Pumpkin is such a versatile vegetable that can add surprising flavours and beautiful colour to your recipes – and most importantly, it can be cooked in a myriad of ways.
While we love a great roasted pumpkin recipe, particularly as a hearty side dish during the colder months, there are so many more ways to prepare your pumpkin to help you get the most out of its flavours and textures. Here are 5 of our favourite ways to cook with pumpkin:
Pumpkin flesh has a wonderfully sweet flavour profile that adds a delicious counterbalance for your tastebuds. When sliced and cooked on a hot grill pan, grilled pumpkin develops dark charring from the heat and a caramelisation of the sugars in the flesh. Before adding to your grill, sprinkle over some salt and chopped fresh rosemary to combine sweet and salty flavours. Depending on the thickness of your pumpkin slices, you’ll want to grill for roughly 5 minutes each side or until dark lines appear on the surface.
If you’re wanting to use pumpkin puree to make desserts, pasta dishes or even to add to breakfast recipes, then steaming it is the way to go because it heroes the natural flavour of the vegetable. When preparing your pumpkin, try to keep them roughly the same size so that they steam evenly. It should take roughly 10 minutes to steam 1 – 2 inch chunks of pumpkin, but you can check if they’re done by poking them with a fork – it should glide in easily.
There is no rule that says you always need to cook your pumpkin on its own. In fact, pumpkin can make a wonderful addition to your favourite stew recipes to enjoy throughout autumn and winter. Pumpkin has the ability to absorb water, soften and blend into the rest of your stew, so if you’re wanting it to hold its shape you’re better off adding it towards the end of your cooking time. If stewing for 2 -3 hours, it can be cooked at the beginning for more of a combined or thick, soup-like consistency, or added towards the end and cooked for roughly 45 minutes for defined cubes.
If you simply can’t get enough of this hearty orange ingredient, give it a boost by leaving the pumpkin whole and filling with delicious parcels of flavour! Baking the vegetable whole and slow certainly brings out the most of its flavours, soaking up the stuffing and letting the flavours simmer and strengthen. Warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg pair beautifully with a combination of winter vegetables like zucchini and carrots. Alternatively, a lighter mix of quinoa and mushroom with a hint of chilli is sure to warm you up this winter.