Get Spooky: 5 Fun Ways To Cook With Pumpkins This Fall
Nothing says fall quite like pumpkins. From food to decorations, the humble pumpkin seems to do it all. When using pumpkins as a simple fall décor staple, we often forget that the entire vegetable (except for its stalk) is edible! There are many ways to incorporate pumpkin into your meal repertoire, and since it packs so many health benefits, there’s no good reason not to. Let’s dive into some fun ways to cook with pumpkins this fall.
What are the health benefits of eating pumpkins?
Pumpkins belong to the winter squash category and usually peak around October. There are many varieties, although the most recognized is the typical round, orange one you see all over porches throughout October. The stringy flesh, the seeds, and the inner parts of the vegetable can all be used in food, and each part gives you some essential nutrients your body needs.
Besides being low in calories, pumpkins contain good levels of:
- Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K
These nutrients go a long way when it comes to your health. Eating more pumpkin can:
- Strengthen immunity
- Promote good eye health
- Help keep your skin healthy
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Help manage blood sugar
All these benefits go to show that the pumpkin is one of the best choices when it comes to fall vegetables. The trick is knowing how to turn it into a treat.
What’s the best way to cook a pumpkin?
You can cook pumpkin in many different ways, and no one way is better than the other. It all depends on what type of dish you want to make. Since pumpkin can enhance or be the star of both savory and sweet dishes, knowing the best way to cook it for your specific dish will make it the best. Roasting a pumpkin is the easiest method, but there are many ways to utilize pumpkins in everyday cooking.
Image by Nick Collins on Unsplash: Where can I find easy pumpkin recipes for dinner? Right here!
Simple pumpkin recipes you can make this fall
Cooking pumpkin doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are five easy pumpkin recipes you can try while this versatile vegetable is in season!
1. Pumpkin mash
Since many pumpkin recipes call for mash, we’ll tackle it first on the list. To make pumpkin mash, you must first roast the pumpkin. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, and place it cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for roughly an hour or until the pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork. Once the pumpkin cools, scoop out the flesh and mash it with a potato masher or mix it with a food processor. It’s that simple!
If you want to eat your pumpkin mash the same way you would mashed potatoes, you can add some spices such as nutmeg, salt, or pepper.
2. Pumpkin butter
Pumpkin butter is a spreadable treat that’s actually both savory and sweet. To make pumpkin butter easily at home, combine mashed pumpkin with:
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Ground cinnamon
(The amounts of ingredients you’ll need will vary depending on how much you want to make.) Simply mix all the ingredients in a large pot, simmer for 20 minutes, and cool. You can use this spread on anything from cookies to crackers to toast.
3. Pumpkin tortellini
For a rich pumpkin-filled dinner, try a pasta dish that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy. You will need the following:
- 18 ounces of cheese tortellini
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 cup of mashed pumpkin
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 1 cup half-and-half cream
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
Cook the tortellini to your preference and reserve at least ½ cup of the cooking water. While the pasta boils, cook the onions in the butter until they become tender, then add in the pumpkin and nutmeg. Once the mixture becomes fragrant, stir in the cream and simmer until it thickens. Once the sauce is ready, stir in the cheese, remaining salt and pepper, and toss with the tortellini.
Image by Alexander Grey on Unsplash: Can you cook anything with pumpkin guts? You sure can if you get creative.
4. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Take your typical chocolate chip cookies up a notch by adding pumpkin! To make this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- 1 cup softened butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 large room-temperature egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour of your choice
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup pumpkin mash
- 5 cups of chocolate chips of your choice
Mix the butter and sugar for five to seven minutes (you’ll know it’s done when the batter is light and fluffy). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat it until the egg is thoroughly mixed in. In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon.
Add all the ingredients into one bowl, followed by the pumpkin and chocolate chips. Drop dollops onto ungreased baking sheets and bake for 10–12 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Roast pumpkin and fall vegetables
For a rich and savory side dish, you can roast pumpkin like any other type of squash and use it alongside vegetables such as kale, beets, radishes, and other squash. Leeks, fennel, and sweet potatoes can also make good accompaniments to this side dish.
You can roast the pumpkin in halves like you would when making the mash to make it easier. If you’re more up to a more hands-on task, you can cut the pumpkin flesh into small bite-sized chunks and toss them with other vegetables, some olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bake the vegetables at 400 degrees until tender, roughly 40 minutes.
The good thing about this side dish is that you can choose what other vegetables you want to go with your roasted pumpkin. The options are endless and can be tailored to your favorite foods, or those that are in season.
Eating pumpkin this fall just got easier! Which recipe will you start with first?
Featured image by Marius Ciocirlan on Unsplash
Leave A Comments