This vegetarian Haitian Pumpkin Soup Joumou is a meatless take on a famous dish, and it’s sure to please any crowd. Usually reserved for special occasions, this heart soup is the perfect substitute for a game-day chili (because, what’s a more special occasion than game day?!).
Soup Joumou is typically served on January 1, as a way to ring in the New Year and Haiti’s independence. It’s believed that Haitian slaves were not allowed to have this soup, which was instead reserved for white French slave owners. When Haiti gained it’s independence, freed Haitians celebrated by eating the soup they were once forbidden to enjoy.
With a story like that, it’s impossible not to love this delicious soup. Traditionally made from calabaza pumpkin (i.e. Caribbean squash), potatoes, and a flavorful stock, this soup is often served with beef and pasta. (Note: you can replace the pumpkin with butternut squash). My version of soup joumou keeps many of the traditional ingredients, but removes the meat. But trust me, it’s not missing out on any flavor!
While I have never been to Haiti, I would love to visit one day. In the mean time, I’ll have to make do with cooking (and eating!) food from the island. Given how delicious this soup is, I don’t think I’ll have any issues.
If you have any additional recipes from Haiti (or anywhere else for that matter) that you’d like to see featured in the blog, let me know in the comments below! Can’t wait to hear from you.
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups cut and peeled butternut squash (or calabaza pumpkin)
- 2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 bouillon cube
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- 1 cup pasta (rigatoni or spaghetti) (optional)
- 1 stalk green onion, chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent, about 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth and pumpkin to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let squash cook for 20-25 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Add half the squash and half of the broth to a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed pumpkin back into the pot with the reserve broth and remaining pumpkin. Add potatoes, carrots, bouillon cube, thyme, green onions, salt and pepper. If you want a spicy soup, add whole scotch bonnet pepper. Bring pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, but not done.
- Add pasta (optional) to the soup and cook for an additional 9-11 minutes, depending on how you like your pasta. If not using pasta, allow soup to simmer until vegetables are completely cooked. Remove from heat. Serve soup with your choice of toppings and enjoy!
makes 4-6 servings