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Vegan Jamaican Chicken and Pumpkin Soup

This is a vegan version of the classic Jamaican chicken and pumpkin stew, traditionally served as the center of the Saturday family meal. Warming spices and rich coconut milk bring together a rainbow of vegetables and crunchy tempeh croutons in this one-pot meal.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings 10 servings


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves sliced about 1/2 cm thick
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced about 1/2 cm thick
  • 2 inch knob of ginger peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and grated or minced
  • 1 lime zest and juice
  • 3 tablespoons Jamaican Curry Powder recipe below! you may used store-bought if you prefer, but it will be very hot, so you may want to use less.
  • 2 tablespoons vegan broth powder chicken style is best
  • 2 cups butternut squash or other winter pumpkin peeled and cubed about 1 inch wide
  • 1 medium potato peeled and cubed about 1 inch wide
  • 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cubed about 1 inch wide
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 head bok choy chopped
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar to taste, depending on how sweet the vegetables are
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce to taste
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1/3 cup tempeh croutons recipe coming soon! any protein can be used here.
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
  • fresh cilantro, lime, and coconut milk to garnish


  • Peel, chop, and grate all the vegetables as described above. Divide the vegetables into groups based on when they will be added to the pot, as shown below (Hint: the recipe lists the vegetables in the order they will be cooked.) Make sure your Jamaican curry powder is ready, and pour yourself a big glass of water. This first bit of prep takes up most of the time, but don't worry- the deliciousness is coming soon! You can save time and energy by buying pre-chopped vegetables, and I really recommend it for the pumpkin at least if you aren't sure of your abilities. It is worth learning how to prep a pumpkin, but there's no need to learn everything in a day. Shortcuts are totally acceptable and encouraged!
  • Preheat a very large pot with the coconut oil until just starting to smoke. Add the carrots, onion and celery, stirring over the heat for about 3-5 minutes, until just starting to brown
  • Quickly stir in the curry powder, broth powder ginger, garlic, and lime zest. (Save the lime juice until the end.)
  • Immediate add the pumpkin, sweet potato, white potato, and red lentils.
  • Fill the pot with water until the vegetables are almost covered. Bring to a boil, stirring once or twice, and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables and lentils are soft. Check one of each kind of vegetable, to be sure they are pretty much cooked through.
  • Stir in the chopped bok choy, red peppers, and tomatoes. The soup should be quite thick and chunky at this point. Increase the heat to medium-high.
  • Add the remaining ingredients all at once, stirring until it is well-incorporated. Be careful with the hot pepper, you want to leave it whole, so sort of stir around it. As it cooks it will soften and be very easy to break accidentally, so be careful! This stage should take about ten minutes, be careful not to leave the pepper in for longer unless you want a spicier soup.
  • Scoop out the hot pepper and adjust the seasoning to your taste. The soup should taste spicy first, then sweet, then salty, then tangy/ sour (if you can handle the spice, that is- if not, no worries, just take the pepper out sooner!) Add more brown sugar, lime juice, or soy sauce to balance the flavours to your taste. Of course, leave the hot pepper in if you want it hotter, but I recommend removing it before storing your soup, as the heat will continue to build overnight.
  • Serve your soup with the toppings you prefer. I recommend a side dish of bread or rice, to help soak up all the deliciousness and moderate spiciness for more sensitive diners.
Keyword One-pot meal, Soup, Stew, Vegan