Packed lunch, Recipes

7 ways with Pumpkin

It all began they day I decided to buy a large pumpkin to make my own pumpkin puree to batch freeze. It’s very easy to do this. Cut the whole pumpkin in half, place face down in a dish, and put in the oven for 30-60 minutes (depending on the size) until it becomes soft. You will realize because it begins to deflate from the top. Remove from the oven and cool. Scoop out all the pumpkin and place in a blender. Turn it into a pulp. You can freeze it as it is but for best results, drain as much water as you can out of it before placing into freezer bags. I froze in batches of 1 cup or 2 cups. When my mum found out I did this, she gave me another pumpkin that she had and I made more. So at the end of all this I had almost a freezer drawer-full of pumpkin puree bags…..with no idea how I was going to use them. So here I am half way through winter, still using my frozen pumpkin, so I decided to share with you some awesome ways so make the best of that autumn pumpkin flavour.

1. Pumpkin and Sweet potato Soup

This soup is to die for and the perfect recipe to cosy up on chilly days. Pumpkin soup always tastes better when the pumpkin has been roasted before. If you are making it from scratch, at the herbs and seasoning while you are roasting it.

2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked pumpkin
500g sweet potato
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp minced ginger
2 cups stock (or more if you want it less thick)
1 small can coconut milk
Put all the ingredients except milk in a pot. Cook for 20-30 minutes until potato is soft. Allow to cool and blend until smooth. Add the coconut milk and the end and stir. .
Bonus: This soup is picky eater friendly so its a win-win!

2. Pumpkin Pancakes

These pumpkin pancakes are healthy because they have no added sugar. I really enjoyed them warm, topped with some apple sauce. But dipped in Greek yoghurt (sweetened with vanilla and honey) they tasted just as great. They were the perfect breakfast for a lazy Sunday morning, and turned out to be a success as a healthy addition to my daughter’s lunchbox.

2 cups oats (blend with hand mixer to make it fine)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup apple sauce (boil apples and blend)
4 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger powder
Mix all the ingredients
Cook like pancakes
Serve warm or cold

3. Pumpkin Risotto

I got so many requests for this recipe that I posted it on the blog a few weeks ago. You can find it here. On the day I had roasted the pumpkin from scratch as opposed to using my frozen puree, because (a) I had yet another piece of pumpkin that needed to be used up and (b) I wanted to add some seasoning while it was roasting, so that the pumpkin would be full of flavour even before adding it to the rice. You can find the full recipe in the link. I also took a portion with me to work the next day. Lovely!

4. Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

This recipe is the perfect way to sneak in some veg into a family meal without any complaints from the little ones. It also gives it a lovely orangey colour which screams out comfort food! It was so easy to prepare since the pumpkin puree was ready.

500g Pasta
2 cups normal cheddar
2 cups dark cheese (I used Red Leicester)
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups pumpkin puree
100g flour
100g butter
3 cups milk
Salt & pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp garlic powder
.
METHOD
Preheat oven to 180degC
Cook pasta for half the required time, drain and set aside
Melt the butter on low heat. Add flour and whisk well not to firm and lumps.
Add salt & pepper, nutmeg and garlic powder
Add milk and pumpkin puree and keep mixing on low-medium heat until it thickens
Remove from heat and add the cheese (leave a handful for topping)
The mixture will become very thick. Add to pasta and mix well.
Transfer to a dish and top with remaining cheese.
Cook for about 30 minutes until to turns golden
Leave to rest a few minutes before serving.

5. Pumpkin overnight oats

I must admit, these weren’t the tastiest oats and I wish i had warmed them up before eating, because eating them cold from a jar they tasted a little bland. I’ll let you know when i try them warm:

  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Chopped pecans to top

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid. Stir well to combine. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least for 4 hours. Eat these warmed up or cold if you are on the go!

Pumpkin overnight oats

6. Pumpkin muffins

I can’t take credit for this recipe, but they really turned out great. They were a success as an after school snack, tea time treat, and addition to lunchbox. Come to think of it, I should do these again and freeze some, because I loved them too, shared some at work, and before you know it, they were gone! Check out the recipe here.

7. Pumpkin Energy Balls

Again, these turned out to be quite addictive, and we were nibbling at them like treats throughout the day. They contain nuts so couldn’t be taken to school, but they were great for after school and anytime snack. Healthy and nutritious, with just the right amount of sweetness:

  • 9 dates
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flax seed
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Mix all in a blender and roll into balls. If weather is warm or humid like in Malta, store in the fridge.
Pumpkin energy balls