Curried Carrot Pumpkin Bisque


Here’s a question for you – what makes something a bisque as opposed to a soup? I don’t know the answer, I am just throwing it out there for discussion. Is it the cream you add at the end? Is it just a fancy name that makes it sound better than plain old soup? It’s like one of those old logic games – how can all bisques be soups but not all soups are bisques? Regardless, last week was definitely a soup (bisque) week in our house. We had some wet, dreary weather which required soup (bisque), followed by some sunny frigid weather which, of course, required soup (bisque). I believe that at one point, we had three different kinds of soup (two non-bisque and one bisque) on the go. They were all good, but this is the only one I managed to get pictures of, so it’s the one I am sharing with you now.

This is something of a hybrid recipe, a combination of two old favourites. I had an open can of pumpkin puree in the fridge from another recipe and was wondering how to use it before it went bad. Of course I thought of sweets and baked goods, but seeing as it was soup weather, it put me in mind of something I used to eat regularly when I was a working girl. I was usually good about bringing my lunch from home to save money, but on occasion, I would treat myself to a meal from the local Au Bon Pain. Their Harvest Pumpkin soup was one of my favourites and I would eat that and a bread stick and be well satisfied. I recreated the soup a few times at home but hadn’t made it in years. But as I didn’t even have full can of pumpkin to work with, it would only make a paltry bit of soup, hardly worth the effort. I needed some way to extend it into a full family meal.

In my collection of recipes, there is one from my mother called “Currie Carrot Bisque”. That isn’t a typo, by the way, it’s actually a tongue-in-cheek reference to my maiden name. I come from such clever stock, don’t I? Yes, my maiden name, although spelled slightly differently, is the same as that wonderful blend of flavours from India. Go ahead and make the requisite spice joke, I’ve heard it all before. Anyway, thinking about the pumpkin soup put me in mind of the carrot soup, and I instantly saw how beautifully these would go together. The spices are very similar, and I just so happened to have a big bag of carrots in the fridge.

The Results: Whatever you choose to call this, soup or bisque, it’s very good and a great way to cheer up dreary weather. The pumpkin doesn’t really stand out, but it does add a nice extra thickness to the bisque. The curry adds some heat, as does the dash of cayenned I threw in at the end, and the ginger is a great complement to the vegetables. We had this alongside some sausages, and it made for a very satisfying dinner. And all the veggies we needed were contained in one bowl. That’s a whole wackload of beta-carotene for you, in case you needed to see in the dark.

Neither carrots nor pumpkin are really very low carb, so this isn’t my lowest carb soup.  But it’s not awfully high carb either, so if you eat in moderation, I think it’s a great fit into any diet. And the flavours are so wonderful, it’s very satisfying and warms you down to your toes.

Curried Carrot Pumpkin Bisque

2 tbsp butter
1 lb carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne
6 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz can pumpkin puree (I used a little less than a full can, but the full can would be fine)
1/3 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy stockpot, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Add in carrots, onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger and cayenne. Saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in pumpkin. Transfer in batches to a blender or use an immersion blender to process until smooth. Return to heat and add cream and salt and pepper. Garnish with grated carrot.

Serves 8-10.  For 8 servings, each serving has 11.7 g of carbs and 3.7 g of fiber.  Total NET CARBS = 8 g.

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  1. Katrina says

    Oh how I would love to be sitting at your dinner table this week! I love soup! It's funny that you said this is the only one you got a picture of. That's what happens in my house…I actually DO make healthy food for my family but I can barely get it to the table in time before it's being eaten! Forget photographs! Ha ha! ♥- Katrina

  2. Sarah says

    I love the combination of carrots and ginger. I'll definitely have to try this soup. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says

    This soup sounds amazing! I love the taste of fresh ginger & carrot together in soups :).

  4. Jennifurla says

    Oh yum! To me a bisque is a high quantity veggie that is pureed, slightly thick – creamy texture.

    A soup is more a thin liquid with whole or chopped pieces of things.

    Yours just screams flavor!

  5. Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } says

    This soup looks amazing!! From my understanding the traditional bisque is a creamy, seasoned soup of French origin and classically made from a broth of crustaceans. However, it can be made from veggies too, so you are completely correct. This is a must try! Nice job!!!

