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Mayan-style Pumpkin & Chicken Soup

Mayan-style Pumpkin & Chicken Soup

Many people are used to eating fall pumpkin in sweet baked goods but it is also an economical and nutritious addition to soups and stews. Here pumpkin, allspice and sage are combined with chicken broth and cooked chicken to make a satisfying rich soup. The toasted pumpkin seed garnish adds an unusual earthy crunch.


  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) pumpkin, raw, cubed
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 cup (250 mL) onion(s), diced
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) allspice, ground
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) sage, fresh, sliced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) red hot chili pepper(s), minced
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL) black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
  • 3 cups (750 mL) chicken thighs, cooked, diced
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted


  1. Prepare the cubed pumpkin (or squash) by peeling and cutting into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a soup pot that has a lid. Add diced onion, ground allspice, thinly sliced sage leaves, minced chili peppers (optional) and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté a few minutes until onions are softened. Add cubed pumpkin and toss to coat with seasonings.

  3. Stir in chicken broth and honey. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir occasionally and simmer 15 minutes or until pumpkin is fork tender. Puree with an immersion blender.

  4. Stir in cooked chopped chicken and simmer 5 minutes to heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt, allspice or sage if needed.

  5. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a heated dry skillet for a few minutes. Shake pan to move seeds around so they don't burn. To serve ladle into bowls and garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

If you want a gluten-free version make sure you use a gluten-free chicken broth.

You may be tempted to substitute canned pumpkin puree for the fresh pumpkin in this soup. That will work but it is not as good. However, the recipe works well with any fresh dense orange vegetable such as butternut squash.

In early Mayan pumpkin soup recipes, the pumpkin would have been baked whole in hot ashes. Once peeled and chopped it would be thinned with broth from wildfowl or game.

Nutrition Info

  • Per 250 g serving Amount
  • Calories 200
  • Protein 18 g
  • Fat 9 g
  • Saturated Fat 2 g
  • Carbohydrate 14 g
  • Fibre 2 g
  • Sugar 4 g
  • Cholesterol 50 mg
  • Sodium 230 mg
  • Per 250 g serving % Daily Value
  • Potassium 17
  • Calcium 4
  • Iron 10
  • Vitamin A 30
  • Vitamin C 20
  • Vitamin B6 16
  • Vitamin B12 14
  • Folate 11
  • Magnesium 16
  • Zinc 25

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