It’s hard to think of a more versatile fall vegetable than sweet pumpkin. Whether you spoon it out of a convenient can or roast and mash a small sugar pumpkin, this superb squash can star in a wide range of dishes beyond your annual Thanksgiving pie. And while you can’t use big jack-o’-lantern pumpkins for recipes — they’re too watery and stringy for cooking — you can carve them up and turn the seeds into a tasty snack.
5 SWEET IDEAS
- Want to make something different for Thanksgiving dessert but still stick with the fall theme? Pumpkin & Rum-Raisin Cake has all the cinnamon-nutmeg flavours of pie and is ready for the oven in a few short steps. This moist bundt cake is packed with plump raisins and crunchy pecans, and even newbie bakers will find it easy to nail the punchy rum glaze.
- Can’t decide between pumpkin pie and cheesecake? You don’t have to! Get the best of both worlds with Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Squares Baked on a zippy gingersnap crust, the classic cheesecake filling is bumped up with swirls of spiced pumpkin. Bonus: It can be made a few days ahead, allowing you to focus on turkey and sides come Thanksgiving Day.
- If your kids usually turn down pumpkin desserts, our Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf might just change their minds. (And since the recipe is easy and kid-friendly, you might as well get them into the kitchen to help make it.) Moist and chocolatey, this loaf also makes an excellent lunch-box treat or a top seller at an autumn bake sale.
- Brimming with chocolate chunks and chopped walnuts, Soft Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cookies are a yummy oatmeal cookie option for the raisin-averse people in your life. If you have some vanilla ice cream on hand, sandwich a scoop between two cookies for a special treat.
- While your pumpkin cookies are in the oven, whip up a little something special for yourself (you’ve earned it). Our Maple Pumpkin Spiced Latte is a delicious way to use up any canned pumpkin purée hanging around in the fridge, and this creamy, comforting beverage is perfect for warming you up on a crisp fall day.
5 SAVOURY IDEAS
- Roasted sugar pumpkin is sweet, which means it’s a delicious complement to salty, spicy and savoury ingredients. Our Pumpkin, Arugula & Quinoa Salad pairs it with the peppery green and fluffy grain to satisfy your salad cravings. Tangy goat cheese adds a creamy note, and pumpkin seeds give it a bit of crunch, which will appeal to heartier fall appetites. Serve this salad as a lunch main — it’s a big hit with vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
- As the evenings get cooler, it’s time to make a pot of Pumpkin Soup with Apple-Walnut Topping. Sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with nutmeg, this silky-smooth soup also gets a flavour boost from a garnish of chopped tart apple and walnuts. Serve it with Mushroom & Cheddar Grilled Cheese for a cozy, warming dinner.
- Armed with a few pantry staples and a food processor, you can fry up a tray of Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters in no time. These lemony, garlicky vegetarian bites are an excellent starter, and they make a creative addition to a Thanksgiving menu. Bonus: You can use pumpkin purée left over from making pie!
- If you want to take a break from mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving, try our Pumpkin Risotto as a side dish. Sage and thyme bring the fall flavours, and it comes together quickly with very little stirring. Remarkably good with turkey, it can double as a main course for any vegetarians at the table.
- Swap out your usual chicken and make pumpkin the main event. Our sweet-and-savoury Pumpkin Curry stars fresh pumpkin, with canned chickpeas, Thompson raisins and slivered almonds playing strong supporting roles. Made mostly from fridge and pantry staples, this quick and easy curry is a great dinner option to have on Meatless Mondays or to bring to a potluck.
Don’t Forget the Seeds!
Before you throw out that mound of goop piled beside your jack-o’-lantern, save the seeds to make a delicious snack. First, remove as much of the pulp around the seeds as possible. Then transfer them to a colander for a good rinse under cold running water. Thoroughly dry the seeds with a paper towel — this will help them brown better — and toss them with oil and seasonings. Roast in a 160°C (325°F) oven until golden (the low temperature will keep the spices from burning before the seeds are golden and toasty). Try our Salty-Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
, and then experiment with different oils and spices. These tasty seeds are good seasoned with everything from garlic powder to smoked paprika to cinnamon sugar.