  6. A little bit of everything says

    i have some pumpkin soup in my slow cooker but yours looks so good, wish i've seen it earlier. i love pumpkin and squash soups.
    thanks for sharing Carolyn

    p.s. have no idea what's the difference between soup and bisque.

  7. Fresh and Foodie says

    That soup vs. bisque thing is a good question. I think it's the cream? Maybe?

    Either way, this looks delicious. I have a can of pumpkin in my pantry that's just sitting there — I should totally use it to make this. Plus I love, love, love curry, so great idea to add that to your bisque. (Soup? Hehe.)

  8. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom says

    It's a beautiful bowl of color and savory-ness. What a great maiden name you have and funny realtives. Not sure when we'll be done with soup weather either so your recipes are very welcome.

  9. sara @ CaffeIna says

    Thank you Lisa for giving us the definition of bisque. I sure did not know it. But whether this is a bisque, a soup or a cream I just love carrot and pumpkin together. And it's raining again here so I could totally take inspiration for tonight dinner

  10. Sandra says

    I don't know the answer..I'll call this a soup, delicious soup and so healthy, I love that 1/2 tsp of cayenne and ginger, just to kick the heat up and did I say delicious!:)))

  11. kitchenarian says

    This soup/bisque sounds so good and I am sure I have a can of pumpkin puree still in the pantry. I am definitely making this soon. Thanks for the recipe.

  12. She's Cookin' says

    Soup or bisque – this is a wonderfully quick and healthy recipe for a satisfying dinner. Curry and carrots and kicking it up a notch with cayenne and ginger was a great way to use up that leftover pumpkin!

  13. Annie's Dish says

    Your question of what's the difference between a soup and bisque is like mine of what's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin. The answer? I have no clue!

    I love the combination of carrots and pumpkin! This soup looks delicious!

  14. Pretend Chef says

    Great minds think alike. I too made a carrot soup, Carrot Ginger Soup. I would love to try this because I think it would be just as delicious if not better from the addition of pumpkin and curry. About the bisque and soup debate… anytime I see the word "bisque" I am more drawn to it. Sounds so much more sophisticated than soup. Brings back memories of a Lobster Bisque and that was my first time having a bisque and it was creamy and heavenly.

  15. Ali says

    This looks delicious. I think we still have a few more cold days that will call for a bowl of soup! Luckily I have two cans of pumpkin in my pantry :)

  16. Elisabeth says

    Carolyn-Your wonderful soup is so delicious and comforting. Such a pretty color, and texture. I still have a couple cans of pumpkins from the holiday, and will have to make this soon.
    Thank you for sharing!


    You know, I think some of the best recipes are hybrids! This looks sensational and great for this time of year!

  18. Kim - Liv Life says

    What a beautiful soup! The color of this is so rich, just plain pretty.
    My husband actually asked me the bisque/soup question a few weeks ago and I responded with the ever popular "I have no idea!" I still don't, but either way this one is a winner.
    My mom had some served to her the other night in the hospital and dad was telling me that she had a lovely carrot "bis-kay". He's adorable!!

  19. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says

    Carolyn, this bisque looks perfect! I would love to try this sometime. Thanks for sharing your recipe and beautiful photography. Oh, and happy belated blogoversary!

  20. Belinda @zomppa says

    It's like those SAT questions…All bisques are soup but not all soups are bisques…whatever you want to call this, call me next time you're making it so I can have some!

  21. Becky says

    It is still cold here, what should I expect in March in Chicago, Spring?
    Not yet, so it's a perfect time for soup or is it bisque? I just happen happen to have a stray can of pumpkin in the pantry. Thanks for sharing, and your soup is gorgeous.

  22. Joanne says

    It's been pretty grey and rainy here lately so I'm pretty sure I could use some cheering up with this vibrant soup! I have no idea what makes it a bisque or not…but I can tell that it's delicious!

  23. Jennifer says

    Hi Carolyn – it's amazing how you can make soup look so good with such beautiful photographs. Great work!

  24. Elle says

    So sweet that your mom named the soup with the family name. It looks so warm and comforting, too-we'd love this one!

  25. Feast on the Cheap says

    Carrot Ginger is one of my all-time faves so I definitely need to try a curried version. Looks wonderful!

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