Craving Pumpkins Instead of Carving Them

Maybe I’m overzealous about pumpkins, but nothing deflates my positivity than seeing food wasted. To be honest, this goes for junk food as much as healthy food. But pumpkins may be at the top of the list for causing frustration. Because pumpkins are one of the top foods wasted, simply because people don’t know what to do with them once Halloween is over.

Before You Carve

It’s a lot of fun carving a pumpkin. Getting all the guts out, designing creative sketches and carving them out. It’s cathartic, to be sure.

But carving pumpkins, especially weeks before Halloween actually ruins the pumpkin and makes them inedible. Rot takes hold of a carved pumpkin in three to five days. Yes, in colder climates, these beautiful orange beacons keep their shape for up to two weeks, but after 2 days exposed to the air and all sorts of bacteria, your pumpkin has one of two options– compost (please compost your pumpkin!) or toss in the garbage.

Composting is a far better option, as organic foods help nourish the soil as it decomposes. Plus if you compost in your own garden, there’s an excellent chance of growing what are called volunteers. These volunteers are freebies, and are just as pumpkin-y as the predecessor. 

If you decide to carve a pumpkin, but don’t have the means to compost it, I recommend waiting until the night before or the day of Halloween. That way, you can harvest your pumpkin immediately afterwards, enjoy some delicious seasonal treats, and avoid adding to the tremendous waste pumpkins create each year.

Craving Pumpkins

You might be asking “Okay, so what are some of these delicious treats?” 

Last week, I shared some ideas for what to do with pureed pumpkin— besides just pumpkin pie– yogurt parfait, overnight oats, and a fall smoothie.

But what about the great gorgeous gourd itself?

Well, if you are looking for a great autumn themed snack, check out these ideas for Roasted Pumpkin Wedges. These can be a scrumptious side-dish, an amazing afternoon snack, or appetizer (even for your Halloween party).

Roasted Pumpkin Wedges

There are tons of variations for roasting pumpkin wedges. I’ll share my favorite 4 recipes: Feta cheese and Thyme, Paprika and Turmeric, Parmesan Crusted, and Sweet Pumpkin Spice. If you would like more variations, there are dozens online.

Find a spice combo for your pumpkin wedges here.

For roasted pumpkin wedges, you can leave the rind on, but don’t eat the skin. If you use delicata squash as a substitute for pumpkin, its skin is edible.

Most recipes call for you preheating your oven, but my secret Cooking Green tip is to wait to turn on your oven until you are ready to roast. Preheating the oven is just wasted energy, heating nothing. Why not use that energy to cook your food?

Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds (save them for roasting, too– use the same spices or another you love). Cut 1-2 pounds of the pumpkin into thin wedges. Place on a baking sheet in one layer. Brush both sides with olive oil, and your choice of favorite seasoning, spices, or flavors.

Feta Cheese and Thyme

Spice Ingredients

  •  2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp thyme 
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  1.  Sprinkle thyme and garlic over pumpkin slices.
  2. Place baking sheet in oven, set to 400 degrees F and roast for 25 minutes. Sprinkle feta cheese over slices. Turn off oven and let passively bake for 10 minutes.

Turmeric and Paprika

Spice Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • One tsp each paprika and turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp each corainder and cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Yogurt Tzatziki

  • 1 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp tahini 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl. Dollop on your favorite treats or dip (fries) into sauce.

Directions 

  1. Make the marinade by mixing together the olive oil, garlic, spices, salt, and pepper to taste.
  2. Brush the spice mixture on the wedges and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Bake in oven at 400 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes or until the wedges are soft and browning along the rind. Turn off oven and let wedges passively bake for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime make the yogurt tzatziki dip, if desired. 

Parmesan Crusted Pumpkin Wedges

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  •  1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, or 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Mix together in a small bowl the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, half the lemon zest, the garlic, a tiny amount of salt and some pepper.
  2. Brush the pumpkin generously with olive oil and sprinkle with the crust mix.
  3. Place the pan in the oven, set temperature to 400 degrees F, and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender.
  4. Turn off oven and let passively bake for 10 more minutes or until parmesan crust is crispy.
  5. This goes great with the Yogurt Tzatziki sauce as well. 

Sweet Pumpkin Spice

Ingredients

  • 1/8 tsp each ground clove and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Optional: 2 tbsp honey or natural sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, etc.) 

Directions

  1. Place pumpkin slices on baking sheet. Drizzle both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and spices (and honey/sweetener if desired).
  2. Place in oven and turn on to 400 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender and rind is starting to brown. Turn off oven and let passively bake for another 10 minutes.

Trick or TREAT

Turn your carving into a pumpkin craving! Let’s save pumpkins from being wasted and create a delicious and seasonal treat throughout the entire season. 

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