If you're anything like me, then the pumpkin spice latte has completely taken over your life. But what about all those other tasty recipes with pumpkin? Pumpkin pie is great and all, but I'm thinking more along the lines of overnight pumpkin spiced oats or even some good old-fashioned pumpkin soup.
If you are looking for some new ideas on how to get in that cozy fall feeling without just drinking coffee, check out this blog post!
The guide includes a recipe for every occasion: breakfast, lunch/dinner, dessert, and drinks!
We'll also detail cooking techniques so that no matter what kind of dish you want to make, it will come out perfect each time!
Tip: you can also use the puréed squash to make a creamy vegan butternut squash pasta.
Pumpkins are delicious and healthy vegetables that can be eaten in many different ways. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and varieties. Pumpkins are native to the Americas and Asia but have been introduced to other parts of the world, where they have become popular for their unique flavor and health benefits.
What does pumpkin taste like?
Pumpkin has a unique taste. It tastes somewhat like a sweet potato when cooked, but it brings out its natural nutty flavor when dried out in the oven or on the stovetop and roasted/spiced up. It is amazing how versatile this vegetable (actually considered a fruit) can be depending on who prepares it; Indian food tends to use more spices than American dishes, focusing more on pumpkin's creamy texture.
Are pumpkins a fruit or a vegetable?
Pumpkins are classified as a fruit, even though they're often used in savory recipes like pumpkin soup and roasted pumpkin dishes. This is because the part of the plant we eat (the fleshy orange sphere) contains seeds. From a botanist's standpoint, it is a fruit since it results from a flowering plant's seed-bearing structure. On the other hand, vegetables are plants' edible components such as leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, flowers, and tubers.
In general, squashes are classified as summer and winter squashes. Here we are going to talk about winter squashes which encompass most types of pumpkins.
Pumpkins are generally classified as a vegetable because they are less sweet and savory from a culinary standpoint.
What types of pumpkins exist?
There are many different varieties of pumpkins, such as Cinderella or Fairy Tale Pumpkins, that can be found at your local pumpkin patch for decoration during fall. Pumpkins' pies are what you will usually find around Thanksgiving.
Sugar pumpkins, Hokkaido pumpkins, Acorn squash, and butternut squash are the varieties that work best when roasted but are also great boiled and cut into cubes before adding to other recipes like our roasted pumpkin risotto!
Lastly, winter squash like Hubbard or Large Cheese pumpkins is more commonly found at the grocery store since they're used to make soup. These work great steamed or boiled and can also be made into a pumpkin puree, perfect for baking and preparing breakfast treats!
This is another type of pumpkin that works well when steamed or boiled, just like sugar pumpkin. Great for making soup, eating their rinds, making pumpkin pie, sweet recipes, and desserts. So yes, they are also pie pumpkins! When I use this kind, I boil the pumpkin halves or big pumpkin chunks, with the rinds on, then eat them after draining. I use the resulting orange water (and skins) to make soup, as they are super soft, tasty, and full of nutrients.
Another member of the pie pumpkins. These pumpkins are great for making soup since they're larger and have thick skin.
Hubbard or Large Cheese Pumpkins work best when steamed or boiled but can also be microwaved for a creamy texture. They're perfect to be made into a "pumpkin" puree which is excellent when baking!
Great for roasting and tastes great when steamed. Just like sugar pumpkins, they are sweet. They are usually found around the holiday season, so it makes a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dinner! You can consider them pie pumpkins as well. Another pie "pumpkin" yey!
Uchiki Kuri Pumpkins
These pumpkins are small but work well when cooked since they're very flavorful. Great for soups and other dishes where you want a creamy texture! Just like Hokkaido pumpkin, it is a winter squash, it is orange, part of the Hubbard family and its skin is very thin and edible.
Like a pumpkin, the white variety is perfect for baked goods and desserts, just like sugar pumpkin. It can also be steamed or boiled then made into your own pumpkin puree, which works great in pies!
They are smaller than regular ones (up to three pounds) and work great when making roasted pumpkin!These pumpkins are small and cute! Great for decoration around Halloween, you can also use this pureed pumpkin for pumpkin pie or other dishes.
