Spicy pumpkin soup with golden tempeh crumble

RECIPE: Spicy pumpkin soup with golden tempeh crumble

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What is better than a warming bowl of pumpkin soup? A warming bowl of pumpkin soup topped with delicious, spice-spiked tempeh crumble.

Soup is an easy meal but many recipes can miss the mark on balance with some being heavy on vegetables but light on protein or other’s being filled with heavy creams and cheeses to thicken and add flavour. 

This spicy pumpkin soup recipe was created to ensure all important aspects of a soup - nutrition, texture and flavour - are checked off using healthy, wholesome, nutrient packed ingredients only. 

The ratio of pumpkin and carrot to liquid as well as the red lentils make this soup thick and creamy without any of the cream. Spices, leek and garlic add a complexity of savoury flavour to counteract that sweetness from the vegetables. The red lentils also give the soup an added kick of protein to ensure it is satisfying and satiating when you eat it. 

The holy nutritional grail of this soup though is the crumble you top it with. The crunchy tempeh crumble is a protein powerhouse delivering 19g of protein per serve in addition to the lentils in the soup. Not only that, but a serve contains 15% of your daily iron requirements and 20% of your daily magnesium needs. 

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans which are bound together through the culturing process. It is a great substitute for meat and protein for those trying or following a plant-based diet as it is one of the best sources of vegetarian protein out there. 

You can use the tempeh crumble across a number of different recipes including salad bowls, rice dishes and even tacos. You can mix up the spice combinations too depending on what you’re eating.

Vegetarian, vegan option, gluten-free

Serves 4


Pumpkin soup

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tsp of your favourite curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3cm chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1.5kg butternut or Kent pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 3cm chunks
  • 1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 500ml water

Tempeh crumble

  • 400g plain tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • A sprinkle of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced


  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Fresh feta, optional

How to make

  • Start by preparing your soup. Place a large pot (with a lid) on the stove on a medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, turn the heat down to low-medium and add the leek and garlic, stirring frequently until the leek is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red chilli, ground cinnamon, curry powder, cumin and ginger, stirring for another 2 minutes or until the spices are fragrant then add the carrots, pumpkin and red lentils and stir once more so the vegetables are coated in spices and the leek mixture. Add the stock and water, bring the pot to the boil and then place the lid on, reduce to a simmer and leave for 20 minutes while the lentils cook
  • Meanwhile, prepare your tempeh crumble by heating a frypan over a medium heat and adding the tempeh, olive oil and all of the spices to it. Cook the tempeh for 5-7 minutes, or until it’s golden brown, stirring frequently (you can add a touch more oil as needed). Once golden, add the tamari and garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Taste and season as required before removing the tempeh crumble from the heat to be used when your soup is ready
  • Once the lentils are cooked and the pumpkin is soft, transfer the pot contents to your blender or use a stick blender to blend the contents into a smooth pumpkin soup (you will need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender). Once smooth, season your soup to taste with salt and pepper
  • Dish up by dividing the soup between four deep bowls, sprinkle each bowl with tempeh crumble as well as fresh coriander leaves, pumpkin seeds and feta, if using and enjoy

How to make

  • Store soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months
  • Store tempeh crumble in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days