What is it about changing leaves and blustery days that makes you crave pumpkin? It’s more than just a seasonal food – it’s one of those quintessential tastes of fall – like apples and mulling spices – that just feels right on a chilly day. Check out some of my favorite fall pumpkin recipes, and feel free to share your own pumpkin cooking ideas in the comments!
DIY Pumpkin Puree
Did you know that most canned pumpkin isn’t pumpkin at all? Instead, companies use any number of winter squash, like butternut squash, and call it pumpkin. If you want the real deal, your best bet is making pumpkin puree at home, which is very simple to do! Here’s how:
- Clean your pumpkin, then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Don’t toss those seeds! Roast them in the oven for a savory snack.
- Rub the inside of your pumpkin with olive oil, and bake at 350F for about an hour and a half, or until it’s nice and tender.
- Let the pumpkin cool, then scoop the flesh into the blender, and puree in batches.
For most pumpkin recipes, it doesn’t really matter whether the puree you use is pumpkin or some other winter squash. If you’re short on time, just grab that can and get cooking!
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Pumpkin is as healthy for you as it is delicious! It’s an excellent source of vitamin A and has plenty of fiber to keep your digestive system on track. It’s also pretty low in calories, so if you’re worried about overdoing it during the holidays, you can add pumpkin to your yes list!
1. Pumpkin Hummus
Pumpkin and a little olive oil replace the tahini in this seasonal hummus recipe! This is great with pita triangles or fresh veggies for dipping.
- 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans
- 2 cloves of raw garlic
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil + extra for drizzling
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1. Throw all of your ingredients except the pumpkin seeds into your blender and process until smooth.
2. Transfer to a glass bowl with a lid, and chill until you’re ready to serve. Drizzle with the extra olive oil and top with the pumpkin seeds just before serving.
Image: jules:stonesoup / Flickr
2. Pumpkin Pie
This recipe is adapted from Michelle Schoffro Cook’s delicious version of the Thanksgiving classic.
- 3 cups white wheat flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup of icy cold water
- pinch of salt
- 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (or 2 cups homemade)
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/3 cup almond or cashew milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
- 1/2 block of firm organic tofu
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. To make the crust, knead together the floud, olive oil, water, and salt until it’s well-combined and pulling away from the sides of your bowl just a bit. Roll it out on a floured cutting board, then press it gently into your pie pan, using a fork or knife to pierce a few small holes in the bottom of the crust. Bake for 15 minutes, while you get the filling made.
3. To make your filling, combine the remaining ingredients in your blender or food processor, and process until smooth.
4. When the crust is ready, pour your filling into the crust, throw it back in the preheated oven, and bake for an hour. Let the pie cool before serving.
3. Pumpkin Pie Custard
This recipe is almost like creme brulee, but without all of the eggs and dairy. Here’s what you need to make a batch:
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2cup raw cashews
- 1 1/4 cups plain unsweetened soy or almond milk
- 1/2 cup unrefined sugar, like coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/4 teaspoon agar powder
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Few pinches freshly ground nutmeg
- Pinch or two allspice
- Pinch or two ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Few teaspoons unrefined sugar for caramelized topping (optional, see note)
Dreena from Plant Powered Kitchen developed this recipe, and it’s so perfect as-is, there was no adaptation required. Check out how to make your pumpkin custard over at Plant Powered Kitchen!
Image: Gudlyf / Flickr