Jack-o'-lantern pumpkins are a tiny heirloom cultivar that has been developed specifically to be carved into jack-o'-lanterns. The pumpkin is ribbed and has an intense orange color. They weigh 8 pounds and are 10 inches tall. It can also be consumed as food, to make pumpkin puree, baked pumpkin, or in your favorite pumpkin recipes, and it is also considered a pie pumpkin.
Carving pumpkins to make the famous Halloween heads is a tradition in the US.
How to cook with pumpkin
You can eat pumpkin raw (although not recommended) or cook it with some oil, spices, onions, and garlic for a tasty dish. There are so many delicious recipes out there from around the world!
Here we will explore how to cook a pumpkin and what dishes you should try, including this versatile and popular autumn vegetable into your diet!
Pumpkins have been used in food for centuries. From the days of the pilgrims to modern-day America, people have eaten pumpkin products and loved them.
How do I pick the best pumpkin?
When selecting a pumpkin at your local grocery store or farmer's market, look for one that feels heavy and firm to the touch. The pumpkin's surface should be free from bruises and cuts; you'll know immediately if it is ripe or not by checking for these factors!
Tips for Cooking with Pumpkin
Pumpkin can be cooked into different dishes that taste amazing! It is best when you choose a medium-sized pumpkin because it will be easier to peel.
Large pumpkins can be difficult to handle, and small pumpkins can leave you with a minimal amount of usable flesh. If you are using a whole pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in half, and remove all the seeds, to handle it more easily.
The pumpkin's skin should not have any bruises since this could cause your dish to spoil quickly. Once you know how you would like to eat your pumpkin, it's time for some cooking tips:
To roast a pumpkin, cut off both ends of the pumpkin. With a spoon or ice cream scoop, remove all seeds from the inside of the pumpkin halves. Cut the pumpkin in half, wedges, or cubes. You can choose to use parchment paper or simply slightly oil the baking dish.
Line a parchment-lined baking sheet and place the pumpkin half face down.
Roast a pumpkin at 350 ºF (175 ºC) for about an hour or until fork tender (take out of the oven and let cool).
You can cook them for a little longer if you want to make puréed pumpkin.
You can also cut off both ends of the pumpkin, scoop out all seeds and pulp from inside. Season your pumpkin to taste, then grill on medium heat for 20 minutes. This will leave you with a grilled flavor that is perfect when added to soups or salads! You could even add this into cornbread baked goods as well!
Since pumpkins are watery fruits, they work great when boiled or steamed and make pumpkin puree. Just wash them thoroughly before cooking, so no dirt remains on your vegetable after boiling.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the pumpkin pieces. Cook until tender (time varies depending on size). The skin should be effortless to remove once cooked through.
You can make your homemade pumpkin puree by adding all boiled pieces into a blender or food processor for the creamy texture you are looking for when making recipes with this vegetable!
Steaming pumpkin is another great option if you want something healthy but still quick to prepare, and it also works for making pumpkin puree.
Just cut off both ends, scoop out seeds/pulp from inside, then steam in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish covered with a lid for about 15 minutes.
This will leave you with moist flavor without any added oil, so it's an excellent way to cook pumpkins in less time than other methods mentioned here and is great to make pumpkin purée for pumpkin pies because they don't absorb all the water from a pumpkin that has been boiled. Hence, the result is a denser puréed pumpkin than you would get from boiling the pumpkin.
This method works great if you want to make pumpkin puree.
Baked pumpkin is one of the most common ways to prepare pumpkins. This method of cooking is more involved but gives you a soft texture that some people prefer.
Cut the skin off, clean out seeds/pulp, place on a baking sheet with foil, and cut side up (you may want to add some olive oil or salt before roasting).
Bake at 400 degrees F (200 ºC) for about an hour until it's tender. You could even roast these together with other veggies like carrots if desired!
Boiling pumpkin is another great option if you want something healthy but still quick to prepare. Cut off both ends with a sharp knife, scoop out seeds and pulp from inside, then cover in water and boil for 15-20 minutes. It will take less or longer if whether you decide to leave the skins on and how big you cut the pumpkin chunks.
