Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Fennel + Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Roasted pumpkin soup with fennel and pumpkin seed pesto. Vegan + gluten free.

When Matt and I first started dating, we had some minor communication problems. Nothing major, I had been learning and speaking French for most of my life but was far from being bilingual, and Matt did his best to get by with broken English and a giant smile. We laughed a lot over the little words and mis-translations, neither of us taking our mistakes too seriously. I will never forget the night we went out to dinner with a friend of mine in Banff, and getting to know Matt for the first time she was asking him questions about his life in France. When asked what was traditional to eat for dinner back home, Matt answered that the most traditional was his Grandmother, who would eat ‘some soap, salad and a piece of jam?

Soap, salad and jam. That’s really the french cuisine people rave about. I burst out laughing, trying the figure out what the heck he was talking about but none of us could hold it in.

Soup, salad and a piece of ham. So close.

Like Matt’s Grandmother, I also love a big bowl of soup for supper. Good, hearty ingredients – most of the time using up whatever leftover vegetables you have in the fridge and making it dinner worthy with a nice big salad and some fancy toppings (soap and jam excluded). I am a big fan of fennel, but for all y’all fennel haters out there, the flavor is really mild here and is mostly just an undertone. The big flavor comes through from the golden roasted pumpkin, but if you don’t believe me feel free to substitute half the fennel for onions or leeks. The recipe will leave you with some pesto leftover, I like to use it up in a pasta dish, in a salad or simply spread on toast.

Serves 2-4 as a main, more as a starter. Vegan.


750g (about 6 cups) pumpkin –  cored, peeled and cubed
3 tablespoons extra vigin olive
Few sprigs fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium fennel bulb, fronds reserved – white part thinly sliced
4 cups low sodium or homemade vegetable stock (or a combination of stock and water)
Water, as needed
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the pumpkin on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the three whole gloves of garlic and fresh thyme leaves. Roast in the oven until tender and golden, about 30 minutes.

In a skillet or heavy bottomed sauce pan toast the pumpkin seeds until fragrant and crackling, about 5 minutes – set aside and let cool. Once cooled, add seeds, basil leaves, apple cider vinegar and 1 of the roasted garlic cloves to a small blender or food processor. Pulse the mixture while adding olive oil in a steady stream until the pesto is green and uniform. Season with salt and pepper.

In a saucepan, add the sliced fennel with a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until tender. Add the the roasted pumpkin, 2 roasted garlic cloves, vegetable stock and water (if using) and bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add more water or stock if the consistency is too thick ( I added an extra cup or 2 of water here). Season with salt and pepper and bring soup to a simmer one last time before serving.

Top with a spoonful of pesto, extra seeds and thin fennel fronds.

Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!


  • Reply
    Shelley Ludman
    September 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    such a great story! totally trying this recipe next weekend x

  • Reply
    Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania
    October 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I love the basil in your soup and pumpkin seeds? I have never made anything with those, but surely sounds delish.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Yumm that looks so good! I’m a big lover of fennel, especially in soups. It’s actually very high in beta-carotene so that’s one big bowl of sunshine you have in this recipe!

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      October 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      A big bowl of sunshine indeed! Just what we need with this fall weather! Thanks of the comment :) x

  • Reply
    Matthew Green
    October 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Whoa, awesme!

  • Reply
    Marjorie (Sugar for the Brain)
    November 10, 2013 at 1:27 am

    I just made your soup and it is absolutely delicious! Thank you very much! And amazing photos too!

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      November 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Marjorie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup! Thanks for the comment :)

  • Reply
    November 15, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I know you posted this recipe 2 yrs ago, but wondered if I didn’t have real pumpkin, could I use canned? Guess I won’t get the nice roasting quality of the garlic, thyme or pumpkin, though. If I were to try to buy a pumpkin, I think it has to be sugar pumpkin, right?

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      November 16, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Hi Jen! I supposed you could use canned pumpkin but I imagine the soup might be lacking in a little flavor. Fresh pumpkin is definitely the way to go – a big sugar pumpkin should de the trick, or even a red kuri squash! Hope it works out, such a cozy soup!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    I had to look up what red kuri squash looked like. Looks like a mini pumpkin, almost, yet has a slightly different shape. I will look for those. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      November 17, 2015 at 3:08 am

      Oh good! I hope you find one! Thanks Jen x

  • Reply
    Kerrie-Maree Marx
    December 12, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Although I’ve been making pumpkin soup for years……I also had some fennel to use today & hence came across your recipe. I’ve not ever roasted the pumpkin before…but you have certainly converted me! What an amazing taste! And the added use of the seeds & basil for the pesto…. just delightful!
    I also thoroughly enjoyed your story leading to your recipe.

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