Don’t Pitch Those Pumpkin Guts, Cook Them Up Instead!

Kids and adults alike are quick to throw away, what many deem, pumpkin “guts,” also known as the seeds, fibrous strands, and pulp inside of pumpkins. But what they don’t know is that it is possible to use a whole pumpkin to create a delicious dish.

From the pumpkin’s exterior to the contents within, here are some ideas to use up your leftover pumpkin seeds, guts and exterior:

Pumpkin seeds

  • Baked pumpkin seedswith a little healthy oil and seasoning, pumpkin seeds can go right onto a cookie sheet and into the oven. Just don’t over-season and load up these nutrient-rich seeds with too much salt.
  • Pumpkin seed brittlea mixture of butter, natural sugar and honey blended with these seeds bakes up for a delicious sweet-treat. A small modification can also be made to bake single-serving pumpkin seed candy blends too.

Pumpkin “guts”

  • Pumpkin risotto: cook up a regular batch of risotto and blend in pumpkin puree from the pureed insides, at the same time you would cheese or seasonings. (Making pumpkin puree is pretty easy too.) The sweetness of the pumpkin provides a unique balance in comparison to, what is sometimes bland, rice.
  • Pumpkin hummus: much like the risotto above, you can also make hummus in a traditional way and just add pumpkin flavor or puree. When making the hummus, replace pumpkin for the garlic, red pepper or flavoring usually added to the hummus. If you don’t add flavoring, just mix some pumpkin puree into a finished mixture!

Pumpkin “shell” or exterior

  • Roasted pumpkin soup: chicken stock and some other basic ingredients, cook up this delightful soup right inside of a pumpkin. Allowing the dish to cook inside the squash allows flavors to be infused as a vessel.
  • Pumpkin stuffing stuffed into a pumpkin: did we mention there’s pumpkin and stuffing in this recipe? Yummy fall staples like maple, chicken and dried berries all balance out the pumpkin flavors baked right into the stuffing. For delicious taste and beautiful presentation, you can bake the stuffing right in an old pumpkin “shell”!

And, as always, traditional pumpkin pie is way more delicious with real pumpkin rather than processed. Just be sure to make sure the pumpkin is ripe and not too old to eat.

What other dishes do you like to add pumpkin flavors to?

Photo credit: Luca Nebuloni

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