Welcome to the ultimate guide to cooking with pumpkin.
Pumpkins are something that I first tried a year ago today. Yes at the grand old age of 33 I had my first ever pumpkin last Halloween and started a year of experimenting with what is such a simple food.
You see I live in Portugal and there just isn’t a huge influence on the delicious pumpkin. There is no such thing as going pumpkin picking and even though there is the odd kids party, kids don’t really care that much for the whole Halloween tradition that you associate with so many other countries.
Plus when I was growing up I was always having a babysitter because my mums birthday falls on Halloween and she would have an adult fancy dress party to go to.
So these traditions (and of course trying pumpkin) had passed me by and I never really got the addiction to pumpkins or how nice they could taste.
Well 2 weeks before we started RecipeThis.com last year I got the chance to try pumpkin for the first time. I remember Dominic saying to me that I better like it with how big it was and how much pumpkin you end up with.
I had already fallen in love with butternut squash and was told that it was something very similar. So I was ready for the experience. And OMG what an experience it was. I fell head over heels in love with the pumpkin and realised that this would offer me much better value for money than butternut squash or sweet potato as my white potato alternative.
The problem with the butternut squash here in Portugal is that they are often really small and by the time you have removed the rubbish it is Russian Roulette whether or not you get much.
We also don’t get a lot of the other squash varieties and I am yet to see a spaghetti squash here.
But pumpkin was readily available for most of the year and I could see myself cooking with it a lot. Which I did. I am clearly making up for lost time as we always (when its in season of course) end up eating the pumpkin.
It has also been like a cultural experience cooking with it for the first time, making our very first pumpkin pie (especially when you live in a country where pumpkin spice is not available) and we have developed a real love for simple roasted pumpkin via the Airfryer.
The Healthy Pumpkin = Endless Opportunities
What I love about pumpkin is how healthy it is for you. Well of course this depends on whether you are eating it how it comes or putting it in a pie!
I love it as part of a breakfast hash, in soup with other vegetables or as an alternative to white potatoes for when I am committed to the Paleo way of life.
It always feels like it holds this amazing place in your cooking as your potato substitute and find that outside of summer I love nothing more than having it in my stews, casseroles and general slow cooked dishes. Plus it makes a delicious alternative for chips. I think Dominic finds it borderline weird the way pumpkin can suddenly arrive in his meals!
You can also use it on top of pies as an alternative to pastry or to mash whenever you feel the need. I also like it as a side at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.
How Healthy Are Pumpkins?
Here I am talking about what a great alternative it is for white potatoes, but I am sure you really want to know just how healthy it really is. So let’s get started with a few interesting facts.
For every 100g of pumpkin there are:
- 20 calories
- 230mg Potassium
- 1.1g Fibre
It also contains:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
This is of course based on cooking it without fat. So imagine steaming or boiling it. I must admit though, I never realised when left alone in your steamer that it is so low in calories. This is like having 8 boiled eggs in comparison for the calories.
But if you wanted a healthy option with your pumpkins make it into a nice tasty soup and you would have a great starter for the evening that will keep you warm until later.
What Can You Cook With Pumpkins?
After reading all these different facts about pumpkins and how good they are for you, I am sure you are looking for some new recipes to try out. Well with it being Halloween too with the world all wanting to buy a delicious pumpkin here are our favourite recipes. These recipes are also perfect for your leftovers for when you have finished making your typical pumpkin food.
This is one of many pumpkin recipes we have created in our Airfryer. We love the idea of making little pumpkin pies out of our pumpkin filling leftovers. They also cook very well in the Airfryer and only take us a couple of minutes to put together.
They are also perfect for handing out as little treats for when the kids come around trick or treating!
If you are watching your weight at the moment, then it doesn’t get any better than my pumpkin and garlic soup recipe. It is incredibly creamy and you would not believe that you could lose weight by eating it.
I also find that it makes a fantastic starter with some warm crusty bread as a starter for your Thanksgiving feast or even for saving it until Christmas.
This recipe actually reminds me of the chilli that my aunt used to make me when I was little. That perfect comfort food that is perfect for those cold evenings when the sun draws in early.
This is perfectly served with some dumplings or as it is or how Dominic would have it with loads of crusty bread and butter.
I love these banana pancakes from cook eat paleo. They are delicious and is a prime example of what I was saying earlier about how adding pancakes to your Sunday breakfast is a perfect way for eggs to form a healthy part of your diet. Plus these are 100% Paleo!
I remember watching a TV show some time ago now on healthy eating. It showed you how to make bread with butternut squash. I thought it was something extraordinary and it made me want to make some straight away.
I lost the recipe and never got around to it. But this one featuring pumpkin has put it back at the front of my mind and is perfect for the healthy eater over the winter months.
Whenever I think of Halloween I always think of watching my Dad dress up as Dracula and my mum as a witch, before they headed out to a great Halloween party. They would have the time of their life and then come home in the early hours by which time I was fast asleep.
In general, Halloween is always thought of for the kids but what about the adults? This dessert made seasonal with the pumpkin is perfect for your Halloween party.
In this recipe from Nerdy Mamma we have a lovely take on doughnuts featuring pumpkins. I love homemade doughnuts and have never thought about making them with pumpkins until now. But seriously you must give them a try!
Pumpkins are so low in calories you could end up with a lower calorie version of the classic and serve it on Thanksgiving to your guests as a nice snack.
I am a big movie addict and love to watch a film after a long day working. I have a huge movie collection and one of my favourites is “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. In it you have the American Vs the Greek accent and the American trying to explain what a bundt cake is.
It really makes me giggle and is the first thing I think about when I tuck into a lovely bundt cake like this classic one featuring pumpkins.
In this recipe the creator is sharing with you how to make delicious homemade pancakes with pumpkin and plantain flour.
They look and sound delicious and give you a fantastic healthy alternative to traditional pancakes and are perfect for the day after Halloween when you have a hangover and want a delicious breakfast.
Or like us (we are teetotal) you can use it up with your leftover pumpkin for breakfast at the weekend.
For the 10th and the final one on our list we are turning to pumpkin sage biscuits. If someone says biscuits then I am there whether they are sweet or savoury or somewhere in between. I love the texture of a biscuit and how amazing it makes your house smell from the cooking.
These are made with Greek yoghurt for a lovely creamy texture and even though they will never fall under clean eating they are still a lot healthier than the lemon shortbread that I normally have at this time of the year.
If you would like further information about the trusted pumpkin here is some more: