5 Perfect Fall Dishes Made Better With Pumpkin

5 Perfect Fall Dishes Made Better With Pumpkin

Add some delicious fall flavor to your day with these pumpkin treats.

By Lorraine Allen

Fall is a season bursting with color. It’s chock-full of holidays and cool, crisp, windy evenings, too — the perfect time to enjoy warm, comforting meals with our families. Pumpkin, that icon of autumn, is not just a nice seasonal decoration, but also a hearty, nutritious and very versatile ingredient. You can add it to many dishes, and even use it as an egg substitute when baking. It brings a richness of flavor that marries well with either sweet or savory plates.

Here are a few dishes that could do well with a bit of pumpkin thrown in:

Pancakes or waffles: Substitute 2/3 cup of mashed pumpkin for each egg in your favorite pancake or waffle recipe or mix. Add a dash of cinnamon to the batter too to tie it all together. Serve with bacon and maple syrup for the ultimate fall breakfast.

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Beef or lamb stew: Follow any traditional beef or lamb stew recipe, but skip the tomatoes or tomato paste (the acid of this fruit does not go well with the pumpkin). Peel and cut fresh pumpkin into 1.5-inch cubes, season with salt and pepper, and add to simmering pot about 15-20 minutes before stew is done. A pinch of nutmeg is a nice way to tie all the flavors together in this autumn dish.

Mediterranean lentil soup: Lentils soup is hearty enough to serve as a meal in the fall and makes for a perfect hot supper or lunch on a chilly day. Finely chop and sauté a small onion and three garlic cloves in a little olive oil in a stockpot. Add 1 cup of rinsed lentils of your choice (they come in red, yellow, green, and black varieties), a bay leaf, and 4 cups of vegetable, beef or chicken stock. Simmer for about 25 minutes, then add a total of 2 cups of diced carrots, celery and pumpkin to pot, and continue to simmer until vegetables are fully cooked, another 10 minutes or so. Serve hot with fresh bread on the side.


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Ravioli: These are fun to make with kids, on a rainy day. To prepare, mix 1 pound (or a 16 oz. can) of roasted mashed pumpkin with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Assemble raviolis by placing a small mound of the mixture in the middle of a row of dumpling wrapper. Dip a finger in water and run it around the edges of the dough to act as glue, then put another wrapper on top, and press edges together all around the filling. Drop the raviolis in a large pot of boiling water and cook for four to five minutes. Drain well and toss with 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Serve with extra grated cheese and chopped fresh sage.

“Crescent Fries”: Though they are not crispy, these are delicious and make for a nice change from regular fries or potatoes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel pumpkin with a sharp knife and cut flesh into thin strips, which will be crescent shaped instead of straight because of the natural shape of the gourd. Place these flat on a baking sheet, season with salt, pepper and dried herbs (if desired), and toss with olive oil. Bake for 12 minutes, turn the fries once, and bake about 10 to 15 minutes more, until soft and caramelized on the edges. Serve with roasted chicken, steak, or fish.

What are your favorite fall pumpkin dishes?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at FeedingLina.com. She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog. Follow her @feedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/DianaDomin

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