I fondly recall carving pumpkins for Halloween as a kid. The trickiest part was cleaning out the “guts” but designing and creating the traditional Jack-O-Lantern and then eating the roasted seeds was a real treat. Back then I never knew about eating pumpkin in anything other than the traditional holiday pie. But now you can enjoy the flavor of pumpkin in a variety of food and drinks – it’s healthy, and it’s everywhere!
It’s not a commonly used ingredient so you may be unsure about what to do with pumpkin. While the jolly, round gourd provides a subtle yet distinct flavor to shakes, lattes, breads, and even healthy dinners you may want some suggestions about how to make it a part of this seasons fare. Let us be your tour guide and share our 5 favorite ways to enjoy the flavor of pumpkin this season. Many of these recipes came to us from Real Simple, and that’s the way we like it!
Pumpkin Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Okay, I know it sounds strange, but this really is a great combo of new flavors. It may not be your traditional grilled cheese but it will become a healthy family favorite.
½ cup pure pumpkin puree
16 slices pumpernickel or white bread
Check 2 ounces Gruyere, grated (about ½ cup)
Check 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
Spread the pumpkin puree on half of the bread, dividing evenly. Top with the cheese and the remaining bread to form sandwiches.
Melt ½ tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
Cook the sandwiches, in batches and turning once (adding an additional ½ tablespoon of butter to the skillet for each batch), until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 4 to 6 minutes.
Use 3-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters to cut the sandwiches into shapes.
Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Not much of a baker but still love to enjoy a sweet treat? These easy to make, 3-ingredient cake-y cookies are perfection. Recipe from a friend:
1 box of spiced cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine cake mix and pumpkin and mix until blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18
Pumpkin w/ White Beans and Bacon
Looking for a healthy lunch or a dinner side item? Try this tasty dish. It’s light and packed with nutrients but still gives you a full-on pumpkin experience!
Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds
If you’re carving a pumpkin and want to roast the seeds, don’t just pop them in the oven. I know that’s the traditional way, but as your tour guide, I suggest that you first cook them on a baking sheet at 300 degrees for an hour (until dry) then toss them with 2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼teaspoon ground cinnamon. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10- 15 minutes and you’ll have a sweet, salty, and crunchy snack!
If you’re looking for a liquid version of a pumpkin treat then consider this adult beverage. It’s sweet and rich and could be served for cocktail hour or even after dinner because it’s like a dessert in a glass.
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons vodka
2 tablespoons half and half
1 tablespoon canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice on a small plate. Dip the rim of a chilled martini glass in water, then dip in the sugar to coat.
In a martini shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, half and half, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and the remaining ⅛ teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice. Shake vigorously, then strain into the prepared glass.
Warm, delicious pumpkin bread is great for breakfast, dessert, or as a sandwich – just spread a little cream cheese in between 2 slices! You could bake it, or pick some up at Atlanta Bread and bring home the holidays!
Pumpkin isn’t a fall fad, it’s a real, healthy food that adds a unique and delicate flavor to various food and drinks – so enjoy it all season. You can also stop by your local Atlanta Bread location and try our new Pumpkin Spiced Chai Latte, it’s the perfect partner for your pumpkin bread.