If you had told me ten years ago that a vegetable would be one of my favourite foods ever, I would have laughed. Yet, you can do virtually anything with pumpkin and I will love it. I’m okay with most types of squash but pumpkin is perfection in a gourd.
It not only tastes good, it is extremely good for you. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A which aids in maintaining your vision, fiber which makes you feel full and keeps you regular, beta-carotene which is an antioxidant, vitamin C, and potassium which is a great way to refuel your body after exercise.
While this doesn’t make a piece of pumpkin pie, a healthy meal it does help even out the all the bad things you add to pie and other desserts.
Although most people associate pumpkin with desserts, it can also make great savory dishes too. You can use it anywhere you would use any other type of squash. It pairs beautifully with cheeses like ricotta and pasta dishes. It’s also great as a filling winter soup.
It is important to note that when a recipe calls for pumpkin, they are looking for pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. They are often sold on the same shelf at the grocery store. Make sure you get the right one since pie filling tends to have sugar and spices already added.
Here are some savory dishes made with pumpkin that I think you will love as much as I do:
#1: Pumpkin cornbread
This recipe comes from Two Peas And A Pod. Cornbread is something I enjoy on its own or accompanying something else. It’s perfect with chili and any dish that you’d want a light bread to accompany.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 TB baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cups olive oil
- 1 TB molasses
Preheat oven to 400 F. In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl whisk eggs together. Add remaining ingredients to the eggs and mix together.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Pour the batter into a greased 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Best served warm.
#2: Pumpkin cannelloni with sage brown butter sauce
This one comes from Country Living. You can use low fat cheese and over ready lasagna noodles to reduce the calories and make it easier to make.
- 1 ½ lbs fresh pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 ½ TB extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup ricotta
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 ½ tsp finely chopped fresh sage, plus 4 large whole leaves
- ¼ tsp salt, plus more to taste
- ½ tsp freshly ground Pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 pkg (8 oz) Oven-Ready Lasagna Sheets
- 6 TB unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large pan, place ¾ cup of water and the pumpkin. Cover and steam over medium heat for 20 minutes, until tender. Remove pumpkin from pan and mash in a bowl. Heat 1 ½ TB olive oil in a skillet and saute on high heat until golden. Move it into a bowl and crush it into a paste (a mortar and pestle works well if you have one). Stir cheeses, chopped sage, salt, pepper, and garlic paste into the mashed pumpkin, mixing well and set aside.
In a large stockpot, boil water. Add in lasagna sheets for just long enough to soften for use, about 2 minutes. Set aside ¼ cup of the pasta water. Move sheets to a plate and drizzle with olive oil so they don’t stick together. Take a 9 x 13 baking dish and grease liberally with olive oil.
On a clean surface like a cutting board, take a piece of lasagna and lay it out. At the center of the piece place approximately 4 TB of the pumpkin mixture. Roll sheet to create a cannelloni tube and place it in the baking dish. Continue until all sheets of lasagna have been used.
Pour the reserved pasta water over the cannelloni and cover with foil. Bake until heated through and pasta is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Cook butter and remaining whole sage leaves in skillet until golden brown. Drizzle over cannelloni and serve.
#3: Pumpkin and ricotta stuffed shells
This is another Country Living recipe.
- 24 jumbo pasta shells
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ cups fat-free ricotta
- 1 can (15-oz) pumpkin puree
- 2 ½ oz Pecorino Romano, grated (3/4 cup plus 2 TB)
- 1 large egg white
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 TB finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 jar (26 oz) tomato sauce
Cook pasta shells according to package instructions, drain, drizzle with oil and set aside on a baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, pumpkin, ¾ cup of pecorino romano, and remaining ingredients except the tomato sauce.
Spread sauce on bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Fill each shell with about 3 TB of filling and place it in the baking dish. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes more.
#4: Pumpkin spice hummus
This is a Prevention RD recipe. It is significantly lower in calories than traditional hummus and tastes delicious.
- 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup tahini (or raw cashew butter)
- 1 TB sunflower oil (or canola)
- 3 TB pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp salt
Blend everything together in a food processor. Taste it and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with pita chips.
#5: Cream of pumpkin soup
This is one of Thomas’ recipes on AllRecipes.com. The croutons are divine.
- 3 TB softened
- 1 TB brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 TB butter, melted
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 400F. Mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Spread mixture one side of each bread slice. Place the bread on a baking sheet, buttered side up. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bread is crisp and top is bubbling. Cut each slice into bite sized croutons and set aside.
In a skillet at medium high heat, saute onion in butter until tender. Add 1 can of chicken broth and stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. In a food processor, puree broth mixture until smooth.
Return to stockpot and add all remaining ingredients except the whipping cream. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Mix in whipping cream and heat through.
Serve topped with cinnamon croutons.
Cover photo: weheartit.com