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Spicy Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

Here's a recipe for a quick and easy pantry soup
that just so happens to be gluten-free.

Cleaning out the pantry always makes hungry. Come to think of it, so does packing. And lugging laundry. But the truth is, this time of year- anything can make me hungry. I could blame it on shorter daylight. Or the jarring touch of the cold tile floor when I tumble out of bed barefoot and sleepy and weave through boxes of books and movies to locate my tea mug, gone missing since three PM yesterday when I set it down- goddess knows where- to help my husband wrap one of my forty-eight-inch abstracts.

All of it makes me hungry.

But here's my top ten.

Things That Make Me Hungry

  1. The relief of selling the house after 30 months of showings and price reductions and contracts falling through
  2. The excitement of starting over
  3. Letting go of the outgrown (again)
  4. Snapping a photo of my last full moon in the desert
  5. Finding childhood photographs of Colin and Alex on the beach
  6. Realizing we'll be gone before the second anniversary of the hip incident
  7. Finding a fourth floor studio to rent- six blocks from Santa Monica beach
  8. The sheer joy of shedding stuff
  9. Buying tickets to The Canyon showing at Grauman's Chinese Theater
  10. Thinking about tomorrow rather than yesterday

Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe with Coconut Milk

Originally published January 2007.

I whipped up this quick and easy chowder to fortify our California-dreamin' souls. The recipe is a simple improv, straight from the pantry. The coconut milk makes it dairy-free.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon gluten-free red curry paste
1 14 or 15-oz can pumpkin
1 14-oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 heaping cup roasted corn kernels
1/2 cup GF salsa (I use a jalapeno-cilantro salsa)
1 cup light broth
1 14-oz. can coconut milk, as needed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Chopped cilantro, to taste- dried or fresh
1 teaspoon raw organic agave nectar
Juice from 1 fresh lime


Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-low heat and add the garlic, cumin and curry paste; stir for one minute. Add the pumpkin, fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles, roasted corn, and salsa. Stir to combine.

Add the broth. Heat through to a simmer, and begin adding the coconut milk; start with one cup. If you like it creamy, add more. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, cilantro and sherry. Heat through gently and bring to a slow simmer.

Taste test and add the fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor. Stir. Add more spice if you need more heat; add more agave and/or coconut milk if you need less heat.

Serve with organic blue corn tortilla chips.

Makes four servings.

Recipe Source:

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Karina's Notes:

Add a can of rinsed and drained black beans for more protein.

More pumpkin soup recipes from food bloggers:

Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup from 101 Cookbooks
Spicy Pumpkin Soup from Simply Recipes
Easy Pumpkin Soup from Celiac Chicks


  1. omg that looks divine.

    I can't wait to try it!

  2. Why did I think it was always warm in Santa Fe? Boy, was I wrong!

    This looks delicious!


    P.S. I ordered some cool shirts from your Cafe Press store and can't wait to get them! I'll take a picture of me in my new Gluten Free Chica shirt and send it to you.

  3. This looks good. I have been thinking about doing something with pumpkin and voila!

  4. Karina - it looks divine! You'll never stop wowing me with your Santa Fe-style dishes!

  5. Tiff22:15

    I found your blog through my friends blog. she has Ceclic disease and we are pretty sure my daughter has it. My daughter is only 20 months and a picky eater and I have having the worst time with lunches and dinner. I have been cooking rice mixes with veggies thrown in and she does not like to eat them. I need to find easy to make foods that re-heat easily. After we pick her up from daycare she is ready for dinner and since she is only 20 months it better come fast!! I am looking foward to your receipes and will be trying them out on her.

  6. Karina, this was really fabulous! I made it last night and my 14 y.o. DS said, "You can make this again."

    I went with the coconut milk option and used a cup of black beans and a bag of Quorn tenders instead of a sausage-type thing.

    I love it when you come up with things that I can just drag out of my pantry!

  7. this looks so hearty and delicious -- perfect for the current weather! And the photo is phenomenal! I love the little depth of field and the lighting is just right. bravo.

    thanks so much for dropping by my blog! :) be back soon!

  8. Anonymous15:41

    Love the idea of thickening the chowder with pureed pumpkin. Mmmm, more soup and stew ideas pls.