If you use this method for pumpkin pies, as we usually do, I recommend you drain all the water for 10 minutes in a colander to drain off the excess water. This way, the result is a denser puréed pumpkin than you would get from boiling the pumpkin.
How to cook pumpkin in the microwave
This cooking method is very similar to baking, but it saves you time and energy by using the microwave. However, I don't recommend it, because cooking in the microwave is just not healthy!
If you decide to go for this method, just add cleaned pumpkin pieces on a microwavable plate. Add water at least an inch (2 cm) above your pumpkin so it won't dry out while cooking for about ten minutes or until tender. You can use this same basic style when making recipes that call for pureeing cooked pumpkins after boiling/steaming!
How to cook pumpkin cubes
One of the easiest methods for cooking pumpkin is simply by cubing it up. You can boil or steam them first, then use them in recipes that call for cooked puree-style pumpkins! This method works well when you are looking to serve slices of pumpkin on a side dish too.
How to cook pumpkin on stovetop
- Clean the pumpkin with a clean cloth.
- Remove all stems and cut down to size pieces you need for your dish. You can also remove the stringy insides of pumpkins. This is optional, though, as it does not affect taste or health benefits in any way.
- Place the pumpkin on the stovetop over medium heat, allow it to cook until soft enough that you would be able to poke through with a fork or sharp object easily. This will take approximately 20 minutes depending on how large the chunks are but don't leave them unattended because they could burn quickly if left alone! Once cooked thoroughly, remove from the heat source and set aside until cooled entirely before eating/serving/adding additional ingredients, which might cause them to heat up again.
- Serve on their own for a healthy, low-calorie dessert, or include them in your favorite recipes! Pumpkin is also great roasted and used as the base of a soup, stew, chilies, and other dishes. You can even use pumpkin instead of tomato sauce to reduce calories without sacrificing taste!
Homemade pumpkin puree
If you are asking yourself: How do I make pumpkin puree? You have come to the right place. That's why I am deliberately choosing to separate this topic as pumpkin puree is a topic on its own.
You can choose to cook the fresh pumpkin with your preferred method before mashing it. We recommend either baking, boiling, or steaming the pumpkin. Below are the pros and cons of each technique.
Bear in mind that to accelerate the process with any method, cutting the pumpkin into medium to small chunks will help, but it can be challenging to remove the skin. So, if you plan on cutting it down to small pieces, I recommend starting with the peels off.
Homemade pumpkin puree can be made in several ways. You can use your roasted fresh pumpkin pieces to make a purée. Just scoop out the cooked pumpkin and place it in a blender or food processor with some of its cooking liquid (or water) until a creamy texture is achieved!
You can also simply use the potato masher or fork to turn it into a chunky pumpkin puree.
You may want to add salt, pepper, seasonings like cinnamon and nutmeg for added flavor (we love eating it on its own). Enjoy as desired, whether it be on toast, baked goods, or just by itself!
- Boiling - is the faster method, but you need to consider that the pumpkin will absorb some water, so it would be good to drain the pumpkin in a colander for 5-10 minutes before mashing it into a purée.
- Baking - will take more time, but the flavor will be more intense, and they will not absorb water. If you have the time, this is an excellent method to cook your pumpkin before mashing it.
- Steaming - it is relatively fast, and the pumpkin will not absorb water. It is my favorite method, as you can also eat the pumpkin immediately or proceed with mashing it. Use an in-saucepan metal colander or an electric steamer.
How to store pumpkin puree
If you cook your pumpkin and decide to store it for future usage, make sure that the storage container is air-tight. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
You can use freezer bags or an ice cube tray with lids - this way, you will have portions ready anytime! If using a freezer bag, press out as much air as possible before sealing. Label the date of storage.
It's best to use fresh pumpkins within three months for optimal taste and quality.
How to cook pumpkin seeds
- After you have cooked your pumpkin to make a delicious dish, simply because it is fall and pumpkins are everywhere! You'll notice the seeds are still attached inside.
- Take these seeds out of their shells by hand before washing them in water. Some stringy insides will attach to the seeds, which can be removed easily if done soon after cooking when they're soft enough to do so.
