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Millions of pumpkins will be carved and then thrown away this Halloween. These simple recipes can reduce your food waste and make use of the delicious squash. 

’Tis the season for pumpkin carving. But after we’ve all laid our gourds out for the neighbours, 22.2 million of them are set to be chucked without being eaten and will create an additional 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin-based food waste every Halloween.

That’s probably because over two-thirds of people claim not to care at all about the taste or nutritional value of their pumpkin, according to research by organic veg box company Riverford. But pumpkins are so much more than decorations — they’re packed with vitamins A and C, as well as loaded with fibre and magnesium. 

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Turning your pumpkin into a meal is pretty much non-negotiable. If you’ve never cooked with pumpkin, here are some recipes to get you started. 

Four pumpkin recipes

Spiced pumpkin quinoa salad

Pumpkin quinoa salad

Serves: 2—3

Ingredients:

1 small cooking pumpkin, sliced into 1/2 inch wedges (skin on)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

Salt

90g mixed nuts and seeds (I used pecans, pumpkin seeds and pistachios)

2 tbsp maple syrup

4 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp maple syrup

Juice from 1 lemon

Cooked quinoa, to appetite 

3 large handfuls of mixed salad

Herbs such as parsley, mint and basil – to garnish

Method: 

Preheat a fan oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a bowl, toss the pumpkin wedges with the olive oil, cinnamon, chilli and a good pinch of sea salt. 

Spread out on the tray in a single layer and roast in the oven, turning halfway through, for 30 minutes until they are soft when pricked with a fork.

Roughly chop any large nuts up and mix them with the seeds. 

Spread onto a separate lined baking tray and drizzle over the maple syrup and a good pinch of sea salt. Place in the oven for eight to 10 minutes, being cautious not to burn them — maple syrup can burn quickly.

To assemble the salad, mix the salad and cooked quinoa as a base, then top with the pumpkin wedges, crumble over the maple nut and seed mix.

For the dressing, combine tahini, maple and lemon juice together in a mug or small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add a splash of cold water if your tahini is quite thick to loosen the dressing.

Drizzle over the salad just before serving and top with fresh herbs.

Recipe and image courtesy of Lucy Lord. 

Pumpkin innard soup with pumpkin seed croutons

Pumpkin innard soup

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 

Pumpkin inners (pulp and seeds from 1 large pumpkin)

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp cumin

550ml vegetable stock

1 can of coconut milk

For the croutons:

Pumpkin seeds

Sumac

Garlic granules

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Spread the pumpkin seeds onto a baking tray and drizzle with oil, sumac and garlic granules ensuring they’re all covered.

Bake until crispy (approx. 15 mins).

Meanwhile, dice the onion and garlic cloves.

Heat oil in a pan then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.

Add the pumpkin inners, chilli flakes and cumin to the pan and continue to cook for about eight minutes.

Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to boil and then simmer for around 12 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.

Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth.

Serve with a sprinkle of the croutons.

Recipe and image courtesy of Green Chef.

Pumpkin and garlic houmous

Pumpkin and garlic houmous recipe

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients: 

1 can organic chickpeas

1 cup pumpkin 

1/2 bulb garlic

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

Pinch chilli flakes

Pinch sea salt

Black pepper

Juice 1/2 lemon

2/3 cup water

Method: 

Cut the pumpkin into small cubes (no need to remove the skin) and place on a baking tray with the garlic (no need to skin).

Drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast for 40-50 minutes on a medium heat until tender.

Allow to cool before squeezing the garlic out of its skins and adding all of the ingredients to your food processor.

Blitz until you get the houmous consistency you like — add more water if you prefer a thinner dip.

Serve with a hunk of bread, pitta, vegetables or a spoon.

Recipe and image courtesy of Niki Webster at rebelrecipes.com

Pumpkin spice dessert

Pumpkin spice dessert

Serves: 2

Ingredients: 

225g Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative) 

100g pumpkin, chopped into cubes

1/4 tsp mixed spice

2 tsp. honey or maple syrup

4 tbsp granola

2 tbsp raisins

4 tsp cashews, roughly chopped

Method: 

Make a pumpkin puree by steaming the pumpkin for 10 minutes until soft then mashing. Allow to cool before making the dessert (you can make a batch of this ahead of time and store in the fridge or freezer).

Place the yogurt, pumpkin purée, mixed spice, and honey or maple syrup in a bowl and combine until smooth and creamy.

Spoon a quarter of the mixture each into two glasses or mugs.

Top with a quarter of the granola, raisins, and cashews.

Spoon the remaining pumpkin mixture on top before sprinkling over the rest of the granola, raisins, and cashews.

Recipe and image from Rhiannon Lambert, registered nutritionist and author of Deliciously Healthy Pregnancy. 

Images: Lucy Lord/Green Chef/Niki Webster/Rhiannon Lambert 

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