Roasted pumpkin, saffron and orange soup – Ottolenghi


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: Serves 4 - 6

We can’t say good bye to the autumn without making a pumpkin soup. Especially that the Winter is coming closer and the days are getting cooler and cooler, which means we all need a big bowl of a warm and delicious soup. For that reason I’ve decided to make this amazing Ottolenghi « pumpkin, saffron and orange soup ». A recipe from his wonderful book “Simple”.

This soup is silky, smooth and full of flavours. Roasting the pumpkin makes all the difference, it intensifies its flavour and sweetness, which balanced perfectly with the saffron, the orange and the rose harissa.

What is rose harissa ?

Harissa is a spicy chile pepper paste used in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. The word harissa comes from the Arabic harassa, which means “to break into pieces or pound” and refers to the way the paste is made—by grinding chiles together with olive oil, garlic, salt, and spices like coriander, caraway and cumin. Harissa is a staple condiment in Tunisia and Morocco, where it is often homemade.

The difference between harissa and rose harissa is simply the addition of the rose petals and some rose water, it brings a special sweetness to the paste and soften the kick of chilli. The rose harissa gives dishes that extra dimension of flavours.

You need to know that the range in kick between one harissa and the next, or one rose harissa and the next can be absolutely huge. So you’ll need to taste what you have and gauge how much to use. A lot of supermarket-own brands aren’t that punchy, so you’ll probably need to use 50% more than the recipe says, unlike the harissa that you buy from a North African shop, you’ll need to use 50% less that the recipe says because they are very spicy. But with heat is always a matter of taste and tolerance, so have a play around and see what works for you. 

You can find the rose harissa at any Middle Eastern shop, or on line I got mine from « Waitrose ». You can also make it if you want, here is Ottolenghi rose harissa recipe from his masterclass.

How to make this pumpkin, saffron and orange soup ?

This soup is a must try, it’s delicious and easy to make. The soup calls for roasted pumpkin for maximum flavours. So peel and cut your pumpkin into chunks, put them in a parchment – lined tray, add the onions drizzle with olive oil, salt and a good grind of black pepper and toss to combine. Direction the oven for 25 minutes at 220C Fan, until the pumpkin is soft and caramelised.

Meanwhile make the stock. In a large pan put the vegetable stock with the rose harissa, orange zest, saffron, salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil add the roasted vegetables, and let cook for 5 minutes. Then add the crème  fraîche and blitz until you get a very smooth texture. And voilà, the dinner is ready. Serve it with crunchy spicy seeds which add so much flavours and texture to the soup.

So as you can see the soup is made in no time. You could also make it in advance, it keeps in the fridge for 3 days, or can be frozen for up to 1 month. Perfect for the batch cooking. It’s the best way to warm up in winter after a long day at work. 

You can also check this «  butternut squash and saffron soup with caramelised pistachios and herb salsa ». If you’re looking for more cozy soups recipes check below.

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Roasted pumpkin, saffron and orange soup - Ottolenghi

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour
  • Serves: Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients :

For the soup :

  • 1,2 Kg Pumpkin or butternut squash , peeled ans seeds removed, flesh cut into 3cm cubes to get 1kg
  • 2 onions, peeled sliced into 2-3cm wedges to get 350g
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 L vegetables stock
  • 2 Tbsp rose harissa , ( 50% more or less depending on variety)
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 orange, finely grated to get 1 tsp of zest
  • 180 g crème fraîche
  • Coriander leaves, to serve
  • salt & black pepper

Toasted pumpkin seeds

  • 80 g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Method :

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 170C Fan.

    mix everything for the pumpkin seeds in a small bowl, along with 1/4 tsp of salt. Spread onto a small parchment – lined tray.



    Roast for 15 minutes, until the seeds have popped and are starting to brown.



    Set aside to cool and the break up any clumps into bite – sized pieces. After roasting my pumpkin seeds I noticed that maple was spread a little bit , because instead of 2 tsp of maple I put 2 Tbsp.


  • 2)

    Increase the oven to 220C Fan.

    While the seeds are roasting, prepare your vegetables. Then add the oil, onions ( be sure to cut a wedges of 2-3 cm, don’t do like me ) and pumpkin to a large bowl with 3/4 tsp salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well and transfer to a large parchment – lined baking tray.



    Roast for 25 minutes, until everything is soft and caramelised. Remove from the oven and set aside.



  • 3)

    While the vegetables are baking, make the stock.

    put the vegetable stock into a large pot with the rose harissa, saffron, orange zest, 1/2 tsp of salt and a good grind of black pepper.



    Bring to the boil on a high heat and, once boiled, carefully tip in the roasted pumpkin and onions, along with any oil from the tray. Stir through, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the crème  fraîche, then using a hand – held blender ( or transfer to a free – standing blender ), blitz until completely smooth.


  • 4)

    Serve each portion with a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds, coriander and a small quenelle of crème fraîche if you like.

    Enjoy !!



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