If you love pumpkin, you’re in luck. It’s that time of the year when pumpkin is taking over the menus of your favorite restaurants, Starbucks unveils its pumpkin spice latte and bakeries are lining their shelves with pumpkin breads and muffins. Pumpkin isn’t just for dessert either. As chefs across the country are proving, channeling the savory side to pumpkin has changed the way we look at this little orange gourd.
Looking for ways to add a savory side to pumpkin? Try roasting or grilling your pumpkin. Simply cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and stringy innards, slice into long pieces and remove the peels.
For roasting, preheat the oven to 415°F. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes.
When grilling, place the pumpkin pieces in a large mixing bowl and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and toss. With your grill on high, cook the pumpkin pieces for five minutes on each side.
For extra flavor, try adding fresh herbs like thyme and sage or spices like fresh ground mustard, curry powder or turmeric.
Now that your pumpkin has flavor, what should you do with it? Ever considered adding pumpkin to your risotto or lentil soup? Try mashing it up with potatoes or butternut squash. One of my personal favorites is adding it to homemade polenta. You won’t believe how good it is! Fan of soufflés? Puree the pumpkin and add it to your favorite recipe.
Whatever you do, don’t throw away those seeds! Rinse the seeds clean, dry them and them toss them with extra virgin olive oil and salt. This is another opportunity to play around with flavor. Add Worcestershire sauce for a little smoke or soy sauce and maggi sauce for asian-style seeds. Ever try curried pumpkin seeds? You should.
Once you decide upon your seasoning, preheat your oven to 375°F and roast the seeds on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Toss the seeds around and add additional seasoning if necessary and then bake for five more minutes. I could make the most complicated and luxurious pumpkin raviolis but it’s always the seeds that are a hit in my house.
If you still look at pumpkin and are bored by the same old recipes, I highly suggest you try a few of these out. Remember, when you combine roasted pumpkin with different flavors you can change the way your fall foods taste.
How are you dressing up pumpkin?