Pumpkin Hummus (and other uses for pumpkin leftovers)

It always makes me sad to think about what becomes of all the leftover pumpkin the week after Thanksgiving. It usually only takes a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of pumpkin to make a Thanksgiving pie, so what about what's left in the can? Or, if you're really ambitious, what happens to the rest of the pumpkin's innards?

Today is garbage pick-up day in our neighbourhood, and I shudder to think of how much post-Thanksgiving pumpkin puree fills the garbage bags and compost bins that line our street. Tragic!

Pumpkin is a nutritional superhero. One cup contains a whopping 145% of your daily Vitamin A requirement (important for vision, bones and immune strength) and 33% of your daily Vitamin C, as well as a plethora of B vitamins. Beta-carotene and other antioxidants - you need them for the upcoming flu season! The last place they belong is in the trash.

So here are a few ways to get rid of leftover pumpkin.

Pumpkin Hummus

This recipe is slightly modified from the one found in the autumn issue of LCBO Food & Drink. Because it's a free publication available in all of their stores, I hope that they don't mind me posting it (especially since I am one of their best customers).

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)

In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, water and tahini and mix until smooth. Add the pumpkin and seasonings and mix until combined. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and hot sauce, if using.

If you're also wanting to use up the last of the Thanksgiving seitan roast, the pumpkin hummus makes a great sandwich spread. Especially when sprinkled with Daiya! Sliced-Seitan-with-Pumpkin-Hummus-and-Mozzarella-Daiya just might be my new favourite post-holiday lunch.

If hummus isn't your thing, how about ice cream?

If you aren't already making ice cream with frozen bananas, you need to start. I was spending a fortune on really unhealthy vegan ice creams for a long time before I discovered this trick, and it can all be done in a food processor or high-powered blender. No fancy ice cream maker required!

What you need is about 1/3-1/2 cup pumpkin puree, two bananas that have been sliced and then frozen, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and a dash of vanilla. If it's not sweet enough for you, feel free to add a tiny bit of raw cane sugar or agave nectar. Fellow Vegan Mofo-er ChreeseOnToast has a more precise recipe. Don't forget the dark chocolate chips!

If all else fails, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin cupcakes are always looking to help you with your excess-pumpkin problem.

And while you're enjoying all this pumpkin deliciousness, don't forget to include your best friend!

Pumpkin is just as good for dogs as it is for humans. It is particularly famous for its ability to help with both doggy constipation and doggy diarrhea (and for promoting overall GI functioning in general). You can use it to make homemade dog food and dog treats, if you want. But raw is good too! We just give it to our Dora by the spoonful and it's one of her favourite treats. Just make sure it's pure pumpkin, which doesn't include any added sugars or spices.


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