A spicy, warming pumpkin soup with the added healthy benefits of leeks and ginger, made in only 35 minutes. Serve with fried sage leaves for a festive touch and mini curry macarons from my first book just adds that bit of delicious fun!

pumpkin leek soup with macaron and festive decoration

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Leeks?

It gets pretty cold mid-Autumn around Paris and so when I heard a French doctor on TF1 radio tell us how best to stay healthy and keep colds at bay, it was music to my cold little ears.

Moreover, his tip was also useful for those of us who perhaps over-indulge in rich, festive foods. His suggestion? Eat plenty of leeks. Apparently they help to clean out the gut. Trust the French to sound so poetic.

So, as soon as it gets cold, I load up on fresh leeks (poireaux) at the market.

chopped pumpkin and leeks sweating in a pan

Pumpkin is Healthy

So, are you ready for a tasty clean-out? Then this is the ideal soup to precede and follow the holiday’s festive meals. The hardest part of making this soup is cutting up the pumpkin, but it’s worth the effort. Pumpkin is so healthy, as full of iron, zinc, fibre and carotene (see more on the market pumpkin page). Carotene is what we all need at this time of year to bring the glow back to our cheeks.

Pumpkin – Roast it or Not?

I normally use regular pumpkin (bought in slices) from the market for this soup. However, it’s also great with red kuri squash, known as potimarron (Japanese chestnut pumpkin) in France. I love it so much, I even made delicious spiced potimarron macarons with it!

The beauty of using Japanese pumpkin is that the skin is edible.  If using, however, I’d recommend roasting the whole pumpkin in the oven for 20 minutes first, to make it easier to cut into chunks.

leeks pumpkin and ginger

Adding Ginger Helps Digestion

The added ginger gives a great spicy kick-start to bringing us back on top form, as it’s great for digestion, keeping colds at bay and virility. Oh-là là !  

Incidentally, I love adding ginger to chocolate macarons (recipes in my books), chocolate fondant cake, rhubarb compote, to these passion fruit panna cottas and to this moist passion fruit and chocolate cake.

leek pumpkin soup with mini macarons

Pumpkin Soup Garnish

If you’re not following a vegetarian or vegan diet, to garnish you could swirl in some naughty cream and sprinkle on smoked crispy bacon.

To keep this a vegan recipe, however, for a festive look add some herbs (parsley, coriander or sage leaves) to look like holly and add a couple of fresh cranberries or pink peppercorns. Although ATTENTION! Pink Peppercorns should be strictly avoided if you suffer from nut allergies. Read more about why pink peppercorns should be avoided if you’re allergic to nuts from my friend, Christina Conte.

3 different sized white French lion bowls of soup with one of macarons

Take Pumpkin Soup to the Next Level: Garnish with Macarons

What? Macarons with soup? Intrigued faces are guaranteed at the table! I love taking guests by surprise with savoury macarons as a mini pre-starter or Amuse-bouche. Serve with a couple of mini curry tikka mac’sala macarons (See page 100 of my book, Mad About Macarons) The flavours together are a delicious adventure.

Pumpkin Soup with Chestnuts

For a naturally creamy touch without adding any cream, toss in a few pre-cooked chestnuts in with the stock and the result is extra thick with a wonderful taste of Autumn.

bowl of pumpkin soup being held with gloves in the autumn leaves

pumpkin leek soup with macaron and festive decoration
5 from 2 votes

Pumpkin Ginger Soup with Leeks

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course : Appetizer, Soup, Starter, Light Lunch
Cuisine : French
Keyword : spicy pumpkin soup, healthy pumpkin leek soup
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 155kcal


A spicy, warming pumpkin soup with the added health benefits of leeks and ginger, made in only 35 minutes. Serve with fried sage leaves for a festive touch 


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium leeks sliced
  • 900 g (2lb) pumpkin peeled & chopped*
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
  • 850 ml (1.5 pints) vegetable stock
  • good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot then soften the leeks and pumpkin together. Sweat gently for about 5 minutes then add the ginger. Sweat a couple of minutes more.
  • Add the stock (just enough to cover the vegetables), cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
  • Blend with a hand mixer, add the nutmeg and season with fleur de sel salt and a few grinds of the peppermill to taste.


* if using Japanese chestnut pumpkin or red kuri squash (potimarron), roast whole in the oven for about 20 minutes to make it easier to cut into chunks. No need to discard the skin as this variety of squash is edible.
To Serve: top with some fresh herbs (parsley, coriander or sage leaves). For a festive touch, add a couple of fresh cranberries or pink peppercorns (N.B. pink peppercorns are to be avoided if you have a nut allergy).
Also delicious with mini curry macarons (recipe in my book, Mad About Macarons).

This post was originally published 4 January 2012 but has been completely re-written with new images and a printable recipe card.

From the market

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Comments (49)

Can i substitute ginger liqueur for real ginger? I’ve been cooking with Domaine de Canton and its been a really solid spirit for the dishes I’ve tried it in.

That sounds wicked, Sara! Why not? Makes the soup even more adult with a wee kick to it! For ginger liqueur, I also use Crabbies Green Ginger wine which can also pack a punch. You’ve just given me an idea for a sauce tonight for some Scottish Salmon! Enjoy.

Thank you for sharing. I have been searching for natural ways of cleansing with food. Glad I stumbled onto your recipe, I am off to buy some leeks! 🙂

Wow this looks amazing Jill!! Love your photos, as always, and your recipe sounds so delicious 🙂 Perfect for the winter months!

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