The season for pumpkins is undoubtedly now, but what do you actually do with them? Do you carve them and then leave them to rot? Or buy pumpkin spiced lattes in ode to Halloween? Well let me tell you – pumpkins are a hugely under-rated vegetable (actually technically a fruit), filled with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, including carotenoids (great for your eyes), fibre (keeping you fuller for longer), vitamin C (to help fight off those winter colds) and potassium (good for lowering blood pressure)
Looking at a pumpkin though, you might think ‘what the hell do I do with this’? I know I sure did – I wasn’t even sure how to cut it! The great thing about pumpkin it can be used in a huge variety of dishes. Almost the whole pumpkin can be used too, including the seeds.
To cut, I used a serrated knife and cut it in half, before scooping out the seeds into a bowl. See further down on what to do with the seeds! This soup is super (souper) easy to make, makes enough to feed a family and is a perfect side or starter at a dinner with some crusty bread and, for non-vegans, cheese (I recommend gruyere).
- 1 pumpkin
- 1 onion
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1tbsp vegetable spread (or butter if you’re not vegan)
- Olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
- Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and pith (see bottom with what to do with the seeds) and cut the halves into three each.
- Score a crisscross pattern into the quarters and place on baking trays covered in baking parchment or tinfoil.
- Pour olive oil on top of the pumpkin and sprinkle the salt and pepper on top
- Roast for 30 minutes until soft when poked
- While the pumpkin is cooking, dice the onion and fry until brown in a saucepan
- Add the vegetable stock and simmer until pumpkin is cooked
- Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool enough to touch it
- Cut away the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin and place in the food processor
- Add the vegetable stock and onion mix
- Blend (in batches if need be)
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!
To use the seeds: wash using a colander and remove the pith (the orange gooey bit) from them. In a bowl, coat in olive oil, salt and any other seasoning (I LOVE a little curry seasoning for this). Spread on a baking tray and cook until crunchy and very lightly browned. Make sure not to burn! Enjoy as a healthy snack any time of day.
OK, so I absolutely hate waste, and sadly soup is hard to make with skins, so what do you do with all those leftover skins? I have 2 ideas – pizza and miso-glazed pumpkin.
- 1 tsp miso
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1tsp lazy garlic/garlic paste
- 1tsp lazy ginger/ginger paste
Mix all up and spread on the skins. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Tomato paste
- Cheese (vegan or real)
Spread the tomato paste on the skins, top with grated cheese and oregano. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes. Enjoy!
I hope these recipes give you some ideas of what to do with one of the most under-rated and best value vegetables/fruits out there. My advice would be to go on Halloween or shortly after, stock up and make all of the above recipes! How do you use your pumpkins?