    Thanks for all of the delicious ideas, and love the bangs

  9. Anonymous10:01

    This recipe is totally amazing!!! I made it last night with coconut milk and black beans and about a tablespoon of cumin. Probably more than that, actually. I'm a cumin-abuser. But I LOVED IT! IT came out perfectly and took no time to prepare. DELISH! Thank you so much for posting this great recipe!

  10. I made this soup this weekend and am still eating leftovers for lunch. It was amazing, and very easy to make. Thanks!!!

  11. I made this soup last weekend for a group of my law student classmates. We are all trying to cook more and eat better. It was the perfect meal!!

  12. Renee21:17

    Finally got around to making this. I even baked my own fresh pumpkin for it. It was awesome! Yum!! I also made your pumpkin corn muffins to go with it, also yum!!

  13. This chowder is so good. I just discovered your blog today and love it. Even though it is not at all chilly here in Los Angeles today, I thought a chowder sounded good and I had all the ingredients. I added beans to mine and used only a cup of the coconut milk since I wanted it spicy. This is going in the recipe rotation!!!

  14. Hi,

    This recipe caught my attention when I was searching for a new soup. As I was reading the recipe something screamed out chorizo at me. So, I made it with chorizo (Hemplers brand, it's local) and left out the salsa. Really good. I took it to a pumpkin potluck and amazed a dairy-free friend. He was so excited that he could eat chowder. I am now a huge fan of coconut milk, which I hadn't thought to use until this recipe. Now I use it in all sorts of things. Thanks.

  15. Wow whipped this up for lunch and of course as always it was fabulous however I did omit (forget) the salsa and it was still great, tasted it before the lime juice and can't believe how much it brightens the flavour. Thnx again for all your inspiration.

  16. That looks so delicious (as do all of your recipes and their photos). Wonder if I'll turn orange from eating pumpkin and squash every day? ;-)

    Thank you for sharing such lovely recipes.

  17. Congratulations!!!! I live three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and it's a wonderful thing being THAT close to something so vital. It certainly helps after my long commute back and forth to work in NYC (120 miles round-trip). I love the dichotomy of where I work and where I live, it's exhausting and refreshing at the same time.

    Fall is here on the East Coast and I can't wait to make this soup. Maybe tonight for dinner? I'll have to see how I feel when I get home.

  18. Congratulations on the sale and move Karina!

    Thanks for this completely awesome recipe too; have been wanting a savory pumpkin soup.

  19. Couldn't be more excited for you!

  20. This looks good; we had the dessert version of your yumny looking soup last night --pumpkin pie thickened with coconut milk :-)

    Congrats on the house!


  21. Yum! This is going on next week's menu! :)

  22. This looks wonderful! I've had a lot of extremely busy nights lately, and this sounds perfect for that kind of occasion.

    I'm already excited to hear about your new adventures!! Good luck with the move!

  23. mazal tov on finding a new home and the rest of your list! I love the cleaning and simplifying/reducing of junk that comes with moving and am trying to pare down my junk this season myself.

  24. Woohoo for you! It's finally happened--congratulations! To new beginnings ... now you can remember the good things about New Mexico the way we tend to do when we are able to move on.

    Love the soup! Well, I love pumpkin anything. I'm sure the coconut milk tempers any spiciness nicely. :-)

    So happy for you!

  25. My oh my does that hearty chowder look tantalizing. Yum!

  26. The move is almost here! Or there, rather! :)

    I hope you have a quick and safe trip to your new state of residence and your new state of mind Karina (and S.).

    Meanwhile - you can have coconut now?


  27. Wow, you and I must be thinking alike. I just made a pumpkin soup with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk last night for dinner. Haven't posted it yet, but I will...but yours is decidedly different than mine! I love the addition of tomatoes, cilantro, and lime, which makes it almost a Southwest-meets-Far-East kinda soup. Yum.

  28. Yum... I'm making this tomorrow! I'm in "pumpkin mode". Last night I made GF pumpkin biscuits, and last weekend I made some wonderful GF Frosted Pumpkin Doughnuts. I have been looking for an easy pumpkin soup recipe... thanks Karina!