- Place on a paper towel for drying off while making the seasoning mixture over the stovetop until all excess moisture has evaporated entirely before moving on to the next step. If not adequately dried, spices and seasonings could dissolve once added, which would affect taste profiles quite a bit!
- Once dry, place in oven at 350 ºF (175 ºC) until dried completely and crunchy. This should take approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on how much moisture is in the seeds. If you do not have an oven, place it in a pan over the stovetop with your oil of choice to allow them to crisp up while being cooked instead!
- Spices can be used to add a bit of flavor; seeds are great when they're roasted and salted. Adding garlic powder, onion powder, or cayenne pepper is always a delicious way to enjoy them!
- Add in salads for extra nutrition. Make your chips from dried-out seeds by placing them into hot oil until crispy!
Can you eat raw pumpkin seeds
Yes! They might be tastier when roasted, but I also love eating their raw seeds! They have more of a nutty flavor.
How to cook pumpkin leaves
They are typically discarded because most people don't eat them or know what to do with them.
Pumpkin leaves have a distinct taste and texture, often bitter, but some find it enjoyable if appropriately prepared!
The Pumpkin leaves are usually cooked using oil/vegan butter before eating for best results. This will help remove some bitterness that may otherwise remain after cooking without adding additional flavor profiles into your dish.
Before you cook pumpkin leaves, make sure all the stems are removed by hand first since sharp objects like knives could damage the leaf itself, causing potential health risks later down the line once the stem has been cut off, rinse in water thoroughly until there's no more dirt or grime left on leaves.
After they've been cleaned, place in a pot over medium heat with oil/vegan butter and cook until tender; using salt for seasoning is optional but recommended!
Leaves can be added to soup, stew, chilies, and other dishes that require cooking the pumpkin itself before eating it! Leafy greens taste great when cooked down with tomatoes, so keep this idea in mind if you want to try something new!
How to cook pumpkin flowers
Pumpkin flowers can be cooked in a variety of ways, but the most common way is to fry them with oil and salt.
Take out the stamen (the pointy bit at the center) before cooking to ensure it doesn't poke through your mouth while enjoying this delicious treat!
If you're looking for something more unique than frying, you can also try using these flowers in your salads or even to create flower-shaped garnishes for desserts!
There are a variety of pumpkin flowers to choose from, so experiment with different types if you're feeling adventurous! They are widely consumed in Mexico and Italy.
What do I need to know about using canned pumpkins?
You should always choose organic if possible since they aren't sprayed heavily with pesticides like other fruits and vegetables that are non-organic might be.
Add your favorite spices (oregano, rosemary) before baking/roasting/grilling pumpkins. There is no need to add any extra ingredients after opening cans which saves time and money!
You can also consider adding some sweetener, brown sugar, or butter to your canned pumpkin before baking/roasting/grilling if you want additional flavors.
How long does canned pumpkin last?
Canned pumpkin lasts for about two years on average before expiring, depending upon the storage conditions. However, if opened, you want to make sure that you store your pumpkin puree in an airtight container or sealed jar and use it within a few days of the opening. Therefore, avoid contaminating other food items with moisture from the pumpkin could lead them to go bad quickly.
When and how to eat pumpkin
Should I stick to eating it only during the fall months or throughout all seasons?
Pumpkin season in the northern hemisphere goes from September to November. The season in Australia, Argentina, and the southern hemisphere, in general, goes from March to June.
Pumpkin is highly versatile, so feel free to eat it however you wish, whether raw, dried, cooked, or in a variety of different dishes. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber and beta carotene, which can help improve your vision when eaten regularly!
It's best to drink pumpkin juice throughout the winter months because it will give you an extra boost of Vitamin A that can be difficult to find elsewhere during this time.
We like using it for baking delicious treats such as pies and bread. Enjoy making these recipes yourself if you're looking for something new!
When preparing pumpkins, always remember they should be cut into slices before steaming or boiling so the insides become soft enough to eat without having too much trouble cutting through rugged areas!
What spices do I use?
