The Great Pumpkin

By Kathleen Kahlon

Ah…the wonderful pumpkin. Fall is my favourite time of year, not only for the cool reprieve from the summer’s heat, not only because of the beautiful foliage, or the harvest season, but also because of PUMPKINS!  There are so many things you can do with them. For the purposes of this post, when I speak about pumpkins for cooking, I don’t mean the large ones for carving. I am speaking about the small, flavour packed cooking pumpkins, perfect for baking, stewing and eating.

This month, in honour of pumpkin season, I wanted to share a few of my favourite pumpkin recipes that I’ve had the pleasure to make over the last few weeks.

I don’t buy canned pumpkin, but I totally understand the convenience of it. To be honest, I don’t find it that time consuming to make my own.

Pumpkin Puree

  • Preheat over to 400
  • Slice a small pumpkin into quarters.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes in a shallow glass (over safe) dish or even on a cookie sheet would work.
  • Let cool, scoop out meat with a smooth when cool enough to handle.
  • If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, you can just throw it in there, otherwise use a food processor.
  • Pumpkin puree can last up to a week in the fridge.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Quinoa Cornbread

My husband routinely groans about all of my gluten-free cooking only to be pleasantly surprised when he takes a bite. This time, I just didn’t tell him it was gluten-free until after he finished his cornbread. I served this with a spicy vegetarian chili and it was a great combination.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup hemp milk (or another milk of your choice)
1/3 cup grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
2 large organic eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 7 x 11 glass baking dish.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the dry into the wet and whisk together well. Scoop batter into oiled baking dish and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon.  You can garnish with a few pepitas if you want. This recipe also does really well in a muffin tray for an easy snack.

Bake for about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.



Spiced pepitas

These are a great fall snack and although there is white sugar in this recipe, it’s relatively healthy otherwise. If you really want to cut out the sugar I would try experimenting with stevia or maple syrup.


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups shelled pepitas
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Mix pepitas and next 6 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on spiciness desired. Spread pepitas in single layer on baking sheet.

Bake until pepitas are golden and dry, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Separate petpitas with fork while still warm. Cool.


Pumpkin Granola

I am still obsessed with making homemade yogurt. Now that I have perfected the recipe, I am always looking for creative ways to eat my yogurt. I made a variation of this pumpkin granola when I was experimenting in the kitchen the other day.

  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and pat dry with paper towel
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats*
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (or other seed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp oil (coconut or canola)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Spread oats and quinoa out on a parchment lined baking pan. Toast in the oven 10 minutes, stirring once.

Remove the oats from the oven, pour the toasted oats into a medium bowl and add the ground flaxseeds, pepitas, pecans and dried fruit.

Reduce oven to 300° F.

In a second medium bowl, combine maple syrup, pumpkin puree, oil, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salt and vanilla. Pour over oats and stir together with a spatula. Spread back onto a baking sheet and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until golden.

Makes 3 2/3 cups.

And finally, it would seem that I’m not the only one in the household to enjoy pumpkins. As you can see from the photo below, our schnoodle Emmylou loves pumpkin too.


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