White Spot Pumpkin Soup and Rock Stars – A Soup Review

Pumkin Soup White Spot

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Pumpkin Soup at White Spot

This afternoon, I was shopping for some running shoes in Burnaby and I decided to go to White Spot for lunch on Market Crossing (just off of Marine Drive).

I asked my server (a very friendly gal named Anita) what was the special soup and she said that it was Pumpkin Soup. At first, I was going to pass on it and go for the Chowder that is offered on the menu, but my server was so passionate and said that the pumpkin soup was very VERY good. She left and came back right away with a taster for me. Wow, that was great service – I never even asked for it! Loved that special attention and ability to try before making a commitment.

And yes, she was right, the Pumpkin Soup was yummy. Don’t get me wrong, but I am a huge fan of pumpkin soup, but by December I’m usually very tired of it because I have made many batches in the fall.

But this one was different…

What’s the verdict of White Spots Pumpkin Soup? It was way better than the average pumpkin pureed soup. It was like creamy velvet and it had some nice texture with finely grated vegetables. I think it was carrots, zucchini and possibly squash that was grated in the soup after it was pureed. Also the soup had a good balance of acidity. I think I am going to try to recreate this soup at home.

White Spot Rock Stars:
I gave Anita (my server) feedback that I really liked the soup and mentioned that I was curious to know what the ingredients were. She totally went out of her way to ask her Kitchen Manager. And shortly after, Calvin Canlas came to the table to talk to me about the soup – he was a true evangelist for White Spots menu. His eyes really lighted up when we talked about soups and he shared his recent liking of fried leeks as a garnish on top of soups – I concurred, as it is something I want to try in one of my soups as well. He also promised to email me the exact ingredients and also printed off a similar pumpkin soup recipe that he recommended himself (I may have to try in future as well). Both, Anita and Calvin are Rock Stars – White Spot should be so proud to have employees like them. Thumbs up to White Spot on Market Crossing!

Main soup kitchen at White Spot:
Since White Spot is a chain restaurant (40+ restaurants in lower mainland), they make the soups in their main kitchen to keep quality control and most likely cost control. I guessed that they would have some additional ingredients to help to emulsify and/or stabilize the soup versus what you use if you were to make at home. I think that is fair enough – and I don’t care because it does taste really good.

The only thing I would recommend to White Spot is to add some kind of garnish on the top the soup (be it fresh herbs or a sprig, something crunchy or even some finely grated raw carrot).

Bye bye pumpkin and hello roasted tomato: Calvin told me that White Spot should be serving up their popular Old Fashion Roasted Tomato Soup in near future to replace it’s Pumpkin soup. Something that I will have to come back and try for sure.

White Spots Pumpkin Soup ingredients: Calvin promptly emailed me the ingredients later in the afternoon and here they are:

Water, pumpkin puree, heavy cream, carrots, onions, half and half (milk and cream), enriched flour, (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron thiamine mononitrate, roboflavin, folic acid, ascorbic acid, enzyme) butter(cream milk), natural flavour, yellow squash, zucchini, celery, tomato sauce, (tomato puree, salt, citric acid), onion powder, chicken meat and chicken juices, modified cornstarch, yeast extract. ginger puree, chives, soy and corn protein, spices, sugar, red pepper sauce, potato flavourings, potato flour, black and white pepper, carrot powder, turmeric.  Milk, soybeans and wheat.

If I was to try to recreate this soup at home: I think I am going to try to recreate this at home. I especially liked it with the finely grated vegetables. I would probably do the following:

  •  use alternate soup thickeners such as soy flour or Xanthum Gum instead of the wheat flour so that it is gluten-free soup. Who knows though, I may not even use a thickener or just use more potato.
  •  omit onion and carrot powder and just rely on the fresh onion and carrots.
  • use low sodium vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
  • add some lemon juice and lemon rind at the end of the cooking process.
  • as for the process (roughly). I would first saute the onions, chopped pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, potato and squash, add the stock, spices, herbs, simmer for 20 minutes, puree the soup, add in the creams/thickeners with some finely shredded carrots and zucchini, simmer for 5 minutes to soften the shredded vegetables a tad, add lemon juice and rind.
  • definitely serve the soup with some fresh herbs or some sort of garnish on top. I think this is the only thing White Spot should add to their Pumpkin soups just before serving!
  • experiment with some fresh herbs like parsley, oregano – I think the soup had an additional green herb, but It may have been the chives…I may be wrong though.

Oh BTW – I had White Spots Oven Baked Vegetable Sandwich with my soup and it complimented it very well.

Soup Mistress Rating for White Spots Pumpkin Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.5/5)
Presentation: (4/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5) 

Have you discovered any yummy soups at White Spot? Feel free to share below in comments.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup Perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner Starter

Pumpkin Coconut Soup

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The completed pumpkin coconut soup top view.

Living Wihout MagazineThe other day I picked up a great magazine called Living Without at Choices Market. The magazine is for those with food allergies and sensitivities – it has easy gluten free and dairy free recipes.

In October’s issue, the pumpkin coconut soup recipe grabbed my attention – it sounded pretty yummy and was perfect timing since I just picked up a nice sized pumpkin! It looked like an unique recipe that I never tried – sort of a Thai version and not the hum drum allspice / cinnamon flavors.

I am giving this soup a two thumbs up. It is a perfect soup for a Thanksgiving starter and it yeilds about 10-12 servings!

The recipe below is not a makeover per se, but I omitted the butter and tweaked some measurements (was a little bland so I increased coconut milk, garlic, ginger, lemon grass and red curry paste) as well as refined the instructions a tad.

This soup is:

  • vegetarian
  • vegan
  • gluten-free

Pumpkin Coconut Soup Ingredients:
(Note: this recipe serves 10-12. It is definitely a larger recipe and perfect if you are having a group over for Thanksgiving! Or alternatively, you can freeze the soup in freezer Ziplocs, like I have done.)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds pumpkin, cubed (I used about 26 cups)
  • 1 pound sweet potato, cubed (I used about 5 cups)
  • 1 sweet onion coarsely chopped (I used about 2 cups)
  • 1 leek, cleaned and coarsely chopped (I used about 2 cups)
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
  • lime juice (I used about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 4 (4 inch) pieces fresh lemon grass, smashed with the back of knife, more for garnish
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cans coconut milk

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat over to 350 F (approx 176 C)
  2. Heat olive oil in roasting pan in oven for a few minutes. Add pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions, leek and garlic in the pan and toss, coating everything with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Cook in preheated oven until the vegetables are soft (around 45 minutes), stirring 2-3 times during that time.
  3. Add cooked vegetables, their cooking juices, ginger, lime juice, red curry paste, lemon grass, vegetable broth and coconut milk into a large pot on stove top. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove lemon grass. Puree soup and strain.
  5. Return soup to pot, and gently heat through. If soup is too thick, use more vegetable broth or add water.
  6. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls.Garnish with very thin strips of lemon grass and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Soup Mistress Rating for Pumpkin Coconut Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5) 
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (4.5/5)