More than just decoration, pumpkin packs nutritional punch. This season, expand your thinking and take advantage of pumpkin’s rich offerings. Try these creative ways to include America’s favorite fall fruit in your Thanksgiving menu planning.
Pumpkin Quinoa Pancakes
MAKES 12 TO 16
Serve these delicious and filling pancakes with warm maple syrup. They reheat beautifully in the microwave.
1¾ cups buttermilk (or milk of choice + 1
tablespoon lemon juice added)
¾ cup quinoa flakes
½ cup flax gel*
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Mix buttermilk into quinoa and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in remaining wet ingredients and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet ones. If batter is too thick, add low-fat milk to thin out.
3. Lightly grease a griddle and drop batter onto it, using 3 tablespoons per pancake. Cook as you would any pancake. Serve with maple syrup or cranberry sauce.
Yummy Pumpkin Cheesecake
MAKES ONE 10-INCH CAKE
Serve this cheesecake with a dollop of whipped cream or dairy-free whipped topping. For best results, do not substitute the eggs.
1½ cups gluten-free gingersnap crumbs [To make your own cookie crumbs, see the recipe for
Ginger-Molasses Cookies below.]
8 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter substitute, melted
2 pounds cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese substitute, softened
1½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon orange rind, grated
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks
2 cups sour cream or dairy-free sour cream
1 pound pumpkin puree
1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To make crust, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter together. Press mixture into a 10-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool while making the filling.
3. Lower oven temperature to 250 degrees.
4. Make filling by creaming together cream cheese and sugar until very fluffy. Add eggs and yolks one at a time and beat well. Beat in remaining ingredients.
5. Pour filling into the spring form pan and bake for 2 to 3 hours until the top is golden and cheesecake is set like a custard.
6. Turn oven off, open the door ajar and leave cheesecake in the oven for an hour before removing. Cool and refrigerate.
MAKES 5 DOZEN
Crush these cookies to make a delicious crust for pies or cheesecake.
1⅔ cups gluten-free all purpose flour blend of choice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
1¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter or dairy-free butter substitute, melted
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 large egg
1. Preheat at 350 degrees. Line a lightly greased cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk gluten-free flour, spices, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together in a separate bowl.
3. Mix melted butter, sugar and molasses together. Beat in the egg.
4. Slowly stir dry ingredients into melted butter mixture.
5. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll it into 2-inch thick logs. Wrap in plastic wrap. (Dough will be sticky.) Refrigerate for several hours.
6. Remove plastic wrap and slice logs ¼ to ⅓-inch thick. Press both sides into more granulated white sugar. Place on cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.
7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely, then transfer to a rack. Store in airtight container.
Pumpkin Cornmeal Scones
MAKES 24 SMALL SCONES
Combining cornmeal and pumpkin makes these scones very moist and yummy.
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
½ cup gluten-free cornmeal
¼ cup almond flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free butter replacement, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup yogurt or dairy-free yogurt
½ cup golden raisins or dried cranberries, plumped, optional
½ cup lightly toasted pecans, optional
Cream or milk of choice, to brush on before baking
Cinnamon + sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Whisk multi-grain mix, cornmeal, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, xanthan gum, and salt together in a bowl.
3. Add butter and using your fingertips, pinch butter into dry ingredients. Work butter in until you have a coarse meal.
4. Make a well. Break egg into the well. Add honey, pumpkin puree and yogurt. Using a fork, begin mixing wet ingredients together and then slowly incorporate dry ingredients. Add more yogurt if needed to form a soft but not wet dough.
5. Remove from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Press into a flat cake about 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the dough.
6. Place scones on a cookie sheet. Brush with some cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
7. Bake on second-to-bottom shelf for 12-15 minutes. When done, bottom of scones should be golden brown.
Coconut Pumpkin Soup
SERVES 10 TO 12
Any orange-fleshed squash can replace pumpkin in this recipe, which would make the taste slightly more delicate. Don’t omit straining the soup at the end if you like a creamy-silky texture. Lite coconut milk can be used for lower fat content and a more subtle coconut taste.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or margarine or dairy-free butter substitute
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds pumpkin, cubed
1 pound sweet potato, cubed
1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 leek, cleaned and coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
1-2 teaspoons red curry paste
4-inch piece of fresh lemon grass, smashed with the back of the knife
6 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
Pumpkin seed pesto, as garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put butter and oil in a roasting pan and melt butter in the oven. Put pumpkin, sweet potatoes, onions, leek and garlic in the pan and toss, coating everything with butter and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil. Cook in the oven until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.
3. Put cooked vegetables, their cooking juices, ginger, lime juice, red curry paste, lemon grass, vegetable broth and coconut milk into a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Remove lemon grass. Puree soup and strain. If soup is too thick, use more vegetable broth. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a dollop of pumpkin pesto.
Creamy Pumpkin Risotto
SERVES 4 TO 6
Try leftover risotto shaped into 3-inch patties, coated with gluten-free bread or cracker crumbs and fried in olive oil or butter.
1¼ cups diced pumpkin (¼-inch pieces)
3-4 cups gluten-free chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or dairy-free butter substitute
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1 ounce (⅓ cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or dairy-free cheese substitute
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pumpkin seed pesto, for garnish, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss diced pumpkin in some olive oil. Spread out onto a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven, stirring occasionally until the pumpkin is tender. Set aside.
2. Bring stock to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep at a bare simmer, covered.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a 2-quart pot. Saute the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
4. Add rice and cook, stirring until the rice feels hot to the touch. Add 1 cup simmering stock and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue simmering, adding stock ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 to 20 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)
5. Remove from heat and stir in diced pumpkin and grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Serve while hot with a dollop of pumpkin seed pesto.
MAKES 1½ TO 2 CUPS
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 cup Italian parsley leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup canola oil or light olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1. Dry roast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet. Be sure to shake the pan so that seeds do not burn. When seeds finish popping (about 5 minutes), they are done.
2. Put the seeds and garlic into a blender. Process until finely ground.
3. Add parsley, cilantro, salt and pepper. Process and slowly add oil and lime juice. Process until smooth.
4. Serve over fish, chicken, Mexican rice, shrimp or pasta.
1 cup fine brown rice flour
1 cup fine white rice flour
⅔ cup potato starch
⅓ cup tapioca starch/flour
Combine ingredients together and use.
Wash: Scrub a fresh, firm pumpkin. Cut it in half, scraping out the stringy mass and seeds.
Cook: Use one of the following methods to cook the pumpkin:
- Boil/Steam: Cut the pumpkin into rather large chunks. Rinse in cold water. Place pieces in a large pot with about a cup of water. The water does not need to cover the pumpkin pieces. Cover the pot and boil for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender, or steam for 10 to 12 minutes until fork tender. Drain the cooked pumpkin in a colander. Reserve the liquid to use as a base for soup.
- Bake: Place pumpkin halves cut side down on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until fork tender.
- Microwave: Place pumpkin halves cut side down on a microwave-safe plate or tray. Microwave on high for 15 minutes and check for doneness. If necessary, continue cooking at 1 to 2-minute intervals until fork tender.
Puree: When the cooked pumpkin is cool enough to handle, remove the peel using a small, sharp knife and your fingers. Put the peeled pumpkin in a food processor and puree, or use a food mill, ricer, strainer or potato masher to form a puree.
Freeze: Pumpkin puree freezes well. To freeze, measure cooled puree into one cup portions, place in ridged freezer containers, leaving ½-inch headspace or pack into zip closure bags. Label, date and freeze for up to one year. Use this puree in recipes, substituting in the same amount in any recipe calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.