I took my children to a local pumpkin festival on the weekend, where people were allowed to pick their own pumpkins off the vine. There were pumpkin carvings and even a pumpkin canon. Yes–pumpkins fired out of a canon on a pirate ship. The kids thought all of this was awesome.
I got into a conversation with another mom, about pumpkins. I was telling her how I love to use pumpkins in both sweet and savory dishes. Her opinion on pumpkins was that they are only good for making pumpkin pie and jack-o’-lanterns because they are too tedious to cook and use in other ways. This conservation got me thinking. The pumpkin is a member of the squash family and many people may look at this thick-coated vegetable as just that, something that is difficult to work with. This perception makes sense because I don’t think many people enjoy scooping out the insides for Hallowe’en carving.
Roasting a pumpkin is an easy way to access its nutrient-dense flesh to puree for pies, other baking, or puddings (see Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chia Pudding recipe). You can also cut the roasted pumpkin into cubes to add to salads, pasta, and chili. Pumpkin is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins such as C, E and A, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. It’s a nutrient-dense vegetable, which can easily be added into your diet. Here is a step-by-step guide to roasting pumpkin, with pictures.
How to Roast Pumpkin: Homemade pumpkin puree
- 1 whole pumpkin about 5-8 pounds
- 2-3 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- pinch sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Turn the pumpkin on its side, and use a sharp knife to slice the top, including the stem, off the pumpkin.
- Cut the pumpkin in half from the top down. This makes it way easier to scoop out the insides
- Use a spoon to scoop away the seeds and stringy parts. *If you want to reserve the seeds for toasting, check out my recipe notes section below for how to do that.
- Cut each pumpkin half into 2 to 3-inch wedges and place them skin-side down on the baking sheet.
- Drizzle the pumpkin wedges with the oil, maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, until soft.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly until the pieces can be handled. Using a spoon, simply scrape up the pumpkin flesh and discard the skin.
- From this point, you can allow the cooked pumpkin pulp to cool before placing into an airtight container and refrigerate for later use. To go a step further, process in a blender until it’s nice and smooth for baking, adding to smoothies or use it in my Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chia Pudding 🙂
- To roast pumpkin seeds: rinse the seeds off to remove any pumpkin. place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Next drizzle a little coconut or avocado oil, salt and pepper or even a little maple syrup if you want it sweeter. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes until they are golden brown.