5 Ways to Cook Spooky Pumpkin
Halloween has passed, yet we still welcome all creatures of the night to cook up something spooky with us! While the mood is nightmarish, the dishes are not.
Falling into the habit of repetitively cooking the same or similar dishes is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but don't fret! We're here to ease the sorrow: every 2 weeks we're coming to you with 5 wonderful ways to use a seasonal vegetable or fruit in versatile ways.
Before we get started... what's up, pumpkin? We all know them, the smooth, slightly ribbed and brightly orange wonder balls, used for jack-o'-lanterns during Halloween, as soups, stews, curries, pies, as lattes, ... you name it. But do we really know them?
With more than 45 different varieties, pumpkins are far from boring, especially their names. Hokkaido is famous, but have you heard of Hooligan, Orange Smoothie and Cotton Candy yet?
Not only do they grow nearly everywhere, but they also grow large. The world's heaviest pumpkin was grown and presented in Germany in 2016 and weighed nearly a whopping 2600 pounds (≈ 1200 kg).
What do you make out of heavy pumpkins? Heavy pumpkin pie. The largest one ever baked weighs 1678 kg and was prepared by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, US in 2010.
Apart from that, pumpkins are splendid choices for a nice immune booster dinner during the cold and spooky season. They're low in calories and fat and high in beta-carotene (hence the orange colour) which our body turns into vitamin A. Not only is the pulp good for you, but also the seeds and flowers. Wild that you can eat it all.
And now onto the recipes:
600g pumpkin (ca. 1 Hokkaido pumpkin)
400g starchy potatoes
250g flour (more if needed)
1 tsp of salt
nutmeg (as desired)
optional, to serve: vegan parmesan, roasted pine nuts, sage, vegan butter/margarine
Cut your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and place it cut-side-down on the oven at 200 degrees until tender (ca. 45-60 minutes, depending on size). Let cool down a bit and mash the pulp until smooth in a bowl.
Boil your potatoes (with skin!) until tender. Peel and mash-up. (Pro-tip: rinse your potatoes with ice-cold water after cooking and the skin comes off almost by itself, use your hands to rub it off.)
Mix your pumpkin puree, mashed potatoes, flour, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl. Use a wooden spoon first, and then start kneading with your hands once a dough forms. (Don’t overmix! Otherwise, the gnocchi will be too chewy.)
Cut up your dough with a sharp knife into equal-sized pieces, roll the pieces into a long rope and cut the rope into gnocchi-sized bites (length and size are up to you) Optional: to get the gnocchi look, dust the gnocchi with some flour and press them against a fork.
Place your gnocchi on a floured baking tray to prevent them from sticking together. Optional: if you want to freeze a batch, place the (uncooked) gnocchi onto a tray that fits your freezer and let them hang out there until (almost) frozen. After, you can transfer them into a freezer bag.
Boil a large pot of water, add salt, and drop your gnocchi into the pot. Let them cook until they float on the surface (approx. 3-5 minutes depending on size)
Proceed as you like! You can toss your gnocchi immediately after cooking with pesto, sauce, etc. Or you can pan-fry them until crispy. (Pro-tip: use vegan butter to fry them up and add fresh sage towards the end of the frying process. Toast some pine nuts to serve and enjoy.)
recipe adapted from Bianca Zapatka
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Ingredients for 2-3 servings:
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, to taste (plus more for garnish)
2/3 cup strongly brewed hot coffee
Whisk together the almond milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until steam rises from the edges of the pan, about five minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the pumpkin pie spice and coffee.
Pour into mugs and sprinkle with a little pumpkin pie spice. Serve hot.
1 squash/pumpkin (ca. 600g)
1 medium sweet potato
2 medium-size onions
3 garlic cloves
Fresh herbs to taste (parsley, rosemary)
7 TBS olive oil
start by peeling the sweet potato and roughly cutting it into smaller pieces
Wash the pumpkin and cut it in big slices. In this stage, scope the seeds out and reserve. Leave the peel, it will be easier to peel it after cooked.
Cook the pumpkin and the sweet potato in water until fork tender
Meanwhile, chop the onions and the garlic.
Drain the pumpkin and the sweet potato. Peel the pumpkin slices carefully (it is hot!!).
Heat up 6 TBS olive oil in a pot and sauté the onions for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté both for other 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and sweet potato pieces and braise them for about 6 minutes, so they can incorporate the onion and garlic flavors.
Wash your pumpkin seeds and place them in a hot skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and cook them for about 7 minutes. Don’t stop stirring them/moving the skillet.
With the help of a mixer (or blender), blend the pumpkin and the sweet potato stew. Slowly add water until it reaches the soup consistency you want. Add the spices of your choice (salt, pepper, dry/fresh herbs) and blend further (for about 5 minutes).
Serve the soup into a dish and garnish with your fried seeds. Enjoy!
Extra: you can boost your meal with more sautéed vegetables. I steamed broccoli and sautéed it in garlic and black pepper. A vegan heavy cream also goes well with the pumpkin soup!
250g Pumpkin (of your choice, I used Butternut)
5 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Start off by cutting your pumpkin into small cubes and add it to boiling water. Let the pumpkin cook until it's soft. (It took 15 minutes for mine)
Add the pumpkin with the remaining ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth. (Make sure to let your pumpkin cool off a little bit if you are using a closed blender like a Nutribullet)
Let the spread rest in the fridge until it's completely cooled off.
Enjoy your homemade pumpkin spread garnished with sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
ca. 500g butternut squash
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cups water
optional: 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
16 ounces pasta of choice
Optional, for serving: thawed frozen peas, cooked kale, or roasted broccoli
Cook your pumpkin! Peel and cut into cubes, bring a large pot of water to a boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until fork tender. Drain.
Cook the pasta according to instructions (make sure not o overcook!)
For the "cheese": In a high powered blender, add the cooked butternut squash along with the cashews, 2 cups of water, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, dijon, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and salt. Blend until very smooth.
Add the cheese sauce to the pot with the cooked noodles. Stir constantly over low-medium heat for a minute or two until the sauce thickens a bit. Serve immediately.
recipe adapted from nora cooks