  29. Jillian08:47

    Hi Karina!
    Recipe looks amazing. Question - I just discovered I have several food allergies - yeast, a couple types of beans, tomatoes, cow's milk, almonds, handful of others. I'm working through alternatives but wanted to see if there is anything I should add in lieu of tomatoes? Or can I omit from recipe without any problems? Thanks! :)

  30. Anonymous09:19

    I made this soup last night following it 100%. I was so excited and even made a double batch. I guess I was expecting a pumpkin coconut flavor but instead all I could taste was the salsa and the vinegar-ish taste that came from it. I love salsa but this was not a flavor match.

  31. Thanks, everyone, for your kind wishes on the move. xox

    Anon- As far as taste- no, this is not a creamy pumpkin-coconut soup, per se; it's a Sante Fe style spicy soup. The salsa I used was not vinegar-y at all.

    Did you taste test before serving? I always recommend that. That way you can balance the flavors. Lime, or perhaps more coconut milk, with a pinch of brown sugar may bring it to where you like it.


  32. Jillian, In lieu of tomatoes I often suggest first leaving them out of a recipe. You can often do simply that. If you need more liquid, as a result of leaving them out, try adding a little broth.

    To replace tomatoes, you can use pureed pumpkin, or mashed carrots. Sometimes eggplant (chopped). It depends upon the recipe. Let me know if there is a particular recipe you need help with.


  33. Amy P11:43

    Karina, I'm so happy for you! I'm glad you have this chapter closing and a new one before you. This is the first time I have been able to comment on your blog. You have been a blessing during this past year while sorting through all the diet changes for me and my daughter... food allergies stink. But, I'm grateful for all of your wonderful, delicious recipes. Thanks again and good luck on your new adventure!

  34. This may be a dumb question, but your recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree, right? Do they even sell pumpkin chunks in cans?

    In any case, it looks great. And I really like your banner too.

  35. Aw, thanks, Amy!

    Misty, Yes, canned pumpkin is a puree. Don't use the canned pumpkin pie filling, though, as that is sweet.


  36. Hi Karina,

    I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and while I do not follow a gluten free diet, I love,love, love your healthful recipes and cozy stories. They are the types of meals that a person can revisit often, unlike recipes that look beautiful in a cookbook, but are unfathomable to make after work on a Wednesday night. Thank you for your recipes!


  37. What a lovely blend of flavors in this recipe! It sounds as though you have a lot to look forward to. Good luck with your move.

  38. Congrats on selling your home. Your soup looks delicious and comforting.


  39. CeCe18:36

    Hello Karina, I just found your website and it is so inspiring...thank you. My daughter (age 5) was just advised to be on a strict and permanent GF diet. And just this month we found out her younger brother has severe allergies to dairy, eggs, and tree nuts. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed (and depressed) as the pile for the food bank grew bigger and bigger. And then I found your website and realized it can/will be a grand kitchen adventure! I look forward to trying your recipes. Your enthusiasm and passion for this comes out in your words and pictures. Thank you for sharing. I will visit often. (In the meantime, I need to get cookin' - the babes are HUNGRY).

  40. This was AWESOME!! I took out the curry paste, salsa and used plain Fire-roasted tomatoes (no jalapeños) for the kidlets who won't eat spicy food, and threw in the leftover pumpkin smoked cheddar cheese grits, and it was AWESOME. Thanks for the idea and recipe!!!

  41. Hi, Karina! I just found your site. Every dish looks delicious and the photos are sensational! I would like to put a link to your site on my blog if you don't mind. Thank you very much for sharing.
    Sabrina from Italy

  42. it's cooler and cooler every day in nyc, or at least the evenings, so i'm thinking pumpkin a lot--this dish is inspiring!

  43. I'm glad someone mentioned that the lime juice makes a big difference, because I was worried when I first tasted this... then I went back to the store to pick up the limes I had forgotten, and HOLY COW! Good stuff!!

  44. Karina, this looks splendid. It's cold in Oklahoma today, and now, I know what we're having for dinner. Congrats on selling your Santa Fe home and moving back to your original home.~~Dee

  45. I fixed this for lunch today. It was DELICIOUS! I loved the hint of spiciness while the coconut milk added the creaminess. I added a little more corn because I didn't realize it was supposed to be 1 cup (and not the whole can) and I also added black beans like you suggested! I've got enough soup for weeks so I hope this freezes well. :)

  46. Anonymous00:29

    Wow! Delicious! This is the first soup I have ever made and I'm so pleased :) As a recent graduate and newly discovered gluten-free person I'll probably make a big batch to live on for a couple weeks.