Grown the world over for a variety of purposes, the pumpkin has become one of the most versatile vegetables on the market, with its uses including carving for Halloween Jack-o’-Lanterns, animal feed and, of course, adding that special spiced flavor to our favorite latte. Since Fall is just around the corner, and along with it, those crisp, cooler days, we’ve rounded up our top 5 tasty food ideas made using everyone’s favorite winter squash.
Pumpkin, Beef and Black Bean Chili
A seasonal spin on an otherwise classic family favorite, adding pumpkin to this dish gives an extra layer of deliciousness. For the best results, fry the beef in a medium heat pan along with onions and spoonful of chili powder, then stir in some sweet pumpkin. If you can’t get your hands on a sweet pumpkin, butternut squash works too.
Harvest Pumpkin Soup
There really is nothing better than a warming, homely soup in the wintery months, so why not cook a batch of this at the beginning of the week? You could even use it for lunches, it saves on time but doesn’t skimp on flavor! Fry together potato and onion before adding a high quality chicken broth. Then, simply stir in a can of pure pumpkin and blend, before seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg. You could even substitute the broth for a low-sodium chicken broth for a healthy alternative. Easy never tasted so good.
A slice of pumpkin bread is the perfect breakfast, lunch or after dinner snack. Combine your dough ingredients before adding grated pumpkin, vanilla and cinnamon to create the perfectly spiced, sweet treat. For those among us with a savoury tooth, pairing a slice of this loaf with a small helping of camembert is the epitome of taste perfection.
Tired of sweet potato fries? Fancy a change? Enter pumpkin fries, a surprisingly versatile alternative. For salty fries, toss the cooked chips together with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder and sea salt. For sweet fries, add two teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and a generous helping of maple syrup. Feeling brave? Try the spicy fries, by adding pure maple syrup and as much sriracha as you can handle.
Did you really think we’d finish this list with anything other than the best culinary use of pumpkin, ever? While most bakers will opt for the Libby’s canned pumpkin puree, why not be brave this year and try roasting chunks of pumpkin for your pie instead? Simply divide your pumpkin into pieces, scrape away the seeds (don’t throw them away, you can toast them later) and bake for 45 minutes. Cover the pumpkin tightly with foil and allow the steam to soften the tougher pieces. Once the pumpkin has cooled, process the chunks until they are smooth, but strong enough to hold a spoon upright. Pumpkin freezes for up to 6 months, so get your prep out the way early and you can enjoy your holiday too.
You’ll be thanking us for these warming, wholesome dinners, so let the Fall season commence!