Like other winter squash varieties, pumpkin can pair well with both savory and sweet flavors. During the cool temperatures of fall, we like to maximize its warm qualities by adding spicy hints of cinnamon and cayenne.
A pumpkin seed is truly a powerhouse in a tiny shell. Packed with magnesium, zinc, iron, protein and healthy fats, pumpkin seeds can help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and iron deficiency, while also promoting strong bones, skin, hair and a healthy immune system.
The pumpkin seeds used to make 88 Acres Pumpkin Seed Butter have the white outer shell removed. These shelled seeds are also commonly called pepitas. Cutting open a winter squash or pumpkin, you will find soft inner flesh studded with large white seeds. The white outer shell of the seed is safe to eat and provides even more fiber than shelled pepitas, so don’t worry about shelling your freshly-harvested pumpkin seeds for roasting. Simply separate the seeds from the fleshy inside using a large spoon (or your hands) and discard the stringy web of pumpkin. Give the seeds a quick rinse in a colander and let them air dry on a clean kitchen towel in a single layer.
To roast pumpkin seeds, toss with a few drops of oil and your seasonings of choice. We sprinkled ours with cardamom, cayenne, sea salt and a touch of brown sugar. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until slightly golden and crispy.
Pumpkin Seed MilkFor a creamy, mint-green colored pumpkin seed milk, we recommend using shelled pepitas. Remove the outer shell from your harvested pumpkin seeds and soak in enough water to cover them overnight. Follow our simple instructions for making pumpkin seed milk here. Use the pumpkin seed milk to develop a rich, creamy flavor in recipes like Pumpkin Pie or Vanilla Spice Pumpkin Bisque.
Pumpkin Seed PulpAfter you make pumpkin seed milk, the leftover seed pulp can be put to good use. Because of its fat content, pumpkin seed pulp takes on the property of a crust when baked and can serve as a unique layer for your favorite pumpkin dessert. Simply press firmly into a pan or tart tin and bake together with the filling of choice. No need to add oil, butter or flour! Pumpkin seed pulp crust also works well baked in a muffin tin as a crust for mini pies or quiche bites, if you’re looking for a portion controlled treat.
The bright-orange hue of pumpkin flesh reflects its high content of beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A that is especially beneficial for keeping our eyesight sharp, our immune system strong and our body cells free from damage. Winter squash, like pumpkin, is a high-fiber starchy vegetable that packs a filling 3 grams into each 50 calorie 1 cup serving. Pumpkin flesh is also rich in the electrolyte potassium to keep your cells hydrated and nerves firing correctly, with 1 cup providing more potassium than a banana.
Pumpkin adds moisture and richness to baked goods, similar to applesauce and mashed banana, and gives sweet treats an added boost of beta-carotene Vitamin A. Making your own pumpkin pie filling lets you control the sweetness and create a delicious dessert you would never guess has actual health benefits. Our pumpkin pie filling is completely plant-based and contains just a hint of sweetness from maple syrup and brown sugar.
But pumpkin is not just for dessert. The sweetness of roasted pumpkin is balanced by a few dashes of salt and cayenne in a warming pumpkin and vanilla spice bisque. Served in the remaining half of a scooped-out pumpkin, this creamy soup is festive, fun and full of flavor.
Our Favorite Recipes for Using a Whole Pumpkin
Vanilla Spice Pumpkin Bisque (Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups roasted pumpkin, skin removed (or 2 cans canned pure pumpkin)
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1.5 cups fresh pumpkin seed milk
- ¼ cup 88 Acres Vanilla Spice Sunflower Seed Butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
To get 3 cups of roasted pumpkin, halve a medium pumpkin, scoop out insides and reserve seeds. Place pumpkin halves face down on a greased baking sheet and roast in oven at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until soft. After pumpkin is cooked, let cool before handling. Scoop out pumpkin flesh and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot on medium heat, and add onions and garlic. Saute for about 3-5 minutes or until onions become translucent.
Carefully add the roasted pumpkin, vegetable stock, pumpkin seed milk, Vanilla Spice Sunflower Seed Butter, salt, and cayenne (if using), and stir until well-incorporated.
Bring soup to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the soup has reduced and thickened slightly.
Puree with an immersion blender or in a stand blender until very smooth. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, additional pumpkin seed milk, avocado cream, or a sprinkle of hot sauce
Adapted from Whole Living Lauren
Pumpkin Pie With Pumpkin Seed Flour Crust
- 2 - 3 cups pumpkin seed pulp, depending on thickness desired
- Pinch of salt
- 2 ¾ cups pumpkin puree (about 1 ½ 15-ounce cans)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup fresh pumpkin seed milk
- 1 Tbsp sunflower oil
- 2.5 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp sea salt
Reserve pulp from pureed seeds leftover from making pumpkin seed milk. Press into greased pie tin or tart pan.
In a stand mixer or blender, combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, brown sugar, seed milk, coconut oil, cornstarch and spices. Blend until well-incorporated and pour mixture into crust-lined pan. Use a spatula to spread filling until evenly distributed.
Bake 40-60 minutes, until filling is firm and crust is a toasted golden-brown. Total cooking time will depend on thickness of the filling and size of the pie pan used. Our pie, cooked in a 12” tart tin, cooked in about 45 minutes.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker