Pumpkin is one of the most criminally underused vegetables, considering its versatility. It’s perfect for curries, roast veggies, soups and its nutty taste even pairs well with desserts. It has a natural sweetness and a soft texture that makes it the perfect kitchen staple.
But it’s not just good for cooking – it’s good for your health, too. It packs a whopping 200% of your daily vitamin A needs in just one serve, which is essential for eye, skin and thyroid health, and with vitamin A deficiency being a major cause of blindness across the globe, it’s a good idea to load up on this nutrient. Pumpkin also brings in 35% of vitamin K needs and 22% of our daily vitamin E quota.
With so many benefits, we decided it’s time to get cooking with this wonder veggie. Here’s a list of some fun and unexpected ways to get the most out of your pumpkin.
Pumpkin and potato mash.
Everyone loves a good potato mash, but have you tried adding pumpkin to it? What you get is a slightly sweet, nutty flavour that elevates the dish to dinner party-worthy status. Simply boil potatoes as usual, but add in the hero of the dish – the pumpkin – and mash together. Add in some butter, salt and pepper and it’s good to go.
Our recommendation: Line a baking tray with baking paper, then heat some oil on a pan with garlic, celery, carrot and onions. Drop in some chickpeas, tomato paste and any spices of your choice and then generously spoon your pumpkin mash over the top. Add a little cheddar cheese on top and throw it in the oven. Now you have a vegetarian-style cottage pie with a twist. Best of all, it’s ready to eat in just 25 minutes.
Any list of veggie recipe ideas would be incomplete without a roast, and pumpkin happens to be the perfect contender for this dish. A little olive oil and salt creates a crisp outside and soft inside – just the way it should be. Add carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and onions for variety, plus rosemary, thyme and sage make for exceptional companions to light this dish up and bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin.
Our recommendation: Put a Japanese spin on your roast by adding a miso paste glaze. Simply mix miso paste, rice wine vinegar and a little maple syrup and brush it over your veggies. It’s the perfect mix of sweetness and umami flavour, plus it’s a nutritional powerhouse with the probiotic benefits of miso, paired with vitamin-packed pumpkin.
If you’re looking for something sweet after dinner, pumpkin may come to mind. But the smooth texture and light sweetness makes it the perfect addition to any dessert. Pumpkin pie is a hit in the US for good reason. But the recipe idea we’ve got for you is a little different to the traditional Autumn pie – it’s an unexpected pairing of cream cheese and pumpkin.
Pumpkin cheesecake is an unexpected winner for those with a sweet tooth. Simply prepare your cheesecake as per usual, with a biscuit base, followed by mixing cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract and any other ingredients of choice, then add in your pumpkin. Canned pumpkin works well for this as it saves you the effort of peeling and mashing the pumpkin. Some may add sugar, but the natural sweetness shines through without it. Pop it in the oven and wait for your mind to be blown.
Our recommendation: Add warming spices to your cheesecake to bring out the earthiness and sweetness of the pumpkin. Opt for cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
You’ve probably seen the classic pumpkin spice latte in an American movie or TV show and while it hasn’t quite hit it off across the globe yet, there’s no reason everyone else should miss out! It’s a warming, comforting drink that manages to balance sweetness with spice and, best of all, you can easily make it in your own kitchen. You’ll simply need to heat milk with pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. If you like it a little sweeter, feel free to add maple syrup in.
Our recommendation: Add a little bit of ginger for an extra kick and be sure to dust your drink with extra cinnamon.
We hope these recipe ideas have given you a little inspiration on how to make the most out of a humble veggie. Pumpkin is exploding with nutrients and flavour, so you really can’t go wrong when adding it to any dish. Check out the I Quit Sugar Sugar-Free Baking Cookbookfor all the best recipes with all of the taste and none of the sugar.
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