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The origin of the pumpkin is not definitively known, but they are

believed to have originated in North America.  As such, we

probably have our Native American ancestors to thank for them,

as they taught the English settlers how to cultivate and harvest

them.  Even still, our ancestors couldn't have imagined all the new

uses we'd find for this melon.  Sure, there's pumpkin pie and bread,

but there's a host of savory dishes that feature pumpkin today as

well.  Find some of them below and give your body the boost of

Vitamins A and C and beta-carotene for which these fruits are best known.



Pumpkin and Almond Soup

2 shallots

2/3 cup butter

1 garlic clove

2 cups fresh pumpkin

1/2 cup roasted almonds

1 tablespoon tomato puree

3 cup chicken stock

1 pinch coriander powder

salt and pepper

1 1/3 cup cream

4 tablespoons coconut cream (to garnish)

1 red onion, sliced very thin and diced (to garnish)

fresh coriander (to garnish)


Peel and chop shallots.  Melt butter in a pan and cook the shallots to soften.  Peel and dice the pumpkin and add to the shallots with the garlic and dried coriander. Allow to cook for a few minutes before adding the tomato puree and the stock, simmer until the pumpkin is soft.


Add the roasted almonds and allow the soup to cool before putting it into a blender. Process until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot and season as desired, to taste. Bring to boil.  Stir in the cream.


Ladle into warm soup bowls and drizzle with coconut cream and add a small spoonful of onion and fresh coriander on top.



Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Onion, finely diced

2 Medium Carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 Stalk Celery, finely diced

1 small, dried red chili pepper

3 Cups Any Basic Tomato Sauce

3 Cups Fresh Tomatoes, skinned and chopped or a 28oz can diced tomatoes

2 – 19oz Cans Black Beans, drained and well rinsed

1/2 teaspoon Salt

Black Pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme, scant

1 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seed

1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin

1 Cup Diced Pumpkin, roasted


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Clean and cube half a good baking pumpkin.   Using about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil lightly cover the pumpkin, tossing to coat.  Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender.


Heat the remaining oil in a large stockpot and add the diced onion, carrots and celery.  Sauté the vegetables until slightly softened and the onions are transparent.  


Add the chopped tomatoes, sauce and spices then bring everything to a simmer.  Stir in drained, rinsed beans and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.


Remove the chili pepper and add the cubed pumpkin.  Serve it up with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of cheddar (or smoked gouda) along with tortilia chips or a loaf of fresh crusty bread.



Pumpkin Hummus

2 cups cooked or canned garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

4 tbsp roasted tahini (sesame paste)

1 to 2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp ground cumin

Ground chipotle or smoked paprika, to taste

Salt, to taste


In bowl of food processor, combine the garbanzo beans and pumpkin, pulsing until mixture is smooth. Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice and cumin pulsing until smooth. Add salt and smoked paprika (or chipotle powder) to taste.


Serve pumpkin hummus in a bowl, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika (smoked or regular).



Chili Pumpkin Cranberry Risotto with Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

3 lb sugar pumpkin, or any winter squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn, what have you)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced small

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

4 hot red chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1/3 cup dry white wine

5 cups vegetable broth, kept warm on the stove top

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (grate it fresh if you can)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup


For the pumpkin seeds:

2 teaspoons paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/8 teaspoon salt


First roasted the pumpkin seeds. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy bits with a tablespoon. Reserve the seeds and place them in a colander to clean. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the pumpkin face down on sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork, but not completely mushy. Once cooled, peel off the skin and chop pumpkin into bite sized pieces.


In the meantime, wash the pumpkin seeds and dry completely with a kitchen towel. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with a little olive oil, toss to coat. You can toast them in the oven while the pumpkin bakes, it usually takes about 15 minutes. Toss once or twice. Remove from oven and place in a bowl to cool. Once cooled, sprinkle with the spices to coat.


Preheat a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and chilies in the oil for about 7 minutes, stirring often so you don’t burn it. Add the risotto and stir to coat with oil. Add wine to deglaze the pot, then add first cup of vegetable broth. Use a wooden spoon to stir until most of the water is absorbed.


Continue adding veggie broth then stirring a few more times, until only a cup of broth is left. When you’re at the last cup, add the pumpkin and cranberries and repeat stirring. When most of the liquid has absorbed, add salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and lime juice. Stir in coconut milk. Cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt. At this point you can also add a teaspoon or so of maple syrup. This doesn’t make it sweet per se, it just enhances the natural sweetness of the squash and cranberries.


Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving, to let the flavors “marry.” Scoop into bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds.




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