With the coming of October it is truly starting to feel like fall. We are known to boycott all things fall (and pumpkin flavored) until summer is truly over, but now the season is here! The time for pumpkin is in full swing - from festive home decor to pumpkin flavored foods and beverages, there are just so many ways to enjoy this gorgeous bright orange squash. Our recipe this week is a great example of how pumpkin can spice up your fall cuisine. But first, more on pumpkin!
Pumpkin is a variety of squash though has more non-edible uses than any other squash we know (jack-o-lanterns anyone!). When being used in the kitchen smaller pumpkins, named "sugar" or "pie pumpkins", should be chosen because of their firm sweet flesh instead of the large pumpkins better suited for carving. Canned pumpkin puree is easy and readily available this time of year but making from scratch is pretty simple and more festive. Simply cut, roast, scoop and puree the pumpkin flesh until smooth. As far as taste, pumpkin alone is pretty mild and lightly sweet. When people crave the classic pumpkin "taste" they are likely thinking of pumpkin pie spice which is a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and sometimes lemon peel. So if you are making something with pumpkin puree and the taste isn't the way you want it, we suggest adding these spices (or a pre-made spice blend) to your liking. As far as nutritional value, pumpkin is high in fiber, low in carbohydrate and total calories, and loaded with vitamin A. Oh and don't forget the seeds! Packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, minerals, and of course great taste. Seeds can be separated from the flesh and roasted to enjoy as a festive snack during pumpkin season. Our recipes below will guide you in detail through pumpkin preparation!
Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats
PREP TIME: 1 hour 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes
2 cups pureed pumpkin (homemade or canned pumpkin would also work)
2 cups water
1 cup steel cut oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened soy milk or other milk of your choice + 2 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup pepitas or homemade roasted seeds (1 Tbsp per bowl)
Caramelized Maple Pears with Hemp Seeds
2 cups diced pears
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
Pinch of sea salt
To make pumpkin puree first preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut pie pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and set aside. Place pumpkin flat side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 35-45 minutes or until soft. Allow pumpkin to cool prior to scooping out the “meat”. To make simple pumpkin puree, blend in a blender or food processor until smooth. For pumpkin oatmeal recipe add 2 cups cooked pumpkin, 2 cups water, and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to a blender and blend on high until smooth. This is your pumpkin water used to cook the oatmeal.
To prepare oatmeal, add spiced pumpkin water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup steel cup oats to the boiling pumpkin water, leave uncovered, and reduced to a simmer. Continue cooking for 30-35 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and oats are soft. While the oatmeal is cooking, dice pears and add to a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp hemp seed, and a pinch of sea salt then stir to combine. Continue cooking pears making sure to stir often until soft and edges are lightly golden, ~5-7 minutes. Ladle oatmeal into a bowl, add a swirl of sweetened milk, caramelized pears, pepitas, and an optional drizzle of maple syrup if desired. Serve warm. Leftover oatmeal can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. When ready to eat add milk, pears, and pepitas and either warm in the microwave or on the stove top.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
Serving: Depends on how many seeds your pumpkin had! A small pie pumpkin will generally have ¼- ½ cup seeds
1 Tbsp oil for every 1/2 cup seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt for every 1/2 cup seeds
To make roasted pumpkin seeds first rinse seeds and allow to fully dry. Tossing seeds in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel can speed up the drying process. Add 1-2 Tbsp oil (we choose ghee) and sea salt or other flavorings of your choice. Mix with hands to make sure seeds are evenly covered in oil and seasoning. Roast in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Make sure to stir the seeds mid-way through cooking time and watch the seeds the last couple of minutes as they can burn fast. Allow seeds to cool to room temperature then store in an air tight container. Seeds will keep for 1-2 weeks or longer if kept in the fridge.
Welcome pumpkin into our hearts and bellies. This oatmeal is so comforting and satisfying on a crisp fall morning. The spiced pumpkin with maple syrup, soft candied pears, and crunchy seeds combine wonderfully to showcase pumpkin for this fall dish. We hope we've inspired you to get creative with pumpkin in the kitchen this month and can't wait to see what you create. Please share!
Jess and Cecelia
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Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.