Spicy Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup

A spicy pumpkin soup with New Mexico red chiles and pinon nuts


This soup was inspired by a beautiful little pumpkin and some dried red chiles that I picked up from a roadside stand in northern New Mexico.  When Bobby asked what I was going to do with the pumpkin I told him that I had been thinking about a pumpkin and red chile soup. He agreed that it was a great idea but then added “You should top it with toasted pinons.”  He was so right. The flavors of the pumpkin, the red chile, and the pinon nuts (pine nuts) make a delicious soup. This is a recipe that requires a little more work than most of my recipes; however, it only takes a few ingredients to yield a whole lot of taste!  It’s like a bite of New Mexico in your mouth.


Kitchen Notes

Roasting Pumpkin – In my opinion, the hardest part of roasting any winter squash is scrapping the seeds and fibers from the inside when the squash is raw; therefore, I always roast the squash first with the seeds intact. I find it much easier to remove the fibers and seeds once the squash is cooked.  Just use a fork and separate the fibers from the pulp and remove.

The chile – I used both dried chiles and chile sauce because I had both.  However, using just one or the other would work fine.  The amount of chile sauce that you use depends on how hot your sauce is and how hot you like your soup.  If you don’t have chile sauce or time to make it, just tear up 3 or more pods (depending on the heat of the chile) and cook down with the pumpkin pulp.  The chile pods will be pureed with the pulp when you blend.

As far as what type of dried red chile, well you know which type I used – New Mexico red chile.  However, if you can’t find these, then use your favorite red chile or red chile sauce. I haven’t found a spicy chile that I didn’t like. Just be sure to adjust the amount of chile sauce to the heat level and flavor of the chile.  For example, if you use chipotle, cut way back to one or at the most two peppers.  Chipotle peppers have a pretty powerful flavor and can easily overpower the pumpkin. You want the chile to complement the pumpkin, not drown it out.

If you purchase a chile sauce, be sure it’s “chile” sauce, not “chili” sauce. There’s a huge difference. Chile sauce is primarily chile peppers, water and salt. Chili sauce is a blend of peppers, vinegar,water, lots of seasoning, and who knows what else.

The cooking process – This does look like a rather laborious soup to make with the roasting of the pumpkin, the toasting of the spice mix, and the making of the red chile sauce.  However, if you are like me, you already have a lot of this on hand. Periodically I make up a batch of spice mix so it’s available when I need it (see recipe below.)  One can always find little containers of red chile sauce in my freezer. I couldn’t call myself a New Mexican if that wasn’t true. :)  So really, with a well-stocked spice rack and freezer, the only thing one needs to do is roast the pumpkin and that can be done on the weekend when you have the time.  Once you have the roasted pumpkin and the red chile sauce, the making of this soup is easy breezy.

The soup’s thickness – When you originally make the soup, add water, broth or stock to whatever your desired thickness.  After the soup sits in the refrigerator for a day or two, it will thicken up, so when you reheat it, be prepared to have to add more liquid.

The spice mix – You can make up a small jar of spice mix (below), or just toast 1/2 tsp. each of cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a skillet, grind, and use what you need.

Cumin Coriander Spice Mix


A spice mix of toasted cumin and coriander seeds



Recipes that use a mix of toasted cumin and coriander:


This Pumpkin and Red chile soup recipe has been shared with the following blog hops. Click on the link for more delicious recipes.  Katherine Martenelli’s Comfort Food Hop (Food Bloggers Support for Sandy), Gallery of Favorites, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Hearth and SoulWhole Foods Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten-Free Fridays, Foodie Friday Recipes, Foodtastic Friday , My Meatless Monday, Clever Chicks, Meatless Monday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Keep It Real Thursday, Creative Thursday, Made From Scratch Monday

This pumpkin and red chile soup was featured in the Gallery of Favorites – Pumpkin Edition.


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77 Responses to “Spicy Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup”

  1. Javelin Warrior October 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I love the combination of pumpkin with the red chile sauce in this recipe, MJ. And it sounds so warming for the fall and winter months – I would absolutely take a bowl of this!

  2. angela@spinachtiger May 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Wow. This sounds fantastic. Pumpkin is so healthy and I’m not waiting for Fall to try this.

