Oct. 26 is National Pumpkin Day. Now that’s a celebration we can get behind.
Pumpkin is one of those powerhouse nutritional foods: it’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as a top source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A, C, and E.
It’s also cheap. This time of year, you can easily find pumpkin and other squash for less than 50 cents a pound and sometimes even as low as 25 cents a pound.
It’s also pretty versatile, working in everything from cocktails to entrees to desserts. We asked chefs, bloggers and other food experts for their picks. Here are five to try:
Make a single serving one or prep a larger batch in a slow cooker. To make, Jesse Card, Cruzan mixologist, mixes one-and-a-half parts spiced rum, one-half part vanilla rum, three tablespoons pumpkin pie filling and four parts hot water.
Top with whipped cream to garnish and drizzle additional vanilla rum on top.
Risotto with Pumpkin, Ginger and Sage
Risotto is usually a centerpiece dish and this version, which we featured last year, is no exception.
Chef Anthony Russo of Russo’s New York Pizzeria, makes this sweet-n-savory pizza using fresh pumpkin puree.
The recipe: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine six ounces pumpkin puree, two tablespoons brown sugar and a half-teaspoon ground cinnamon. Whisk well.
Using your hands, stretch nine ounces pre-prepared or frozen pizza dough into an evenly thick circle with a small lip at the edges. Spread one and a half tablespoons fig preserve evenly over the dough and then spread pumpkin puree on top, leaving a 1″ border around the edges.
Place on a baking sheet and bake in the pizza oven until the crust is crisp and cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine four ounces mascarpone cheese, two tablespoons brown sugar, one and a half teaspoons white sugar, a half-teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix well.
Fill a pastry bag with the mascarpone mixture and pipe evenly over the pizza. Slice six fresh figs in half and arrange on top.
Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Smoked Salt
If you toss out the seeds, you’re missing a great snack opportunity. Mint editors spotted this roasted pumpkin seed recipe that tosses seeds in a mix of honey, brown sugar and other seasonings before roasting.
Baked Apple with Pumpkin Seeds
If roasting the seeds doesn’t sound appealing, try using them in this dessert from Maria Zoitas, founder of the “Marias Homemade” food line at Westside Market in New York.
To make: Core one Roma apple per person to remove the seeds. Score with the tip of a small knife in the middle of the apple and around it. (This will help bake the apple evenly, she says.)
In a sauté pan, heat a cup of dry red wine and three cups sangria wine. When half is consumed, remove from heat and set aside.
Place the peeled apples in a roasting pan, and sprinkle a cup of sugar and a teaspoon ground cinnamon inside and around the apples. Add wine. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, toss together a cup and a half dried cranberries, a quarter-cup currents, a cup honey, a cup pumpkin seeds and two tablespoons orange zest. Remove apples from the oven and top each with a quarter-cup of the honey mixture.
Put baking pan with apples back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve either hot or cold.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.