How to Cook Pumpkin: Recipes for Seeds, Pies, & MoreOctober 22nd, 2018
Pumped for pumpkin season? So are we. If there’s one iconic vegetable to ring in autumn, this golden ingredient is it, and from recipes to top products, we’ve got everything you need to let your pumpkin spice obsession shine!
What Are Pumpkins
Pumpkins are part of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants (as are squash and gourds). According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, this includes more than 900 species, from cucumbers to watermelons. They also note, “the term ‘pumpkin’ really has no botanical meaning, as they are actually all squash.” To make things extra confusing, “gourd” is the general term used for all plants in the genera Cucurbita (aka squash) family of plants, so pumpkins are also technically gourds. But rest assured, we don’t foresee anyone switching things up to call their jack-o-lantern anything but a pumpkin. It’s fun to know the facts, though!
And while we’re going over pumpkin trivia, here’s another common question: Is pumpkin a vegetable or a fruit? The answer is … fruit! This comes straight from Farmer’s Almanac, and if you’re curious as to why, the reason is because pumpkins are full of seeds. They might not grow as tree fruits like apples or pears, but pumpkins are fruits on the vine just the same.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Inside every can of pumpkin, you’ll find several beneficial nutrients:
- 1.7 mg iron (10% daily value)
- 3 grams dietary fiber (11% daily value)
- 31 mg calcium (2% daily value)
- 1 gram protein (1% daily value)
Cooking With Pumpkin
When it comes to cooking with pumpkin, there are two ways to go: canned, or freshly roasted. Is one option better than another? Not really, but it all depends on the quality of the can.
Cooking With Canned Pumpkin
When relying on canned pumpkin, check the ingredients list—pumpkin should be the only thing inside. Pure pumpkin (as opposed to pre-flavored pumpkin pie filling) is the most versatile, so from sweet to savory, you can add any flavors you want. Canned pumpkin is also consistent in texture, making it a great option for pie fillings that need to stay sturdy.
Cooking With Roasted Pumpkin
Roasting your own pumpkin takes a little effort, but there’s a big payoff. Want to cook pumpkin for pie? Just preheat your oven to 400°F, halve a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and roast cut-side down for about 45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and easily scoops out with a spoon. Once cooled, you can get baking, but there are lots of other uses, too. Add the flesh to a pot of curry, or smooth it out in a food processor for adding to batters and lattes. And don’t forget about the seeds! Roasted pumpkin seeds make great additions to soups and salads, or a stand-alone snack. Just read the section below for proof.
How to Cook Pumpkin Seeds
Whether you scoop the seeds yourself or start with a bag of raw pumpkin seeds, this makes for a perfect midday nosh. Here are two of our favorite, easy-as-pie recipes.
All the flavors of fall are roasted into every bite.
To expand your horizons, try for some Middle Eastern flavor.
Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with remaining ingredients and spread onto prepared baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until toasted; cool.
Stock Your Pantry With Pumpkin
Pumpkin isn’t just for autumn. Stock your pantry with these pumpkin-infused favorites to enjoy the flavors year-round.
With only one ingredient—vine-ripened organic pumpkin—the smooth texture and rich taste makes this a year-round pantry staple that’s Paleo and vegan.
Scooped from organic pumpkin, these seeds taste great straight from the bag, sprinkled over salads, or added to granola.
Gluten-free eaters will fall for this mix made with whole food ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, and coconut sugar. Make muffins or bread, it’s up to you!
For your sweet fix, try this bark with 80 percent dark chocolate that’s topped with quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a dash of sea salt.
Nutpods Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
Get your morning brew fall-ready with this pumpkin spice-flavored creamer. It’s Whole30-approved, and the packaging is made from 95 percent plant-based renewable raw materials.
Califia Farms Coconut Cream & Almondmilk Pumpkin Spice Creamer
Your daily pumpkin spice fix is easy to get with this coconut cream and almond milk blend. Add a splash to your coffee, tea, or even a bowl of oatmeal!
Natural Nectar Organic Pumpkin Seeds & Whole Grain Crispbreads
For an easy lunch or snack, pumpkin seed crackers are the way to go. Pile on the tuna, spread some hummus, or make a tartine with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. Each serving has 13g of whole grains to help you feel full.
Maple syrup, pumpkin, coconut, and a blend of spices give this granola an addicting flavor. It’s made with a blend of seeds, sprouted nuts, and dried figs for delicate sweetness.
Nummy Tum Tum Pamperin’ Pumpkin Blend
Give your four-legged friend some extra love with this pouch made with organic pumpkin, apples, and cranberries. Top dried food or use it as a travel treat.
Amara Pumpkin and Pear Baby Food
Give your littlest eater a taste of the season with this baby food blend. Pumpkin and pear, plus a dash of cinnamon, will be a household favorite.
DIY Pumpkin Spice Blend
For all the comforting flavors of fall, all you need to do is mix up a few warm spices. Here’s our foolproof blend for all your seasonal baking needs! Just combine all the ingredients below into a small jar and seal it for up to six months.
Pumpkins might take center stage in Thanksgiving desserts (recipes below!), but there’s a lot more you can do with this versatile ingredient.
Nothing says fall comfort food like a bowl of soup. This recipe blends canned pumpkin with vegetable stock, coconut milk, and a dash of reishi powder.
Meet everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. The colorful spuds get drizzled with a vegan rosemary gravy to top it off.
Savor the season in latte form, featuring the usual suspects of spices along with cold brew concentrate to give you the energy boost you need.
This vegan drink nixes espresso in favor of creamy coconut milk. It’s blended up with turmeric, vanilla extract, and raw honey for a perfectly balanced sip.
Morning, sunshine! This short stack is extra special thanks to a thick maple cream cheese filling you can spread between every layer. Perfect for brunch or a lazy Saturday morning!
Start your day with this filling smoothie that’s brimming with spices like cinnamon and ginger, plus dates for sweetness and real pumpkin.
Need a healthier option to enjoy at your next gathering? This hummus is our go-to app. Pair it with fresh veggies and pita chips, or add it to a grain bowl with brown rice, wilted greens, and avocado.
Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
You’ll love these fall flavored sweets to end your meal on a high note.
This isn’t your ordinary dessert. With a creamy hazelnut filling piped between two tender, pumpkin spice-flavored cookies, it’s a match made in sweet treat heaven.
Pumpkin bread is a fall baking staple. We whipped up a Paleo-friendly option using almond flour, coconut flour, lots of spices, and a whole can of real pumpkin.
Chia seeds are small but mighty! Stirred with creamy almond milk and fragrant spices, chia seeds bloom into a luscious, pumpkin-infused dessert that’s perfect for the season. A spoonful of energizing MCT oil adds a keto-friendly boost, too!
If you’re in charge of bringing a pie to Thanksgiving, we’ve got one the whole fam will love. The walnut and pecan crust adds extra nutty flavor, and the custard filling is sweetened with maple syrup.
Pumpkin pie, to go! This treat has all the classic flavors of this favorite seasonal dessert, but with the added bonus of being portable. The maple glaze is optional but highly recommended for extra fall vibes!
Plain ol’ peanut brittle gets a seasonal upgrade, and we’re not mad about the chocolate and sea salt coating, either. Your guests won’t be able to stop nibbling!