October 2, 2014

Ask a Chef: Roasted Pumpkin Soup With Harissa & Cilantro Recipe

Recipe: Renée Lavallée

A warm soup from The Canteen in Dartmouth, N.S.

Q: I tried recreating the roasted pumpkin soup from The Canteen in Dartmouth, N.S. but it’s just not the same. If you can get the recipe for me, that would be great! – Kenny, Halifax.  

A: Renée Lavallée, chef and owner of The Canteen, in Dartmouth, N.S., recommends roasting the pumpkins whole to intensify their flavor. Adding lime juice at the end balances the sweetness.


  • 2 sugar pumpkins (2 to 3 lb. each)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, diced
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups whipping cream (35%)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes


Yield: Serves 8

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place whole pumpkins on roasting pan. Bake until soft, 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, remove skins and seeds, and discard, reserving flesh.
  3. Heat butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and apples. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add pumpkin flesh, harissa and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer. Cook, stirring, 30 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Transfer to clean pot over low heat. Stir in cream, cilantro, lime juice and zest. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve.