Recipe: Caribbean Pumpkin & Coconut Cream Bisque

I know three things for sure: this Caribbean soup cannot wipe out old college debt, or go gift shopping for us… or even stop that dog from barking a few houses over (unless that particular dog likes soup?). That being said, I have personal proof that this soup can help you bring love into the kitchen and give your family just a little escape from the ordinary.As you whip it up, the house will fill with the scent of pumpkin, ginger and coconut cream – that’s when it’ll start. Your family will come wandering in to see what you’re doing. The neighbors will come knocking.  Soon the house will fill with spirited chatter and spoons clinking against bowls. This taste of the islands is the best thing after a week of pumpkin pie and turkey leftovers (but not to0 big of a leap – it’s still pumpkin season after all!).

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (as well as all over the Caribbean), they enjoy this soup, often with some really spicy scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, and garlic laced throughout (although I left mine mild). Traditionally, the soup would be made with a calabaza “pumpkin,” which has green skin and an orange interior. No matter what gourd you use, the soup still just takes 30 minutes or less.

“Put the pumpkin in the coconut and slurp them both up.” That’s how the song goes, right?

Serves 6


2 15 oz cans pureed pumpkin (about 3.5 cups)
1 quart chicken broth (or veggie for vegans)
1 can light coconut milk
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2-2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and added to pot
salt & pepper


Ok, friends… let’s pour a little liquid sunshine in our soup bowls.

It’s easier than smiling at a baby: just add all ingredients to a medium pot.

Simmer gently until the house smells like autumn madness. The kind that threatens to make your day the best ever.

The kind that makes visions of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines appear…

Aerial view of Tobago Cays, a Saint Vincent and the Grenadines National Marine Park. Photo by Iain Grant

When the ingredients have cooked for about 20 minutes, remove the bay leaves and give everything a buzz-whir with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.

Enjoy this savory soup on a cold’s winters day (and save the gift shopping for another time).

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  1. Ohh this is simple and straightforward to make – especially on a cold day like today, it’s -5 to -10 degrees celsuis at my place!

  2. Great soup, and BEAUTIFUL soup bowl! All photos are amazing, but the soup bowl takes first prize, very stylish!

  3. Jessica Bennett says:

    I have all this on hand and think I might make this today. Just curious- what is that you put for your garnish?

  4. My kids are not super picky, but definitely have opinions.
    We try to not make food a battle, but employ the ‘No thank you bite method’ a lot of the times. Sometimes, we just make them have the food on their plate a few times to get them used to it and then go with the one bite.
    I am lucky in that they do like veggies and fruits….so it’s not a question of “they will ONLY eat (macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, whatever).” It’s more getting them to try new things.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I find repeat exposure really helps and not offering alternatives. Ava’is finally coming around to Brussels Sprouts… one of my favorites when roasted!

  5. My sister’s very picky and it’s so frustrating. She’ll just look and turn her nose up. Argh. I wish I could find a way to make things interesting for her. She’s not much of a cook, and doesn’t always want to help making things.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      That’s too bad you can’t get her to jump in and help make things because that can really make a difference. My experience with Keith is different from Ava though. For adults, the peer pressure of a whole table full of their friends eating something different (perhaps even without utensils) can make it an interesting challenge.

  6. Well, I didn’t have pumpkin, but my husband brought home a CASE of sweet potatoes from the Costco produce section a few weeks ago. I baked and mashed ‘em, froze them in 2-cup portions in Zip-Loc freezer bags.
    This was DELICIOUS using those sweet potatoes – I increased the ginger a little and added a pinch of chili powder to offset the extra sweetness from the potatoes. OMG what a great dinner tonight. Sasha, thanks for the weekly inspiration. This one is going to show up in our regular rotation now.

  7. I appreciate, cause I discovered exactly what I used to be
    looking for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  8. This was incredible! Thank you so much for sharing a recipe from a country that means a lot to me.


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