Pumpkin’s earthy, mild sweetness makes it a versatile ingredient in more than just pumpkin bread and pie. It’s just as effective as a pizza topping, tossed with pasta, and puréed into soups. These are the nine of our favorite savory recipes to celebrate pumpkin season the way it was intended (no disrespect meant to the pumpkin spice latte’s many fans).
The plump pumpkins sitting on your doorstep might look pretty, but their flesh tends to be bland and stringy. When cooking, reach for smaller sugar pumpkins or kabocha squash. One of the best ways to prepare either is by roasting, which concentrates the sweet, earthy flavor—and one of the best ways to put it to use once you’re done is this pizza. The name may sound gimmicky, but the combination of ingredients—mashed roasted pumpkin and sautéed pumpkin cubes, apple, sage, and a trio of gooey melted cheeses—is balanced and perfectly appropriate for fall.
It takes a long time to roast a pumpkin until it’s tender—this recipe calls for an hour and a half in the oven—but the rich, caramelized sweetness that the pumpkin develops as a result makes it all worthwhile. That deepening of flavor makes strong spices, like cinnamon and cloves, unnecessary in this warming, golden soup. We do add a little maple syrup, which complements the sautéed leeks and onions without turning the soup into a dessert.
If you’re short on time, sautéing cubed sugar pumpkin is a great way to add a little color and flavor without nearly as much effort as roasting entails. Once you’ve cut up the pumpkin, this one-pot pasta dish is a breeze to make. The pasta goes straight into the skillet with the browned squash, followed by hearty lacinato kale, which cooks until wilted. To finish, just drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano right before serving.
If you have strong feelings about cornbread, you probably fall on one side of a very clear divide: sweet, Northern-style bread, or traditionally unsweetened Southern-style. This moist, lightly orange-hued bread manages to straddle that line: It leans a bit closer to Northern-style, with enough sugar to support the squashy sweetness of the pumpkin, but it isn’t at all dessert-like. That makes it just as good for accompanying a main course, like a soup or chili, as it is spread with butter and jam for breakfast.
Though kabocha squash isn’t the same as pumpkin, its flavor is so similar (and, as mentioned above, its texture often preferable) that it makes a totally adequate substitute. Like our pumpkin pizza, this lasagna incorporates both roasted and sautéed squash for lots of squash flavor and contrasting texture. The roasted batch is puréed with cream cheese, then layered with a squash and apple sauté, a thick béchamel, and no-bake lasagna noodles for the richest, creamiest fall casserole imaginable.
While the flesh of carved pumpkins isn’t great for eating, the seeds are another story. Wash and dry them, toss them with a little oil and seasonings, then roast for an addictive, crunchy snack. You don’t need anything beyond salt and pepper to flavor them, but we’ve got nine tasty variations, featuring flavor combinations like browned butter and sage or soy sauce and furikake, if you want to spice them up.
For a combination of warmth and fall in a bowl, make this Korean porridge. Traditionally, the dish uses a Korean pumpkin called neulgeun hobak, but since it can be difficult to find, butternut squash serves as a fine substitute. The squash is mixed with chestnuts, sweet potatoes, jujubes, and beans in a Dutch oven, all of which can be mashed and mixed with water until it reaches your preferred consistency. Serve hot or room temperature for a comforting meal at any time of day.
This yeasted pumpkin bread is the perfect way to take your sandwich game up a notch. The soft and chewy bread is simply a white sandwich loaf that uses pumpkin purée instead of water. Despite its vibrant color, the purée’s flavors are mild, giving the bread a subtle earthiness. It’s as perfect for a grilled cheese as it for French toast, bread pudding, or some morning toast with butter and jam.
There’s more a vegetarian can enjoy on Thanksgiving and other holidays than tofurkey or a huge plate of sides. This stuffed pumpkin is a show-stopping option. The filling is made up of mushrooms, kale, pepitas, pecans, Gruyère, spiced cream, and kabocha squash, which intensifies the pumpkin’s flavor. Once roasted, the pumpkin serves as a flavor-packed meatless main that even the omnivores will want to get their hands on.
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