Rustic Bacon and Pumpkin Soup

September 24, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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Rustic Pumpkin Soup-015 copyThere is something about cooler, shorter days and leaves starting to change colors that makes me want to cook and eat pumpkin.  On my Facebook Page last week, I shared this primal urge to experiment with pumpkin recipes with the status update

What is it about fall that makes me want to experiment with pumpkin recipes?”.

One of my followers commented

Um..because pumpkin is the most awesome food on the planet? After bacon, of course.”.

Very astute!  I immediately googled bacon+pumpkin+recipe and came up with surprisingly little (I did find some awesome bacon-wrapped jack-o-lanterns and a fantastic-looking recipe for crispy bacon-wrapped pumpkin (I think this recipe actually uses butternut squash) which I pinned on Pinterest).  But, I started to think more about how awesome the combination of pumpkin and bacon would be.  Thus, the inspiration for this recipe was born.  Melissa, this one is for you!

I chose to keep some texture in this soup rather than pureeing it to a smooth paste.  If you prefer really smooth soups, by all means, give it the immersion blender treatment.  You can also do most of the steps in advance if that’s easier for you, and then the soup only takes about 15 minutes to prepare.  I also used fresh pie pumpkins, but you could use a good quality canned pumpkin if you wanted to make this super easy.  4 small cans would be the equivalent of 2 pie pumpkins (it’s about 5-6 cups mashed).  If pie pumpkins aren’t available, I think this recipe would work really well with just about any winter squash.

I’m also addicted to US Wellness Meats sugar-free pastured pork bacon.  It’s worth every penny.  One of the things about this bacon that works especially well with this soup is that it isn’t very salty compared to “conventional” bacon.  If you’re going to be using regular bacon, look for a reduced sodium one, otherwise your soup risks being too salty (you could also balance out with under-seasoned homemade bone broth, i.e., don’t add salt when you’re making your bone broth).  I liked serving this soup with crispy bacon bits sprinkled on the top.  An alternative would be to stir the bacon bits into the soup (they would be softer that way).

To make this recipe AIP-friendly, you could substitute mace for the nutmeg or leave it out completely.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour (including roasting pumpkins)

Serves: 4

Rustic Pumpkin Soup-032



  • 2 medium pie pumpkins
  • 1 lb bacon (you could up to 1½ pounds but save some of the bacon fat for another purpose)
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  1. Cook bacon until crispy.  My preferred method is to lay out the bacon strips on a rimmed cookie sheet (I used 2 cookie sheets for this recipe).  Place in a cold oven and turn the oven on the 400F.  Around the time the oven is done preheating, the bacon is ready.  Remove the bacon from the cookie sheet(s) and reserve the bacon grease. Once bacon has cooled, cut or crumble into large bacon bits.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F (if you do this step immediately after cooking the bacon, it’s fine if your oven starts a little hot).
  3. Cut your pumpkins in half (careful!).  Scoop out the seeds.  Place your pumpkin halves on a cookie sheet (I did it cut side up, but it doesn’t really matter).  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until soft.  Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. Spoon pumpkin meat out of the peel.  Mash with a fork or potato masher (this give a more uneven texture which is part of the rustic nature of this soup; you could also use a potato ricer or immersion blender for a finer-textured soup).
  5. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of bacon grease in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add diced onions and garlic and sautee until onions are fully cooked and caramelized.
  6. Add broth to deglaze the pot.  Add mashed pumpkin, nutmeg and 2-3 additional Tbsp of bacon grease (you want 4-5 Tbsp total; it’s a good idea to add a little less and then taste your soup and decide if you want it to be more bacony).
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and bring to a simmer.
  8. Serve the soup by ladling into a bowl and generously topping with bacon bits.  Enjoy!


This looks amazing! I love Pumpkin soup. Especially with a little (Paleo) sour cream on top of it. The bacon is a wonderful addition to one of my fave fall meals.

