Every year around this time, the internet is flooded with a slew of pumpkin recipes. Sadly, a majority of said recipes calls for canned pumpkin instead of fresh. Although it’s okay to use canned products from time to time (as long as they’re organic and low sodium whenever possible), what makes these recipes seasonal if one can use canned pumpkin all year round? Instead of using pumpkins solely for Halloween decorations, why not help reduce food waste and eat those gourds instead?
My friend Andrea, a fellow writer I’d met in NGI’s Writing for Food Media class, is working on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste School Garden Cookbook and asked me to contribute a recipe. The cookbook consists of recipes that utilize local heirloom produce varieties. I chose to work with the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, which has no relation to my beloved dairy product other than its cheese wheel-like appearance. I was keen on developing a savory rather than a sweet dish, since the world does not need any more pumpkin pancake, bread, cake or cookie recipes.
Making homemade (all natural and chemical-free!) pumpkin puree turned out to be incredibly easy. The most difficult part was cutting the pumpkin in half – the rest of the process was a no-brainer. One medium pumpkin yielded about 2 quarts of puree, which is more than enough to satisfy all your pumpkin cravings for the season. The puree also turned out surprisingly delicious: nutty, sweet and a little savory.
How to roast a pumpkin and make pumpkin puree
-Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
-Using a sharp knife, cut pumpkin in half lengthwise (this will take some elbow grease). Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and strings; discard.
-Place pumpkin halves cut site down on prepared baking sheet and roast until skin is golden brown and flesh gives easily when pressed, 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
-Let roasted pumpkin stand at room temperature.
-When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh into a food processor and discard pumpkin skin. Puree pumpkin until smooth – this may have to be done in 2 batches. When puree is completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container.
-Puree will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for about 4 months.
These pumpkin burgers are satisfying, yet light. Pumpkin’s inherent sweetness pairs really well with smoky chipotle and bright cilantro. Not a fan of cilantro? (Note: we can’t be friends) Try using parsley or basil instead. This recipe would also make great sliders – just purchase mini buns and make smaller patties.
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1½ cups pumpkin puree
- 1¼ cups whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chipotle sauce (I use La Morena brand)
- 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- A generous handful of cilantro leaves
- A few dashes of hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons organic canola oil
- 5 ounces full fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ⅓ cup packed cilantro leaves
- Pinch of salt
- Romaine leaves
- Sandwich rolls, halved
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients except canola oil. Pulse to combine. Do not puree - mixture should remain a bit chunky.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add enough canola oil to coat the bottom. Using your hands, divide mixture into burger-sized patties. Working in batches, cook patties until browned and crisp on the bottom, about 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- In a blender, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Puree until smooth. Taste and season with more salt or lime juice, if needed.
- To assemble, place romaine leaves on bottom sandwich roll halves and top with pumpkin burgers. Spread yogurt sauce on top sandwich roll halves, assemble into burgers and serve immediately.
What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?