A frightening number of pumpkins were wasted last year, with an estimated 22.2 million going in the bin after they were carved. The only inedible part of a pumpkin is the stalk, meaning the rest can be put to great use in seasonal meals, treats, and drinks.
To help reduce pumpkin waste this year, experts at Ocado have collated delicious recipes and tips to try, including every part of the versatile, flavour-filled fruit.
From a winter-warming porridge to crispy root vegetable sharers, a comfort-food gnocchi dish, and a crowd-pleasing cake, try the four recipes below and reduce pumpkin waste:
Crispy Root Vegetables with Pumpkin Seeds and Parsley Dip
A colourful topping or a side that doubles as a post-dinner snack on the sofa. An extra idea for this sharer is to peel some of the pumpkin’s skin to crisp up in the oven, adding a crunchy extra to dunk in the dip.
- 500ml vegetable oil
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 parsnip, peeled
- 2 beetroots, peeled
- ¾ tsp. cinnamon
- 300ml creme fraiche
- 6 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp. parsley
- Heat the oil for deep frying (around 165 °C). Use a vegetable peeler to shave the vegetables into long, wafer-thin pieces, removing any excess moisture with kitchen paper.
- Put a handful of slices in the oil for 2–3 minutes, until their colour deepens and they crisp up. They will get crispier as they cool, so be careful not to overcook. Remove and place on kitchen paper.
- Repeat until they are all cooked, then transfer into a dish and sprinkle over the salt and cinnamon. Mix carefully by hand.
- To make the dip, finely chop the toasted seeds and parsley, then blitz in a blender with the crème fraiche, seasoning to taste.
Pumpkin Spice Porridge
Food writer Esther Clark has devised this Pumpkin Spiced Porridge, a nourishing, veggie-boosted treat for autumn that is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
- 80g quick-cook oats or fine oatmeal
- 100g pumpkin purée
- 50ml of milk (any type)
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
- 4 tsp. extra-thick double cream (optional)
- Cook the oats in a small pan over the hob as per pack instructions.
- Stir in the pumpkin purée and milk, then sweeten to taste with maple syrup and a little cinnamon.
- Divide the porridge between two bowls and, working quickly, drizzle a spoonful of cream over each in at least three concentric circles.
- Drag a cocktail stick or knife tip through from the centre a few times to create a spider’s web effect; serve immediately.
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Sage Butter
Use up any leftover pumpkin from lantern carving to make this filling, comforting recipe for the whole family.
- 200g ricotta
- 1 (425g) tin pumpkin purée (or use fresh purée; swap for butternut squash if you prefer)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp. fine salt
- 2 tsp. light brown sugar
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 300g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 thyme sprigs (approx.) to decorate (optional)
- 200 ml of double cream
- 100g gorgonzola, chopped
- 30g parmesan, finely grated
- 100g cavolo nero, finely sliced
- 100g salted butter
- 20 sage leaves
- 50g chopped walnuts
- Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Blitz the ricotta in a food processor for a few seconds to loosen, then add the pumpkin purée, egg yolks, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and a little black pepper. Add the flour and mix until it comes together as a dough.
- Turn out onto a floured work surface; knead briefly. Divide into quarters, then roll into logs, flatten slightly, and cut into “pillows”, placing them on one of the lined trays as you go. For “pumpkins”, roll into balls and indent the tops and sides with a toothpick. Create a “stalk” by pressing a small sprig of thyme into the top of each pumpkin. Chill for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Cook the chilled gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water for 2–3 minutes until they float to the surface (you may need to do this in batches). Wait for 30 seconds to one minute, so they’re just cooked through, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the second lined baking tray. Set it aside while you make the sauce.
- Put the cream, gorgonzola, and parmesan into a medium pan and warm gently over low heat, whisking until combined. Stir the cavolo nero into the sauce until wilted; season to taste.
- Melt half the butter in a frying pan with 10 sage leaves. Add half the gnocchi and half the walnuts and cook for a few minutes until the bottoms are caramelised, basting with hot butter. Remove it and set it aside. Repeat with the other half.
- To serve, divide the blue cheese sauce and gnocchi between plates, then spoon over the crispy sage butter and the caramelised walnuts.
Pumpkin Layer Cake
Based on the same principle as carrot cake, Gizzi Erskine’s Pumpkin Layer Cake marries moist pumpkin with warming, sweet spices and cream cheese icing.
- 250ml olive oil, plus extra for the tin
- 100g pitted dates, chopped
- 1 orange, zest, and juice
- 1 lemon, zest, and juice
- 1 lime, zest, and juice
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 280g pumpkin, grated (or use butternut squash)
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- 350g plain flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 pinch of ground cloves
- ¼ tsp. fine salt
- 100g pecans, toasted and chopped
- 100g dried pineapple, chopped
- 250ml double cream
- 200g icing sugar
- 500g cream cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Grease the base and sides of a deep 23 cm x 8 cm loose-bottomed cake tin with oil and line with baking paper.
- Put the 100g dates in a bowl with the zests and juices of the orange, lemon, and lime; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the muscovado sugar and oil with an electric whisk for two minutes or until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking for one minute before each addition and for two minutes after the third and final egg. Beat in the pumpkin and one teaspoon of vanilla until evenly dispersed.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, and salt, then add to the wet mixture and whisk well. Stir in the pecans, pineapple, and date mixture, pour into the tin, and bake for one hour and 10 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin for 2–3 hours.
- For the icing, combine the cream, icing sugar, and remaining one teaspoon vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat with an electric whisk until thick. Fold in the cream cheese until smooth and easily spreadable.
- Remove the cake from the tin, level with a sharp knife, and then cut into three even layers. Place the base layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread over 45 tablespoons of the icing, sandwich with the next layer, and repeat. Ice the sides of the cake first, then the top. I prefer a slightly thinner layer, but feel free to opt for more! Adorn with decorations, if you like, and serve. The cake will keep chilled in an airtight container for four days.
Tips or serving suggestions
Allow 2–3 hours for the cake to cool before icing. To make crystallised citrus, thinly slice the fruit, brush with sugar, and place on a lined baking tray. Bake for 2–3 hours at 110°C/90°C fan/gas ¼ until dry; store in an airtight container. For sugared bay, dip the leaves in egg white, then sugar, and leave to dry. For caramelised pecans, heat one tablespoon sugar in a pan with a splash of water until bubbling; add the nuts, swirl to coat, then tip onto a lined tray to harden.