Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

From Encyclopedia of Vegetarian Cuisine by Estérelle Payany (Flammarion, 2016). Photography © Nathalie Carnet.

The combination of pumpkin and sage works brilliantly in this warming soup. Make this pumpkin soup recipe as a starter, main or for lunch. The options are endless!


For the soup

  • 2 ¼ lb. (1 kg) pumpkin (before trimming), of the variety of your choice
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 ¼ cups (800 ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Grated zest of ½ unwaxed orange
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) whipping cream or non-dairy cream substitute, such as soy or oat
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the tempura

  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
  • 1 handful ice cubes
  • Scant ½ cup (100 ml) peanut oil, or other oil for frying
  • ½ cup (2 oz./60 g) all-purpose flour
  • 12 large sage leaves, washed and well dried


For the soup

1Peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds, and cut the flesh into 1-inch (3-cm) cubes. Peel and dice the onion. Crush the garlic clove and peel it.

2In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until lightly colored. Add the pumpkin cubes and sauté them. Pour in the vegetable broth and add the bay leaf, orange zest, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover with the lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

3Discard the bay leaf and, with a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer the pumpkin cubes to the blender. Add half of the cooking liquid and the cream and blend until smooth. Season with pepper and add salt if necessary. You can adjust the texture of the soup by adding more of the cooking liquid.

For the tempura

1Combine the water and ice cubes. Allow 10 minutes for the water to chill well and the ice cubes to be almost melted.

2Pour the oil into a pot or deep fryer, and heat.

3Meanwhile, pour the chilled water into a soup plate and sift the flour directly into it. Using chopsticks, quickly incorporate the flour into the water; the aim is not to form a smooth batter. Dip the sage leaves into the batter and, working in batches of six, drop them into the oil. Fry until golden (about 1 minute) and remove with a skimmer. Place them on a plate and cover with a sheet of paper towel. Use the skimmer to remove any bits of batter floating in the oil and repeat the procedure for the remaining sage leaves.

4Serve the soup, well heated, with the sage tempura.


Make sure that the sage leaves are completely dry before you dip them in the tempura batter: this prevents splashes of oil.

The tempura batter should be mixed as little as possible to retain its lightness and ensure it is crisp when fried. Combining the ingredients quickly with chopsticks ensures that the gluten in the flour does not develop its elasticity.


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