heat a bit in order to bring it to a simmer.
Now you just need to blend it all together with some tahini for extra creaminess and flavour. I prefer to blend soups in an upright blender but an immersion blender would work too. My immersion blender just doesn’t blend as nice and smooth as my upright blender.
You’re going to want to taste it at this point. Since your pumpkin might be a bit bigger or smaller than mine, you may need to adjust the quantities of stock, tahini and ras el hanout to get the texture and flavours to your liking.
That’s it, ready to serve! Garnish as you want. I had some pumpkin seeds leftover from the last time I made this recipe so I just fried them in a pan in a bit of oil and sprinkled over some additional ras el hanout.
I definitely recommend serving this pumpkin tahini soup with some crusty bread for dipping!
Pumpkin Tahini Soup
- 1 small mine weighed 2.8 pounds / 1.29 kilos) pumpkin (or squash such as butternut or red kuri) - $2.13
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided - $0.48
- Several pinches of salt divided - $0.06
- 1 medium onion diced - $0.15
- 1 large clove garlic minced - $0.08
- 3 teaspoons ras el hanout - $0.95
- 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable stock (or more if you want a thinner soup) - $0.90
- 2 - 4 tablespoons tahini some are quite bitter so start with less then add more to taste - $0.30
- Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C.
- Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Carefully slice the pumpkin into 1 inch (2.5 cm) sliced. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Toss to coat and arrange the slices to that they are not overlapping. Roast until tender – about 20 - 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over low heat. Add the onion and allow to very gently and slowly fry until transparent and soft, stirring occasionally (low and slow adds flavour and you have time while the pumpkin roasts). If the onion starts to brown too quickly, take the pot off the heat and wait a bit for the pumpkin to catch up.
- When the onion is soft, add the garlic and continue frying until soft and fragrant. Add the ras el hanout and fry for a minute while stirring to release the flavours. Add the stock and raise the heat to medium to bring to a gentle simmer.
- If you’ve timed it right, your pumpkin should be roasted by now. Carefully peel off the skin with a fork (I mentioned above that this is optional but makes a prettier soup).
- Option 1: transfer the roasted pumpkin, the contents of the pot, the tahini (start with 2 tablespoons of tahini and add more to taste after blending) and a pinch of salt to a blender. Blend until smooth with the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary or add more stock for a thinner soup.
- Option 2: add the roasted pumpkin to the pot along with the tahini (start with 2 tablespoons then add more to taste) and a pinch of salt. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings or add more stock for a thinner soup.
- Serve with your choice of garnishes and/or some crusty bread for dipping.