Despite the heat wave we’re experiencing here in Los Angeles, fall officially started on Wednesday. Definitely not like my East Coast upbringing of leaves changing color and sweaters being taken out of mothballs. Luckily, the Larchmont Farmer’s Market is in tune with the calendar and not the thermometer, with persimmons, pomegranates, and apples returning to the bounty of produce available. The fall colors are here!
Of course, nothing says fall more than pumpkin cooked with warm spices. Frecker Farms had a table laden with bright organic orange sugar pumpkins, sometimes referred to as pie pumpkins. Most pumpkins we see at the big markets are ornamental, used for carving Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns or as centerpieces on Thanksgiving. Not these small beauties. This variety of winter squash is recipe-ready and will put shame to the canned pumpkin we often think is the only kind available for cooking.
There are endless ways to use pumpkin, beyond the beloved Thanksgiving pie. This sweet and spiced roasted pumpkin will become a favorite. It’s kind of like pumpkin pie with a lot fewer calories…but just as addictive. I like to use the smaller pumpkins for this recipe. The large pumpkins I use for pureed pumpkin.
While the pumpkin slices are delicious served on their own as a side dish, they are also a yummy addition in salads, as a pizza topping or tossed with pasta.
Please note that microwaving the pumpkins for 1-2 minutes, depending on size, will make it much easier to cut into slices.
Wash your hands well after tossing in the spices, as turmeric stains.
Sweet Spiced Roasted Pumpkin
2-3 small sugar pumpkins, total weight about 3.5 pounds
1 T refined coconut oil
1 T unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground turmeric
4 T real maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees convection roast or 425 degrees conventional oven.
Wash and dry the pumpkins. Break off as much stem as you can. Microwave each pumpkin, one at a time, for 1-2 minutes, depending on size, to soften. This will make it much easier to cut! Let cool. Cut off the stem end being careful not to cut too much. Cut in half long ways and scoop out the seeds. Reserve for roasting or toss. For small pumpkins cut in 3/4 inch slices for larger pumpkins cut in ½ inch slices. Put slices in a very large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine the 2 coconut oils in a microwave safe bowl and heat 20 -30 seconds to melt. While the oil is cooling, mix the spices with a pinch of kosher salt. When the pumpkin and coconut oils are cool enough to handle, toss together in the mixing bowl. Make sure that all are coated evenly. Add the spices and toss, again making sure that all are coated evenly. Add the maple syrup and toss again. Distribute evenly in 2 metal sheet trays lined with parchment paper. Drizzle on any syrup left at the bottom of the bowl. Lightly sprinkle each pumpkin slice with a bit of kosher salt. Bake in the bottom third of the oven for 20 -30 minutes until flesh is soft and skin is a bit charred. No need to turn over the slices. I like to cook one pan at a time, so it doesn’t steam in the oven. That can happen when roasting too many watery vegetables at once. If you want to roast all of them at once, be sure to rotate and switch oven racks at least once during cooking.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.
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