In many parts of the world, all types of winter squashes are called pumpkins. The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon (πέπων), which is Greek for “large melon". For our Patch recipes, we’re referring to the type of orange-skinned squash traditionally used at Halloween time.
Both the pumpkin itself and the pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious. The pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes muskmelon, watermelon and squash. Fall and winter are pumpkin harvesting seasons, another good reason why pumpkin is a popular vegetable for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
As the weather starts to cool down, keep your self warm with the following fun autumn recipe: pumpkin soup. This is a filling, hearty soup. When it comes to soups, lentils are a favorite ingredient, because they are so healthy. Lentils are full of protein and dietary fiber. Add to the pumpkin, the vitamin A rock star, and you've got a delicious and healthy meal.
Don’t throw out the pumpkin seeds when cooking the fresh pumpkin for the soup recipe or making Jack-O-Lanterns. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a great snack, which is easy to make and such a fall flavor! Don’t forget that pumpkin seeds are on the omega-3 list, so they are good for your heart and they taste amazing! Pumpkin seeds are roasted with butter to make this popular seasonal snack. You can also use, cayenne pepper, seasoning salt, cinnamon, or Cajun seasoning to jazz up the pumpkin seeds. Be sure to stir them often and watch for burning. Some prefer to soak the seeds in salt water before toasting. Don’t throw away seeds from any winter squash, as they are equally as tasty as pumpkin seeds, absolutely delicious...and addictive!
Our last recipe is the easiest pumpkin ice cream recipe you could ever make, and is the perfect solution for your leftover pumpkin pie mix. I used Libby pumpkin pie mix, because I like the flavor and texture. I was a little skeptical about the recipe as it was so different and easier than the others I had seen, but after making it I was so impressed. This recipe tastes just like pumpkin pie and is spoon licking good!
As you can see, pumpkin, whether fresh or canned, is terrific in more than just pies. I love cooking with pumpkin, and I hope you enjoy these yummy pumpkin recipes. Most pumpkin recipes can be adapted for use with other members of the winter squash family, so feel free to experiment and get creative.
Happy cooking and eating!
- 1 pound pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
- 3 medium carrots, sliced 1⁄2 inch thick
- 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
- 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained well
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1⁄4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
- Plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
- Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
In a 3 1⁄2 - or 4-quart slow cooker combine pumpkin, garbanzo beans, carrots, onion, lentils, tomato paste, ginger, lime juice, cumin, salt, turmeric, and pepper. Pour broth over mixture in cooker.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Top each serving with peanuts, cilantro, and, if desired, yogurt. Serves 6. Serve with cornbread.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 ½ cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted (olive oil works well)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Rinse seeds in colander removing all pumpkin strings and gunk. It helps to soak in bowl of warm water first. Toss seeds in colander with the melted butter, salt, garlic powder and optional seasonings of your choice.
Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
- 2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
- 1 can (30 ounces) Libby pumpkin pie mix
Combine ice cream and pumpkin pie mix in large bowl; stir until blended. Freeze in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
To make recipe in home freezer, freeze mixture for 2 hours; beat with mixer for 30 seconds. Freeze for additional 2 hours or until firm.