8 Creative Pumpkin Recipes for the Holidays
Pumpkin. It’s sweet in a pie and savory in a stew. It perks up a salad and gives your morning oatmeal that little something extra. Pumpkin is a healthy ingredient that can be added to everything from sweet and sour to mac and cheese to creme brulee. Some superbly creative chefs from around the country came up with these amazing pumpkin recipes to share and inspire. Which ones will you try?
Sweet and Sour Pumpkin
- 1 sugar pie or cheese pumpkin (not the jack-o-lantern variety) – sub with butternut squash
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted
Spice Mixture for Finishing
- coriander seeds
- sea salt
- black peppercorn
- Peel the pumpkin with a knife and remove all seeds.
- Cut the pumpkin flesh in segments, approximately 3/4 inch thick and 2 inches wide.
- Heat oil to coat the bottom of a saute pan and sear the pumpkin segments on both sides until brown.
- Remove all excess oil from the pan.
- Lower the flame and add the vinegar, honey and a about a teaspoon of salt.
- When the liquid is fully absorbed, the pumpkin should be removed from the stove and refrigerated for later use.
- Grind the coriander seeds, sea salt and black peppercorn in a spice grinder.
- Serve the sweet and sour pumpkin cold or at room temperature. Top with pumpkin seeds and sprinkle lightly with the spice mixture.
Recipe courtesy of Melissa Muller Daka, Chef and Owner of EOLO: Sicilia A Tavola, New York City.
Pumped-up Pumpkin Pie Bites
These delicious little bites are real crowd-pleasers and are the perfect size for individual servings at a buffet table (instead of asking your guests to cut their own wedge of pie!).
- butter-flavored cooking spray
- 3/4 cup whole grain, crunchy, high-fiber, low-sugar cereal (I used Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets)
- 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 large egg whites
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup “Cut the Crap” Whipped Topping, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist an 11″ x 7″ glass or ceramic baking dish with spray.
- Add the cereal to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade. Process it for 15 to 20 seconds, or until the cereal is crushed. Transfer it to a small mixing bowl and add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Mix them until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Gently press down on the cereal mixture, spreading it evenly across the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until slightly browned. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl. Using a sturdy whisk, lightly beat them until they bubble very slightly. Still using the whisk, stir in the pumpkin, agave, and flour until well combined. Stir in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt and continue mixing until well combined. Pour the filling over the baked crust. Using a rubber spatula, spread it into an even layer.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are okay). Transfer the dish to a wire cooking rack, allowing it to cool to room temperature. Carefully cut 32 pumpkin “bites” (3 cuts along the width of the pan, 7 cuts along the length, creating 4 x 8 bites). Just before serving, top each bite with 1 teaspoon whipped topping, if desired. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Makes 16 servings (32 bites)
Per serving: 94 calories, 3 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates (15 g sugar), trace fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 102 mg sodium
Recipe Credit: Reprinted from The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook by Devin Alexander © 2010 by Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. The Biggest Loser (TM) and NBC Studios, Inc., and Reveille LLC. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Photo Credit: Mitch Mandel
Pumpkin Creme Brulee
The perfect addition to a dinner party or just a special fall treat for your family, this Pumpkin Creme Brulee will please everyone with its ovo-lacto vegetarian and gluten free ingredients.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 oz light brown sugar
- 1 oz granulated sugar, plus couple of tsps
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place 4 creme brulee dishes or custard cups in a rectangle baking pan so that water can be added half way up (or 4 oz. dish/cups).
- In a saucepan, combine cream, brown sugar, and the one ounce of sugar. Bring to a light simmer over medium-high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat as soon as sugar is melted.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, while whisking constantly. (This process as known as a liaison which is used for making egg bound sauces, and prevents the eggs from scrambling with the hot liquid!) Then, add the egg mix to the remaining hot cream, and whisk well.
- Add the cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg, vanilla and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain liquid into a bowl. Divide liquid among the 4 oz. dishes/cups. Place dishes in the baking pan, and pour hot water in to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Place in oven, on the lower rack.
- Bake until the custards are just set in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Centers should still be slightly jiggly. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until cold.
- Sprinkle each custard with sugar. Using a torch, blacken the sugar. You can also use the broiler feature on your oven.
- Garnish with toasted hazelnuts and a dash of cinnamon.
ENJOY Your Pumpkin Creme Brulee!
Recipe courtesy of Chef Mark Dowling, VP of Academics and Executive Chef of the Escoffier Online Culinary Academy, the first-ever online culinary school, offering professional culinary training for aspiring chefs and food enthusiasts alike.
Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Warm Gorgonzola Dressing
- 1 lb of pumpkin or butternut squash, cleaned and diced 1-1/2ť”
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground all spice
- 4 cups of packed, fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup of walnuts toasted in the oven
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 6 each fresh sage leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 8 oz of gorgonzola dolce
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pumpkin:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss pumpkin in olive oil and all spice, season with salt and pepper.
- Roast on baking sheet in 400 degree oven until tender, and caramelized.
