Between the CSA we joined this fall and all the great prices on squash at the markets, we ended up with a cache of winter squash to figure out what to do with this year. We ran through the basics pretty quickly, with pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, and stuffed acorn squash; even a few out there experiments like curried butternut squash and an unfortunate black bean and pumpkin soup. But I find that I can only handle having squash as a main dish once or twice a week at most before I get sick of it, no matter how good the dish.
To remedy this issue, I thought it was high time to figure out how to use pumpkin as an appetizer instead of the main course. I did all kinds of googling to see how other people use pumpkin as an appetizer and found that it is much more commonly used as a dessert, which shouldn’t have been surprising. And as appetizers go, I’m pretty lazy, and I’d rather not have to make dozens of bite-sized anything if I can avoid it.
And then I stumbled upon a great idea: pumpkin hummus! I didn’t want to have to shop and get tahini though. And pumpkins aren’t really known for their protein content, so I didn’t think it fair to make a hummus without chickpeas. Either way, pumpkin as a dip is a great way to get that pumpkin flavor in before dessert without it taking over the whole meal. The flavor is bright and exciting and is a great addition to any holiday party.
As long as I have winter squashes in the house, I will also probably have pumpkin hummus.
Recipe: Pumpkin Hummus
Makes 3 cups of hummus
- 2 cups of pumpkin, any variety, cooked (or one can of pureed pumpkin)
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp cumin
- sprinkle of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- To cook the pumpkin, cut a pumpkin of any variety into halves or quarters. Scoop out seeds with a large spoon (reserve for roasting if you wish). Place the pumpkin pieces cut-side down on a sprayed baking sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool uncovered.
- Rinse chickpeas and place in a baking sheet pan, tossed with a bit of olive oil. Raise the oven’s temperature to 400 degrees and roast for 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are crispy.
- Scoop cooled pumpkin out of its skin using a large spoon. Add 2 cups to a food processor, reserve the rest for another pumpkin dish (like pie!).
- Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and pulse until the hummus has reached the desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve with pita chips or cut vegetables for dipping, or spread onto sandwiches and burgers.
About this author: I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin. Read more from this author...