88 Fall Pumpkin Ideas
|November 9, 2016||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Recipes, Thanksgiving|
Fall’s hallmarks are here: kids are back in school, cooler weather has arrived in most places, and all things pumpkin have returned to stores. From actual pumpkins to pumpkin-spice dog treats, pumpkin rules the season.
Your Pumpkin Obsession Explained (sort of…)
Pumpkin is one of the most popular crops in the U.S. with more than a billion grown each year. In the same family as gourds and squash, pumpkins are more versatile in the kitchen than you might imagine. Pie pumpkins have a sweet, slightly nutty flavor and creamy texture. Plus they couple nicely with popular seasonal spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice for that palate-pleasing pumpkin-spice combo found in Pumpkin-Gingerbread Cupcakes, Pumpkin Bread Pudding and even in this recipe for Gluten-Free Pasta Bake. Bonus: Besides recipes, pumpkins — especially colorful heirloom varieties of various shapes and sizes — have become house decorators’ go-to in the fall.
Selecting and Storing
When choosing fresh pumpkins for cooking, avoid the large carving varieties used for Jack-o-lanterns, which are thin-walled, stringy and lack the rich flavor you want when baking or cooking. Cooking varieties such as pie pumpkins (also known as sugar pumpkins) are small but heavy for their size — about 5 to 7 pounds. The shape is not important.
Buying now, cooking later? Store pumpkins up to one month in a cool, dry place. The flesh tends to become stringy at temperatures above 60°F. And, if you can spare the space and temperature is an issue, pumpkins can also be refrigerated for up to one month.
Cooking Fresh Pumpkin
While canned 365 Everyday Value® 100% Pure Pumpkin is an easy shortcut, you can also roast a pie pumpkin (sometimes called a sugar pumpkin) to make homemade purée. While there are a handful of ways to cook fresh pumpkin, here is one we love: Easiest Whole Roasted Winter Squash recipe. As a rule of thumb, for each pound of raw, untrimmed pumpkin, you’ll get approximately one cup of purée. (For reference: one regular-sized 15-oz can of pumpkin puree is just shy of two cups.)
And don’t toss those seeds! Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a tasty addition in casseroles, salads, soups, breads and granola. Their rich, peanut-like flavor makes them an additive game-day snack too.
Pumpkin Recipes and Ideas
With more than 60 tested recipes using pumpkin or pumpkin seeds on our site, where do you start? To make it easy, we’ve curated our 12 best pumpkin recipes, including a pumpkin pie smoothie and one for pumpkin dog treats. Looking for more? We’ve divided them up below to make it easy to pick the best pumpkin recipe for your occasion … or craving. Dig in!
Where would we be without traditional pumpkin pie, a mainstay at holiday tables across the U.S.? That said, sometimes twists on traditions can yield great rewards. Whether you simply want to slightly update the classic pumpkin pie or need to adapt your recipe for special diets reasons, we’ve got you covered. Here are five refreshed pumpkin pie recipes sure to please:
- Easy 2- Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze
- Classic Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Creme Anglaise and Cinnamon Sugar Walnuts
- Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Apple Pie
- Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Date-Pecan Pumpkin Pie Bonus: there’s a gluten-free crust.
But don’t stop there! Here are more pumpkin-centric dessert recipes:
- Emergency Pumpkin Mug Cake
- Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Truffles
- Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust
- Pumpkin Pecan Cookies
- Sweet Pumpkin Hand Pies
- Pumpkin, Brown Sugar and Cashew Biscotti
- Pumpkin Chocolate Cake
- Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
- Pumpkin Streusel Bread
- Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Cocoa Cookies
- Halloween Googly-Eye and Spider Brownie Bites
Main dishes, sides and soups
When it comes to pumpkin, think beyond dessert. You can use fresh pumpkin like you would butternut squash, stir puréed pumpkin into a soup, or make a creamy pumpkin rice dish. Better yet, make a main dish like this Turkey Pumpkin Chili recipe that brings together ground turkey, pumpkin, beans, veggies and spices for a hearty cool-weather meal.
Here are more ideas:
- Wild Rice Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
- Pumpkin and Mushroom Pie
- Autumn Bouillabaisse
- Pumpkin Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts
- Roasted Pumpkin Bisque
- Haitian Pumpkin Soup
- Roasted Pumpkin and Kale Soup with Elephant Garlic
- Pumpkin Poblano Corn Pudding
- Roasted Pumpkin Bisque
Breakfast, Breads and Snacks
It’s time for pumpkin bread, muffins and cheese dip. Yes, pumpkin cheese dip!
Try these yummy goodies from right here on the Nest!
And more Whole Foods creations:
- Whole Grain and Pumpkin Seed Granola
- Pumpkin and Apricot Cinnamon Rolls
- Pumpkin-Blue Cheese Biscuits
- Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
- Pumpkin Dutch Baby Pancake
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Honey Walnut Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin and Millet Muffins
- Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins
- Whole Wheat Pumpkin-Yogurt Muffins
- Pumpkin Hummus
- Pumpkin Chile Con Queso
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Making pumpkin muffins or a pumpkin pie? You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by combining 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Or take a short cut with Pumpkin Pie Spice from the spice aisle! Tip: Sprinkle it on your morning coffee, mix into your oatmeal or sprinkle on winter vegetables before roasting.
The shelled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) you find in the bulk bins of Whole Foods Market come from a special variety of pumpkin that produces long, flat, dark green, hull-less seeds. However, the seeds you find in large and small pumpkins (carving pumpkins included) in the produce departments look different, though they are still perfect for roasting.
Whether you roast your own or pick some up in bulk, pumpkin seeds make a great snack as well as add flavor and crunch to many dishes. Sprinkle on yogurt, soups and salads like in this recipe for Fall Greens Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Asiago. Bake pumpkin seeds into cookies, cakes, breads and muffins. This recipe for Flax and Pumpkin Seed Corn Bread shows you how. Or make Pumpkin Seed Milk, a creamy, nutty, neutral-flavored nondairy beverage.
Here are additional recipes with pumpkin seeds:
- Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds
- Savory Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- Red Snapper with Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- Salmon with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken
- Whole Grain and Pumpkin Seed Granola
- Quinoa and Green Bean Salad with Sesame and Pumpkin Seeds
- Coconut Crusted Haddock with Curried Pumpkin Seeds
- Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Seeds
- East-Meets-Southwest Chicken Tostada Salad
- Mexican Caesar Salad
- Spiced Guatemalan Chicken Stew with Rice
Watch and Learn
If you’re a visual learner, these cooking videos will be right up your alley:
Pumpkin and Pets
Get Fido into the action with Pumpkin Small Dog Biscuits or make your own. Or, go homemade with these Spiced Pumpkin Dog Treats —they’re gluten-free treats that are chock-full of tasty ingredients. Plus, peanut butter adds a tempting flavor.
Decorating with Pumpkins
This fall let nature do the work! Up your holiday décor game by pairing small white pumpkins with deep red pomegranates and dark green leaves. Or make a show-stopping centerpiece by carving a pie pumpkin large enough to hold a cup or small vase for flowers. In addition, a mini pumpkin can become a candleholder by simply slicing off the top of the pumpkin, removing the seeds and hollowing out a place to hold the tea light. Make several of these mock candleholders and line them up along the center of your table. And don’t forget the front stoop. Mixing and matching a variety of heirloom pumpkins is a seasonal and dramatic way to increase curb appeal.
Finally, when you’re putting together a donation to your local food pantry this fall, don’t forget to toss a can or two of pumpkin in the bag so everyone can enjoy their favorite pumpkin recipe for the holidays.