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Quick & Easy Pumpkin Dishes.

Pumpkin is an ingredient to use year-round, but most people think more "pumpkin-y" in the fall and winter. There are two ways to obtain pumpkin as an ingredient: fresh or canned. There is a third option, a pumpkin "stand-in" if you will, frozen winter squash.

If you have time, you may want to go with fresh pumpkin. You will be rewarded for your effort with a pumpkin shell, good for decorating, or to use as a "green" serving container, and pumpkin seeds. You'll want to purchase a sugar pumpkin, the variety used for pies and for making canned pumpkin. The larger, jack-o'-lantern pumpkins can be tempting, but they are very fibrous and their interior is less versatile as a food ingredient. There are many websites that take you on a step-by-step tour of preparing fresh pumpkin. You'll want to watch carefully and allot an afternoon to accomplish cooked pumpkin and roasted pumpkin seeds.

These ideas use canned pumpkin or frozen winter squash. Your own fresh, cooked pumpkin will work with our suggestions as well. If you prepare your own fresh pumpkin, simply cook it. Don't add any seasonings, sweeteners, or salt, as we want to have a neutral, versatile ingredient to use.

When purchasing canned pumpkin, be certain to purchase a single ingredient product. Check the label to be sure there are no ingredients other than pumpkin, except, perhaps for a bit of salt. Avoid pumpkin pie filling or other types of seasoned pumpkin products.

You probably won't find frozen pumpkin, but frozen pureed winter squash is a good substitute. You can purchase frozen, cubed winter squash and mash it yourself, or purchase pureed winter squash. To use frozen pureed winter squash for these recipes you will want to thaw the squash and then heat in a microwave or on top of the stove until thawed, smooth, and stir-able. You'll then want to preheat your oven to about 400 degrees. Use a nonstick baking sheet or spray a baking sheet with a thin layer of vegetable oil and spread the cooked squash evenly on the pan. Semi-dry the squash so it is the consistency of canned pumpkin. Cooking off some of the water will help the squash to be thick and consistent.

You can stir your pumpkin or squash into hot cereal or into cooked grains, use to replace part of the fat in muffin or quick bread (carrot cake, zucchini bread) recipes, add to soups, stews or chili, and even hummus to thicken and add color and flavor. You can combine pumpkin (not the squash) with apple butter or apple sauce to create a new flavor for spreads or to top cake, pies, or frozen desserts, or to use as a condiment with savory dishes, such as roasted cauliflower, smoked tofu, or seitan steaks. You might also want to try combining pumpkin (not the squash) with vegan sour cream or vegan yogurt for a salad dressing, dip, or topping.

Here are some ideas for using canned pumpkin or your prepared winter squash:


Pumpkin Latte: In a blender, combine almond or soy milk, a drop of vanilla extract (or use vanilla-flavored milk), canned pumpkin or winter squash, cinnamon, powdered ginger and nutmeg (or pumpkin pie spice) and blend until smooth. Pour into a pot and quickly heat on the stove or in a microwave-safe mug.

Pumpkin Green Tea Latte: Prepare a pumpkin latte and add a spoonful of green tea powder (also called matcha) or replace half of the milk with cold, prepared green tea.

Pumpkin Cocoa Latte: Prepare a pumpkin latte and add a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder, chocolate syrup or melted chocolate or carob chips.

Pumpkin Ginger Latte: Prepare a pumpkin latte and add a spoonful of dry ginger powder, or, for a cold-weather soother, add several spoonfuls of fresh minced ginger.


Breakfast Sandwich Spread: Cook a small amount of vegan sausage or bacon, and crumble. Mix with canned pumpkin or squash and a small amount of diced garlic and/or diced onion. Place in a small frying pan and heat and stir until garlic/onions are soft. Serve on top of toast, a biscuit, or diced, firm tofu.

Once you have your breakfast spread, you can also make a breakfast burrito, using the spread, chopped veggies and vegan sour cream or a breakfast pizza bagel, spreading a bagel half with the breakfast spread, chopped veggies, and shredded vegan cheese.

If you have leftover breakfast spread, you can add it to bean soups or chili for extra flavor and texture. Pumpkin breakfast spread should last in the refrigerator for two to three days.

Creamy Pumpkin Spread: Mix a small amount of canned pumpkin or squash with vegan cream cheese or silken tofu and season to your taste with cinnamon, ginger, mace, or pumpkin pie spice. Use as a topping for toast, muffins or instead of icing for carrot cake, pumpkin or zucchini bread, or cookies or graham crackers.

And More

Pumpkin Rice Pilaf: Toast rice in a heated pan for a minute or two and cook rice according to package directions. When the majority of water or broth is absorbed, stir in a small amount of pumpkin or squash, chopped apples or pears, chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, roasted soy beans, or pistachios work well) and some chopped, leftover mixed vegetables.

Basic Pumpkin Cream: in a large mixing bowl or a blender combine equal parts of soft, silken tofu and pumpkin or squash. Mix or blend until smooth.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup: Place basic pumpkin cream into a large pot and heat slowly and gently, until warm. Season with fresh, sauteed garlic and onions, or garlic and onion powder, and chopped, fresh parsley, or dried parsley flakes. This would be a basic soup. You can add chopped, cooked mixed veggies, a small amount of tomato paste, cooked white beans or lentils, vegan sausage or bacon crumbles or nutritional yeast, depending on your preference. If you would like to thin the soup, use a small amount of warm water. Leftover soup may be mixed with cooked pasta or macaroni, cooked, diced potatoes or cooked grains and baked in the oven for a fast casserole.

Frozen Pumpkin Parfait: Place basic pumpkin cream in a large bowl and sweeten with maple or rice syrup or apple juice concentrate (you'll want to use a liquid sweetener). Season with pumpkin pie spice or a combination of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Spoon into individual dessert cups and freeze for at least 2-3 hours. Top with a mixture of dried fruit, shredded coconut, fresh or canned minced pineapple or chopped nuts. The pumpkin parfait mixture can also be used as a cold pie filling. Fill a prepared pie shell with the pumpkin parfait mixture and either refrigerate until firm or freeze.


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Title Annotation:Vegan Cooking Tips
Author:Berkoff, Nancy
Publication:Vegetarian Journal
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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