The crisp chill in the air and the scattering of red, orange, and yellow-hued leaves can only mean one thing—fall has arrived. As one of the most anticipated seasons, the arrival of fall also signals the arrival of pumpkin season. From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads, pumpkin is a seasonal staple that finds its way into many dishes across the global spectrum.
While pumpkins are most well known for carving into jack-o-lanterns there are many cultures across the world that incorporate these nutritious gourds into their cuisines. Not only does pumpkin take on various forms in these dishes, it is also prepared in various ways that enhance its flavor and texture. For example, in Thai cuisine, pumpkin is often pureed into a soup along with coconut milk and curry spices. In Italy, pumpkin becomes the filling for simple and quick ravioli. In Japan, Kabocha, a sweeter relative of the pumpkin, is simply roasted to develop its syrupy flavors. Once you give these recipes a try, you’ll realize that pumpkin serves more than a decorative purpose!
Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup
A quick and simple vegetarian soup and perfect warm-up on a chilly fall day!
2 tablespoons red curry paste
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15-oz cans pumpkin puree
1 13.5-oz can coconut milk
cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Cook the curry paste in a large saucepan until fragrant.
- Add the broth, pumpkin, and coconut and cook until it reaches a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Divide the soup into four bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
Italian Pumpkin Ravioli
A savory pumpkin filling enveloped inside a light wonton wrapper makes for an easy and delicious twist on traditional Italian ravioli.
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
24 wonton wrappers
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fill a large saucepan halfway with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, parmesan, salt, and pepper to make the filling.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges with water and fold into a triangle.
- Place the filled ravioli into the boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Remove and drain in a colander.
- To make the sauce, combine the vegetable broth and olive oil in a sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add ravioli and toss to coat. Enjoy!
Japanese Roasted Kabocha Squash
Explore pumpkin in a different cultural perspective with this roasted squash recipe.
1 medium Kabocha squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Rinse the rind of the Kabocha squash and using a sharp knife, cut off the top and bottom of the squash.
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
- Cut the squash into thin wedges and place onto the baking sheet.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the squash wedges and toss with salt and pepper. Position the wedges into a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, flipping the wedges over at 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy.
Celebrate the fall season and showcase pumpkin at your next gathering with these cultural variations to this autumn seasonal favorite!