For the dressing:
- In a sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add garlic and sage and cook until garlic softens.
- Add cream and gorgonzola and bring to a simmer, stirring often.
- Reduce cream until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Season with salt and plenty of black pepper, and keep warm.
- Reheat pumpkin in oven until warm, about 2 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, toss warm pumpkin and spinach. Spinach will wilt slightly.
- Divide among 4 small plates.
- Drizzle with warm gorgonzola dressing, and top with roasted walnuts.
Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Christopher Nicosia, SASSI, Scottsdale
Raw Pumpkin Pie
It’s easy and super yummy, and best of all it is guilt free!
Ingredients for Crust
- 2 cups almonds
- 1 cup dates, soaked 1 hour to soften
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- splash of water if needed
Directions for Crust
- Place almonds in food processor and process until mealy. Slowly add in dates, water, vanilla, and cinnamon to form a dough consistency. Pat into a glass pie plate so that crust is at least 1/4 inch thick.
Ingredients for Filling
- 2 cups raw pumpkin peeled
- 1 – 1-1/2 cups dates
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 – 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- dash of sea salt
Directions for Filling
- Put peeled and chopped pumpkin in food processor. Add dates, raisins, and nuts and then the remaining ingredients. Use a bit of water or orange juice if needed to moisten.
- Scoop mixture into the crust and chill 2 hours before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Veronica Bosgraaf, Founder of Pure Organic Bars. “We don’t all have to be vegetarians,” says Ms. Bosgraaf, “but if everyone decreased their meat consumption by just 10 percent, we would free up enough grain to feed every starving person in the world. And doing your part can be fantastically delicious!”
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Pumpkins are popular vegetables that seem to pop up everywhere this time of year — here’s a recipe that takes the pumpkin to a whole new level.
- 16 oz elbow macaroni (or any other fun shape works too!)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 4 cups milk
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 8 oz yellow American cheese (packaged it fine, just break into small pieces for easy blending)
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (1/2 15-oz can)
- 1-1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- In a heavy saucepot over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 cups milk, minced rosemary, and thyme and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of the milk (reserving 1 cup) and continue to whisk. Cook for approximately 5 minutes while whisking. The mixture will begin to get very thick.
- Add the cheese and stir well so that the cheese melts evenly. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne followed by the additional cup of milk and the pumpkin puree.
- Once everything is smooth, add the cooked macaroni and toss to coat. Pour into a 9 x 13 casserole pan and top with breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Yield: 8 servings
Recipe courtesy of Omega Juicers. The Omega Nutrition Center creates delicious fruit and vegetable juices, and is also capable of making a variety of foods including nut butters, salsas, baby food, and pasta.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Coffeecake Oatmeal - soy-free and gluten-free
This recipe uses a smaller slow cooker – 1-1/2 to 2 quarts
- 1/2 cup (40g) steel-cut oats
- 1-3/4 cup (437ml) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or plain plus 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup (124g) pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- coffee cake topping
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener if you donâ€™t use refined sugar)
- 3 tablespoons pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- The night before: Mix toppings in a small container and cover until the morning. Spray your crock with some oil to help with clean up later (optional). Add all the ingredients except the toppings. Cook on low over night (7 to 9 hours).
- In the morning: Stir your oatmeal well. It may seem watery at the top but if stirred it should be a more uniform consistency. Top with coffee cake topping. 2 to 3 servings.
Recipe courtesy of Kathy Hester, author of The Vegan Slow Cooker. She also writes the blog Healthy Slow Cooking, teaches cooking classes, develops recipes, and her second book, The Great Vegan Bean Book, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie with Maple and Rosemary
Perfect for the holiday season!
- 1 cup spelt flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- 1/3 cup hulled, raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp local maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 1 tsp maple vinegar
- 2 tsp – 1 tbsp cold water
- Put the flour, pumpkin seeds, and salt into food processor with fitted metal blade. Process until pumpkin seeds are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add local maple syrup, vinegar and cold water and pulse until mixture clumps.
- Roll into ball and flatten on parchment paper pressing into a large flat circle and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On lightly floured board, roll dough into a 12″ circle and transfer to 10″ pie plate pressing into bottom and up sides. Finish edges. Prick with fork in several places. Line with parchment paper or foil and weight with dried beans or rice.
- Place in oven for about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Lift parchment or foil and weights and remove them from baked shell. Set aside.
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 6.5 oz egg
- 1# 13 oz pumpkin puree
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 3 oz brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp clove
- 12 oz 2% milk
- 9.5 oz evaporated milk
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup local maple syrup
- Combine all ingredients and mix until a nice batter is formed. Pour filling into crust, exposing 1/2 inch of crust from the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until set and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Cinnamon Ginger Yogurt Creme
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp chestnut honey
- 1 tsp toasted finely ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- To serve, slice pie into 8 equal slices, dollop with a tablespoon of yogurt creme, and top with fresh mint and blood orange zest.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Adam Mosher of TREE Restaurant, The Lodge at Woodloch, an award-winning destination spa located in Northeast Pennsylvania.