I was invited in to the CBC Radio Ottawa studio to chat with Carmen Classen, host of All in a Day, about cooking Halloween pumpkins. If you weren’t able to tune in live, you can catch the recording here.
While I was in studio I gave Carmen a bowl of my Curried Pumpkin & White Bean Stew. She really liked it! I think you will too. Scroll down to get the full recipe.
What I love about this stew is that it’s a great way to showcase a food that is often overlooked. In doing my research for the interview I learned that most pumpkins grown in Canada and the US are purchased for Halloween, only to end up in the landfill creating methane, a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than carbon dioxide. It’s a shame because pumpkins are very nutritious and can provide the base for so many different meals.
For example, I cut up my entire pumpkin, mostly into cubes. I discarded the skin, guts and stem in the compost. The cubed pumpkin yielded over 20 cups! I also kept few large slices with the skin on. (In case you’re wondering, I used combination of a large serrated bread knife and a chef’s knife to chop up my pumpkin.) With the cubed pumpkin I made red lentil and pumpkin soup, cinnamon roasted pumpkin, and the stew. I placed the large slices onto a parchment lined baking tray and roasted for an hour or so at 425 F. Roasting the pumpkin resulted in a rich, slightly sweet flavour. Very tasty! I mashed it up a bit (puree consistency) and added some to a smoothie and gave some to my dog (he is addicted!). I also roasted the seeds! I still have several cups of cubed pumpkin left and I plan on steaming or roasting these in the next day or so. I see pumpkin hummus in my future!
Here’s my challenge to those of you who are into pumpkin carving: if not this year, maybe next year make a plan to cook your pumpkin. A carved pumpkin will only be good for a couple days, so carve it no earlier than the day before Halloween and be prepared to chop and process it as soon as possible. If you don’t have time to process it on Halloween night, pop the entire pumpkin in your fridge and store it there until the next day. Chop it up and cook your pumpkin within a couple days. Pumpkin puree, pumpkin soup and my stew freeze really well, so you can make big batches and freeze them for another time. These are just a few of the countless ways you can cook with pumpkin. If you have any tips, ideas or suggestions for pumpkin, please share them with me in the comment section below.
Curried Pumpkin & White Bean Stew
Yields 6 - 8 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 cayenne pepper including seeds (or other hot pepper of your choice), minced (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 - 2 tablespoons of your favourite curry powder (I like Cha’s Organics Curry Masala)
6 cups of pumpkin, cubed
540ml (19 oz) can of white beans of your choice (I used white kidney), drained and rinsed
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon of salt
400 ml (14 oz) coconut milk (full fat or lite both work)
3 - 4 tightly packed cups of chopped fresh spinach
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
Salt & Pepper
Warm the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and a big pinch of salt. Give it a stir and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions become slightly translucent. Then add the cayenne (if using), garlic, ginger and curry spice. Give it a good stir and cook for another minute.
Add the pumpkin, white beans, vegetable broth, tomato paste and salt, give it a stir, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer, stirring every so often, for about 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is easily pierced by a fork.
Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for a few more minutes. Then add the spinach and give it another stir. Simmer for about 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper as needed. If you’d like a sweeter stew, stir in a drizzle of maple syrup.
Serve with grain of your choice or a slice of crusty bread. Top with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Will keep in the fridge for 5 days or frozen for 2 months.
If you enjoyed the recipe I shared above be sure to check out my Plant-Based Breakthrough program, which is a 4 week online crash course in health, nutrition, and meal planning. For details on when the next program starts click here. You can also join the Plant-Based Breakthrough Community on Facebook where I share recipes, inspiration, and information on plant-based nutrition.