This depends on what you want to do with pumpkin seeds. The best spices are garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or salt if they're just being roasted!
We love using thyme, rosemary, and salt to roast pumpkin. It DE-LI-CIOUS!
You can also use more exotic flavors like curry powder if preferred for an Indian-themed dish instead of American flavors that may be present in most recipes already, including cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pumpkin is very versatile, so it's up to your tastes as well; feel free to try anything new, especially since there aren't any right/wrong answers when trying something new!
What if I don't like pumpkin? Is there a way around this?
It is possible not to enjoy pumpkins taste at first but usually, it grows on people after several tries; cooking them can also improve the taste!
Different dishes will require other cooking times and spices to enhance their flavor, so you might not like one dish but enjoy another recipe that uses similar ingredients.
Pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, or grilled, which all positively affect its overall texture when consumed; try experimenting with these methods, and different spices, if possible, to see what results you get for yourself!
Pumpkin Recipes Around the World
You can also try pumpkin recipes outside of Thanksgiving dinner. There's plenty more to enjoy this vegetable with than just the traditional candied sweet treat everyone loves so much.
American Foods Recipe - Pumpkin Pancakes and pumpkin muffins, including ingredients such as all-purpose flour (maida, its Hindi name, or Type 00, as known in Italy), baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and white sugar.
Italian-inspired Food Recipes - Stuffed Roasted pumpkin or squash cut in half to make a pocket for stuffing with chopped onions sautéed in olive oil over low heat until tender but not brown; cooked rice that has been seasoned with grated vegan cheese and parsley then mixed into the mixture of crumbled tofu or TVP (texturized vegetable protein), tomato sauce, garlic cloves minced fine, salt pepper sage leaves dried bay leaf. Serve hot!
What are some recipes?
There are many different recipes, including Indian dishes such as curry and American desserts like pumpkin pie. The next time you buy pumpkins looks up some new ways to cook them because these vegetables can be used in more than just pies or jack-o-lantern pumpkins this Halloween!
Here are just a few of the most popular dishes that you can make with this versatile vegetable:
Indian Pumpkin Curry
Cut the pumpkin into cubes for this savory recipe, boil until tender, and add all curry ingredients. Cook 15 minutes and serve over basmati rice. Easy when you have guests or if cooking in bulk! We will be posting our recipe soon!
Steam boiled pumpkin until easily mashed but not too soft. Add vegan butter/oil, nutmeg, salt pepper, and other spices such as thyme and garlic powder to taste (add milk to thin out the soup). You could even use your homemade pumpkin puree in place of canned soups for a healthier option! Check out our Pumpkin Tahini Soup, which is a perfect treat during the fall season.
You need a pie pumpkin variety (see below). A small sugar pumpkin should be enough. Mix canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree with other pie ingredients (pumpkin spice mix, cornstarch, sweetener, etc.)
Fill your homemade pastry dough with the pumpkin pie mix (pie filling), and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius) until the crust is golden brown. There you have it; a healthy version of everyone's favorite Thanksgiving dessert that will make anyone think they are cheating while still feeling like they ate something nutritious! Check out the best pumpkin pie recipe on our site, and it is vegan and delicious! You can also find here a vegan pie crust that you will love!
The best pumpkin varieties for this delicious pie are sugar pumpkin, Hokkaido, and green pumpkin.
Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte
Heat water/milk in a pot until just before boiling. I'd recommend you make homemade pumpkin puree, plant milk, and pumpkin spice mix. Otherwise, add organic canned pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger powder, cardamom powder, ground cloves, or allspice (to taste), sweetener to desired sweetness level if preferred. You can also simply use our recipe!
Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
Mix one cup of oats, half a cup of pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin or fresh), two teaspoons of pumpkin spice mix, and sweetener. Our recipe features crispy, maple-caramelized walnuts, on top of a perfectly crafted pumpkin spice scented overnight oats, and homemade pumpkin purée. Seriously, you can't miss it! Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Granola Recipe
Mix the pumpkin and maple granola recipe ingredients, such as nuts, seeds, and cereals. Stir until evenly coated, bake on low heat for 20-25 minutes, cool down, and add your favorite dry fruit like raisins and cranberries.
