This winter, we’ll be sharing recipes to help you make the most out of one ingredient, creating some exciting dishes to wow the family with.
Halloween might feel slightly different this year, but it means that there’s plenty of opportunity to get creative in your kitchen with the veg of the season: pumpkins!
Below we’ve shared three of our favourite recipes that celebrate this vibrant root veg, helping you to create some tasty snacks and mouth-watering showstoppers.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are all too often cast aside and forgotten whilst carving for Halloween. So here, we show you how they can be used to up your snacking game and liven up lunchtimes. What’s more, it only takes a few minutes to prepare.
Firstly, open up the top of your pumpkin and using a sharp knife, remove the seeds. Once you’ve collected as many seeds as you need, transfer them to a colander and rinse under cold water, peeling away any stringy bits of pumpkin filling. When these have been removed, it’s time to toast.
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C /180°C fan/gas mark 6, grab yourself a baking tray and sprinkle a touch of olive oil across it.
- Scatter your pumpkin seeds and spread these out across the tray, making sure that none are piled up on top of each other.
- Next, find your flavours – we love any combination on our pumpkin seeds at Higgidy, from garlic and chili powder for a savory kick, to cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat. Either way, generously sprinkle your flavourings over your seeds and then toss, so that each is covered on either side.
- Then pop in the oven and toast for 5-15 minutes. Little seeds tend to toast quite quickly, so keep an eye on these. Larger seeds might take a little longer.
Once you’ve toasted your seeds, let them cool and then pop them into an airtight container. You can then use these on anything such a crunchy topping for your morning porridge or overnight oats, or to jazz up a classic flapjack or granola bar. You can even add them into your lunches by sprinkling over your soup, or on top of a pasta bake – just like how we use pumpkin seeds to hand top our Super Mac ‘n’ Greens. The possibilities are endless.
Pumpkin, Walnut and Sage Crostata
Our next recipe is a crostata which is an Italian baked tart. This is a wonderfully rustic free-form dish with its sweet pumpkin filling and tangy Stilton topping. Add a simple apple and celery slaw on the side and you’ve got yourself a winter centerpiece.
Here’s how to make this recipe (serves 6):
You will need:
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry (homemade or shop bought)
A little flour for dusting
For the filling:
1 medium pumpkin (about 750g weight)
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
Leaves from half a bunch of sage
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 teaspoon honey
2 tsps wholegrain mustard
2 tsps apple cider vinegar
A pinch of chilli flakes
12 sage leaves
50g blue cheese, such as stilton, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C/gas mark 6.
- Peel the pumpkin and chop into 2cm thick wedges.
- Arrange over two large roasting trays with the shallots, garlic and sage. Drizzle over enough olive oil to coat both trays and season well with salt and pepper. Place both trays in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Take both trays out of the oven, set one tray to one side, this will be used later to decorate the top of the croustade. To the other add the walnuts and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Take out of the oven (but leave the oven on) and scrape the walnut and pumpkin mixture into a food processor with the honey, mustard, vinegar and chili flakes. Blitz on a high speed, and while the motor is running, drizzle in about 4 tablespoons olive oil to help the squash mixture to turn from chunky to smooth consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as desired.
- Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll the pastry out to a rough 22cm round, about 3mm thick. Transfer onto a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Spoon the mixture from the food processor into the centre of the pastry, leaving about 4cm border around the edge. Arrange the reserved wedges of pumpkin on top of the pumpkin filling. Crimp the sides of the pastry up to the edge of the vegetables.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the crostata is cooking melt the butter in a frying pan and when it starts to foam, scatter the sage leaves evenly around the pan so that there is no overlap. Use a spatula to turn the leaves over and crisp them up (crisping the sage leaves should take no longer than 45 seconds). Remove the sage leaves to a plate lined with kitchen paper to crisp up.
- Remove the crostata from the oven, crumble over the blue cheese and crispy sage leaves. Allow to cool and the blue cheese to melt into the crostata for 15 minutes before slicing.
If you’re looking for recipes to make some tasty sides, Higgidy: The Veggie Cookbook is full of quick and easy recipes perfect for dishes just like these.
Roasted Risotto Pumpkin Pie
Our final recipe is a brilliant combination of risotto and pie, but there’s no need to make pastry - the pumpkin acts as a delicious ‘container’ for the filling. What’s more, the risotto is baked in the oven, which saves all that endless stirring on the hob. Leave out the bacon lardons and this pie makes a dramatic centerpiece for a vegetarian Christmas dinner!
This recipe serves 4 and requires 1 x 1.5 litre ceramic ovenproof dish and 1 x large roasting tin
You will need:
A small pumpkin or queen squash (about 1kg in weight)
2 tbsp olive oil
15g unsalted butter
1 large shallot or two small ones, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100g butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-size cubes
150g Arborio risotto rice
Small bunch of fresh sage, half roughly chopped, the other half set aside for garnish
200ml white wine
400ml vegetable stock, gluten free if necessary
30g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative
For the garnish:
50g smoked bacon lardons or pancetta (leave out for veggies)
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C/gas mark 6.
2. Start by slicing off the top of the pumpkin to make a lid or hat. Place this on the roasting tin. Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin and hollow out some of the flesh to create the container for the pie. Rub the pumpkin with 1 tbsp of olive oil along with some salt and pepper. Place on the roasting tin along with the lid and bake for 25 minutes. Set aside.
3. Turn the oven down to 170°C/150°C/gas mark 3½. Put a ceramic dish into the oven to warm.
4. Melt the butter in a medium nonstick pan over a medium heat and add the shallots. Fry for 5-7 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the garlic and butternut squash and stir well. Now add the rice and the chopped sage, remembering to save the whole leaves for later. Make sure all the ingredients are evenly coated in butter.
5. Add the wine and stock and bring up to a gentle simmer. As soon as you have reached this point, tip the risotto into the warm ovenproof dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Spoon the cooked risotto into your roasted pumpkin and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until your pumpkin ‘container’ is warm.
6. While the filled pumpkin is warming through, fry the bacon (if using) in a nonstick pan over a high heat and, during the last minute of cooking, add the whole sage leaves that you have set aside. You want both the bacon and the sage leaves to be crisp.
7. Just before serving, top with the bacon and sage leaves. Manoeuvre onto a pretty plate and place the lid on top at a jaunty angle.
We hope that you will enjoy making these in your own kitchens and please do share any snaps of your creations with us either by tagging us @higgidy using #ComfortandJoy or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org