The 5-2 Challenge. Layering Flavours. Spiced Pumpkin, Orange and Ginger Soup With Gremolata Crumbs

Pumpkin, Orange and Ginger Soup With Gremolata Crumbs

What to eat when you are ravenously hungry on a cold and blustery fast day? Soup. More specifically a non dairy, homemade vegetable based soup. Incredibly low in calories, warming and more importantly filling. Today’s offering? A  Spiced Pumpkin, Orange and Ginger Soup. Layers of flavour at an impressive 95 calories per cup.

Whole oranges and spices introduce an  interesting first layer of  flavour. Lighter and fresher with a creamy texture without the addition of  heavy cream. My bowl of soup then comes alive with a rather generous sprinkling of zingy gremolata crumbs. My rather modern version incorporates finely minced fresh orange peel, garlic, long red chilli, parsley and sourdough crumbs.

Over the last three or so months I’ve adapted quite a few soups for the 5-2 challenge. One aspect that constantly amazes me is the lower calorie count of a good  homemade soup to its commercial cousin. I’ve perused the packaging of a wide variety of different offerings of soup in the supermarket aisles and am convinced that many must contain calorie laden preservatives and fillers. My most successful fast days seem to be those where I prepare meals from scratch using unprocessed, whole foods. The beauty of making up a large pot of soup? It’s fast and easy. A little goes a long, long way to satisfying those pesky hunger pangs. Make up a large enough batch to ensure there are leftovers. Freeze for an instant fast day meal on those days you are far too busy or preoccupied to cook.

As always here is my latest fast day on a plate.

2 Cups  Tea
Mid Morning
Skim Cappuccino
1 Medium Banana
Mid Afternoon
2 Cups Tea
1 ½ Cups of Spiced Pumpkin, Orange and Ginger Soup with Gremolata Crumbs
1 Cup of Tea with Teaspoon of Sugar
Total Calories

Spiced Pumpkin, Orange and Ginger Soup With Gremolata Crumbs

Makes 10 cups (95 calories per cup plus 36 calories per tablespoon gremolata crumbs)

2 tablespoons of olive oil (240 calories)
2 medium onions, finely diced (92 calories)
2 celery stalks, diced (17 calories)
small knob of fresh ginger, about 1 tablespoon minced (5 calories)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (8 calories)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (105 calories)
1 butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped (190 calories)
2 oranges (124 calories)
6 cups chicken stock (120 calories)
a good grating of nutmeg (10 calories)
2 teaspoons brown sugar (40 calories)
sea salt and pepper

CAREFULLY remove a thin layer of zest from the oranges with a microplane grater making sure to avoid the bitter pith. Divide the zest evenly between two small bowls. One portion will be used for the soup, the other for the gremolata. Set aside.
REMOVE all the white pith from the oranges and discard. Chop the oranges coarsely, removing any pips, and set aside
PLACE a large stockpot on the stove and gently heat the oil.
ADD onions, garlic and ginger. Sauté  without allowing the ingredients to colour. Then add the potatoes,pumpkin,nutmeg and brown sugar. Stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
ADD the coarsely chopped oranges and one portion of orange zest. Stir well to combine.
LASTLY add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until all ingredients are soft, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
REMOVE from heat, cool and purée to a smooth consistency in a food processor or with a hand held stick blender.
REHEAT gently to serve. Season to taste and garnish with a good sprinkling of gremolata crumbs.

Gremolata Crumbs

Gremolata Crumbs

These gremolata crumbs can be sprinkled on almost any dish to add anothe layer of flavour. I used orange zest in my gremolata to complement the soup but gremolata is traditionally made with lemon zest. Equally delicious either way. The addition of chilli was at the request of my family. They love their food spicy and the heat from the chilli works with the soup. If you prefer you can omit the chilli.

Makes 10 tablespoons (36 calories per tablespoon)

1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
1/2 cup coarse breadcrumbs (210 calories)
zest of 1 orange (6 calories)
1 long red chilli, finely chopped (18 calories)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (8 calories)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley (2 calories)

HEAT olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and salt. Stir to coat in oil. Cook, stirring constantly, until bread crumbs are golden.
ADD zest,chilli and garlic and toss until mixture is very fragrant and bread crumbs are golden brown.
REMOVE from heat. Transfer to bowl and add parsley, stirring to combine.

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7 Responses to The 5-2 Challenge. Layering Flavours. Spiced Pumpkin, Orange and Ginger Soup With Gremolata Crumbs

  1. Vinny Grette says:

    This soup looks to be loaded with flavor. I’d have been tempted to eat another cupful, as you have room to spare on your calorie total

    • The funny thing was I was full after that first bowl. I had initially thought I might sneak in an after dinner treat, but forgot all about it.

      • Vinny Grette says:

        Good for you! Stopping when full is key to managing a healthy weight, isn’t it. Is your goal to maintain your weight or are you still losing? I’ve reached my goal and have maintained my weight for a month. May have even lost one more pound in that time! I’m wondering whether any more will drop off, as I’m determined never to go back to old ways of eating again… time will tell

        • I’m not so focussef on the weight loss side of things but find I’m losing an average of a kilo a month. It’s the perfect eating plan for me. I can enjoy my food most days of the week and not worry about putting on weight. It’s great you’ve reached your goal. I have read that maintenance usually requires just one fast day a week.

  2. I love this soup. Especially the gremolata crumbs! I’m trying to “taste” the orange in the soup. Did it really play a role in the outcome? I’m game for making this for sure!

    • Using orange does add subtle citrus undertones to the pumpkin soup and the gremolata brightens the flavours. Of course I’m always careful to avoid zesting the bitter pith. I think the oranga and pumpkin combination has it’s origins in fusion cooking popular in the eighties.

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