Store in a mason jar and enjoy.
What I like the most about spaghetti squash because it's a healthy alternative to pasta, and I can make a whole meal out of this one vegetable! The inner side of the squash literally looks like spaghetti.
You just need to halve it, and there it is. Just remove seeds. Boil or steam until soft enough to mash with a fork (about 15 minutes). Make sure you don't overcook, as it will turn into mush!
Mix in your favorite sauce from canned tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic powder/salt/pepper, onion powder, then top off with vegan parmesan cheese if desired.
This recipe uses simple ingredients but comes out just as good as any other meat-based spaghetti dish you've had before so give it a try soon!
We recently discovered pumpkin bread, and now we can't stop baking it. Coming out with the perfect recipe for your guys soon is one of our priorities, so stay tuned! Spoiler! It is a little sweet, so it is better to eat at breakfast.
Roasted Butternut Squash
It is not precisely a pumpkin, but it is a type of squash that tastes, and recipe applications are pretty similar. I use them interchangeably.
First, slice the squash in half, then remove the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and spices such as salt, thyme, and rosemary. Roast on high heat until soft enough to easily stab with a fork or knife (about 30 minutes).
See our roasted squash recipe.
What are the health benefits?
Aside from tasting great, pumpkins are very healthy and low in calories. These vegetables contain fiber, Vitamins A/C, and potassium (which helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure). Pumpkin has been known to help with digestion and even relieve stress!
The health benefits of pumpkin are vast. Pumpkin is excellent for your skin and hair because it contains beta carotene, which helps regenerate cells! This fruit/vegetable helps prevent aging, so feel free to eat pumpkin throughout the year without worrying about potential adverse effects.
It's also high in fiber, water content, and antioxidants that help fight off toxins from entering your body during digestion; this process can promote weight loss when eaten regularly if preferred over other vegetables/fruits with similar properties.
5 benefits of pumpkin you didn't know:
- Helps reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease - Promotes healthy vision with its high levels of beta carotene.
- Controls blood sugar, making it beneficial for diabetics or those at risk for diabetes to eat regularly without worrying about their condition worsening.
- It contains significant amounts of vitamin C, which helps fight off infections such as colds and flu!
- Natural diuretic properties help rid the body of excess fluid.
- The high potassium content helps prevent water retention, which is why it makes a great addition to any detox. Check our kitchari mung beans detox recipe as well as our detox juice. Both delicious!
And I'll give you another one, to make them 6!
Pumpkins are great for your brain health due to their high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that protect.
Common questions about the pumpkin
Below are some excellent tips and common FAQs about pumpkins and squashes.
Can you eat pumpkin rind?
Technically, you can eat the rinds of almost every variety of squash and pumpkin; however, some varieties' skins are too rigid and would take too long to cook and soften. As a result, the pumpkin flesh will be ready well before the skin. My favorites edible skins are the Hokkaido and sugar Pumpkin varieties.
Can you eat pumpkin raw?
The short answer is yes. However, some varieties may need to be steamed or boiled first to soften them up enough for you to enjoy eating them raw on their own!
So, no, it's not recommended to eat raw pumpkin either because the flesh is too tough. It can be challenging to digest and will most likely cause stomach problems if consumed in its raw form!
Can you eat pumpkin seeds?
Yes, depending on the variety, it will be easier or more challenging to prepare the seeds. Butternut squash seeds are easier and faster to cook than pumpkin seeds. See above how to cook pumpkin seeds.
There are so many delicious dishes and recipes that can be made with pumpkin, both savory and sweet. Who doesn't love a good pie? Or maybe you prefer something more on the spicy side like our Pumpkin Curry or our delicious Pumpkin Tahini Soup.
Whatever recipe your family likes best, we recommend starting by making your own homemade pumpkin puree as it is the base for most of these dishes.
Making your own means no added sugar or salt has to be added into the dish because what goes in comes out!
Plus, this way, you know exactly what ingredients went into its creation—no mystery flavors here! So, start getting creative with all things pumpkin and let us know how they turned out when fall rolls around again next year (and the year after that).