  3. Lynn H @ Turnips 2 Tangerines May 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Dropping by from Carole’s Chatter~ This sounds wonderful~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  4. Carole May 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Just my sort of dish, MJ. Thanks for popping over and adding it to our collection. Cheers

  5. Mary Hudak-Collins December 5, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    I tried making a pumpkin soup this year and I loved it, but unfortunately, no one else in the family cared for it and I ended up eating it all :( I may have to cut the recipe down some and give it a try, especially with the weather getting cold now.
    Thanks for participating in our recipe linky this month!

  6. Crystelle November 29, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Hi MJ,
    I pinned this recipe. I am thinking it might be pretty healthy. And that’s a good thing for me….!

  7. Vianney November 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Loving this bite of New Mexico and great tip on removing the seeds after roasting (need ot try this), thanks!

  8. Jessica November 20, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    This soup sounds absolutely amazing. Your husband must feel so spoiled to have you as his cook ;) Have a nice holiday, and feel free to link this up at my Meatless Monday hop too, it’d be great to have you: http://jessica-healthymommyhealthybaby.blogspot.com/2012/11/meatless-monday-yummy-side-dishes.html.

  9. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) November 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Perfect for a chilly day! I love that it has a KICK! :) Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :)

    We have a great collection of recipes going to get us ready for menu planning! Hope to see you this Thursday for another Gluten Free Fridays link up! It will be live at 7:05 eastern US time. Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  10. Terra November 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I miss picking up delicious red chile at the roadside stands. When in Tucson AZ, it was everywhere, and it was delicious:-) Your soup sounds wonderful, and I love the addition of the coriander! Gorgeous, Hugs, Terra

  11. ChgoJohn November 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I don’t know how I missed this post but it sure does look good, And I just happen to have about 6 cups of freshly roasted pumpkin purée in my freezer. Well, it looks like it won’t be there for long!

  12. Miz Helen November 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you soon!
    Miz Helen

  13. April @ The 21st Century Housewife November 15, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Some pumpkin soups I have had seem a little bland to me but yours is so flavourful!! The combination of spices you have used is just wonderful and your soup is such a gorgeous colour! I love the tip about taking the seeds out of squash after after cooking as well.

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      Thanks April! If you’re like me you’ll kick yourself once you try roasting a winter squash with its seeds. When I first did it and saw how very easy it was, I couldn’t believe it took me so long to try it. Sometimes laziness leads to some excellent results. :)

  14. The Wimpy Vegetarian November 12, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    This looks WONDERFUL, MJ. I roast pumpkins most weeks this time of year, and I think I’ll use my harissa since I’ve got a bunch in the frig and the spices and chiles really complement your recipe so well. I’m making this hopefully this week. Love!

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks WV! I bet the harissa is wonderful in this! Any pepper or pepper sauce that is packed with flavor and a little heat would work great! Hope you get a chance to make it!

  15. Food Jaunts November 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    What a great mix of ingredients – you know you’re speaking my language. I’m loving the idea of making a meal out of this with apple sage cornbread. That soup ended up with such a rich color.

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

      Thanks FJ! The apple sage cornbread was an excellent accompaniment to this soup!

  16. cquek November 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    So yummy, my goodness..

  17. Rathai November 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I have wanted to make pumpkin soup for the longest time but have always chickened out at the store, thinking what to do with a whole or even half a pumpkin. But seeing this recipe, especially with the intriguing blend of spices and chile, I feel so tempted to give it a shot. I wont get any chances if I miss the pumpkin season now.

    • mj November 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      Thanks Rathi! I have to agree that sometimes there is just too much pumpkin. That’s why I try to buy the small ones. This one was only 4 pounds. I still had about 2 cups of pulp left so it’s in the freezer for another dish in the future.

  18. cookingrookie November 10, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    One more delicious soup! I love adding cumin to soups and stews, but I am not using coriander that much. It’s sitting all alone and abandoned on my spice rack. I will try this mixture next time. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend, MJ!

    • mj November 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks CR! You really need to pull out that coriander. It’s a wonderful spice and great complement to cumin! Hope you had a wonderful weekend.


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