A Cook's Plot

Side Dishes & Canapes

Pumpkin, Spinach and Sesame Soup

I made this soup today, originally so that we would have something warm and vaguely healthy to have for lunch when my friend Elliott is here finishing off the redecorating of my office this coming week. But now some other friends are coming over for an impromptu supper this evening, so I’m going to use it as a starter then as well. I’ll be serving it in these little shot glasses, and not just so that it goes further and there’s enough for both occasions! It’s something I do quite often because soup can be quite filling at the start of a meal so it’s rather nice to have just a little taster of it before the main course arrives. As everyone will only be having a few mouthfuls of it tonight, I’ve left it quite thick, rich and velvety. When I serve it for lunch next week, I’ll add some more stock so it has more of a traditional soupy consistency.


Serves 6-10

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 500ml - 1 litre hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • Handful baby spinach leaves
  • Pinch of hot chilli powder
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 25g sesame seeds


Cut the squash in half lengthways, then in half again, then chop into chunks (no need to peel it first). Scoop out any seeds. Roast in a preheated oven at 180C (fan oven) for about 40 minutes until tender. Allow to cool slightly, then tip into a liquidiser or smoothie-maker with 300ml of the stock. Whizz until smooth. Put in a pan with the chilli powder and either 200ml stock (for a rich, velvety consistency) or 800ml for normal soupiness. Heat through until just bubbling then wilt in the spinach leaves. While the soup is heating, dry-fry the sesame seeds in a small pan until lightly browned. Add lime juice to taste, then serve the soup with the seeds sprinkled over.

Serves 10 as a mini starter, or makes 6 soup bowls.

A Cook's Plot Tip

Grilling a block of feta cheese until golden and bubbling, and then cutting it into cubes and adding it to the top of the soup in place of the sesame seeds is a super-delicious variation.

Also, a pinch of hot chilli powder adds just a very subtle layer of extra flavour but no real heat - you can add more (or use chilli flakes) if you'd like the soup to be really hot and spicy.

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