Most vegetarians that I know are concerned with living as sustainably as possible and making the most of our resources – especially food. As I was watching my kids carve Jack O’ Lanterns this weekend, I determined to use all of that pumpkin flesh they would ordinarily dump on the compost heap. So I had them pile it into food-grade buckets and bring it into the kitchen. Wow! I ended up with almost twenty pounds of fresh pumpkin. Some of it I froze to use in our Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, but then it was off to the internet for some great vegetarian pumpkin recipes that had nothing to do with pie.
One of the best sources I found was a great post from the beautiful and delicious TheDailyMeal.com.
Their post, “Beyond Pie: Ten Great Pumpkin Recipes,” was a great place to get some wonderful ideas. Saturday was all pumpkin, all day long in my kitchen.
One recipe of theirs that I tried was the Pumpkin Chowder, although I used coconut milk in my preparation, because I love the slightly nutty-sweet flavor it adds. It was delicious and fast and just what we wanted on a slightly cool autumn evening.
I also made the Roasted Pumpkin Croutons, which are something I never would have thought to do on my own.
They taste wonderful and keep well for about a week, I think. We tossed them onto a Romaine and spinach salad Sunday night and added them to some pea bisque today. Delicious!
Some of the other recipes I’m going to be trying from the post are Pumpkin Pie Spice Donuts with Vanilla Glaze and caramel Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars. Not all of the recipes are vegetarian, but most of them are and I can attest to the quality and creativity of the ones I tried.
Some other great ideas for using up all of the fresh pumpkin you may have after carving your masterpieces are pumpkin ravioli, mashed pumpkin (treated like mashed potatoes but so much healthier), pumpkin pudding and pumpkin cake.
In a time when our country is throwing away tons of food every year and so many people around the globe are going hungry, it just feels good to use up unexpected bounties such as the innards of our holiday decorations, don’t you think?