A similar soup recipe is in Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. I got it from the amazon page for the book. She adds celery and sage and uses water instead of broth. I made is last year with broth and it was marvelous. I save bacon fat and usually have some in the fridge. The Costco near us carries very nice real bacon bits. It’s isn’t as healthy as pastured, but sometimes you have to cut corners. I roasted the pumpkin in the oven, sautéed the vegetables in a generous amount of bacon fat. Added stock and cooked pumpkin, put it through the blender and then aded the bacon bits.
I like pumpkin because it is lower carb than most squashes. When I roast very hard squashes, I put them in the oven whole. Then I take them out after 20-30 minutes, cut them open and take out the seeds. It’s very hot but it isn’t hard to cut. If they need more baking they go back in the oven until done.

If you are going to caramelize the onions, you should put the garlic in a couple of minutes before you add the rest. Otherwise it can burn and be bitter.

Thanks, that’s perfect. We had two big and two small – saved the big ones for carving. 🙂
The soup came out delicious.

I am confused about AIP. Can you eat bacon and smoked salmon while following an AIP plan or are those off limits? What about oranges and tangerines? Thanks. (I am following AIP to heal a leaky gut.)

Do you know approx how much puree 2 pumpkins makes? I still have frozen pumpkin puree from last years garden that I want to use up.


Just had to let you know that is amazing! I used the juice from a ham i had cooked instead of chicken bone broth, that wasn’t quite 2 cups so i used coconut milk to make up the difference, about 3/4 cup. Delicious!

I used canned pumpkin, but wow, I don’t know what I did wrong, but it was not good… I had to add ginger, a whole can of full fat coconut milk, cinnamon, salt, and honey. My kiddos would have never eaten it the way the recipe states. It was wonderful after those alterations though…. 😉

Had this for dinner tonight. Delish! Thanks for this site and all your resources. I’ve been doing this for about a week and a half. I feel better already. Thank you!

You can certainly try, although I don’t believe Sarah has prepared this recipe with butternut squash. However, in the opening paragraphs she does state that: “If pie pumpkins aren’t available, I think this recipe would work really well with just about any winter squash.” — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

I don’t know. I do not believe Sarah as prepared this recipe in a slow cooker. If you try, please leave another comment and let us know how it turns out.— Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

I used beef broth and a butternut squash, it was awesome! I added green onions on top with the bacon. Otherwise I followed the recipe.

I just roasted 2 small/medium pie pumpkins and it made 12 1/4 cups of puree (I froze and used for another recipe). That’s quite a bit more than the 3 cups suggested earlier. Is it definitely just 3 cups used in the recipe?

A 4-pound pie pumpkin usually yields about 3-4 cups of mash. Sarah states in the recipe intro that about 6 cups are used in the recipe. Yours may have been larger. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I made this with canned pumpkin. I used one giant 29oz can (1 lb 13 oz), and due to it being so thick, ended up adding about 3 1/2 – 4 cups on bone broth. It was just the right constancy for us, not too thin, but not too thick (felt like I was prepping to make pumpkin pie with only 2 C of broth.) I fed two hungry adults, three bowls each, and three children under the age of 5, about 1- 1 1/4 bowls each. I have a tiny bit left over too!

Also, I made this with 1 lb of ground pork (no bacon on hand), added one leek (white part only) to the onion, and used only one larger yellow onion. It was AMAZING! Major hit in this house! Thanks for sharing Sarah! I’m new to AIP and need all the help I can get coming up with delicious meals that satisfy the whole household. (unfortunately I did not realize nutmeg is not AIP friendly *newbie mistake*, so my thyroid is feeling it a little bit right now. Next time I’ll be sure to omit it! And I did not double check, but I am guessing you mentioned that nutmeg isn’t AIP friendly, so I’m certainly not blaming you. Besides, its also a learning experience!)

Sounds wonderful…can I used organic pumpkin purée instead? If so, how much? Thank you for your wonderful website & books!!

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