If you’re a pumpkin lover, then today is your special day. Because it’s the second annual Virtual Pumpkin Party hosted by Sara from Cake Over Steak. Which means that dozens and dozens of brand spanking new savory and sweet pumpkin recipes from some of your favorite food bloggers will be hitting the internet. It’s kind of epic.
Me? I’ve never really been bitten by the pumpkin bug. In fact, I’m sometimes even audibly opposed to the whole idea. Part of this is for social/cultural reasons. I just can’t stand the pumpkin mania that descends upon us every August. It’s too soon. August is for eating watermelon until your hands and face are sticky. And for enjoying fruity cocktails in the sun until you feel that warm glow both inside and out. August is not meant for pumpkin. So I find myself shunning pumpkin, maybe more harshly than it deserves. Because in my own weird way, it’s how I rebel against the early adopters.
Also, I’ve come to realize that I’m just not a super huge fan of either the canned stuff or the overpowering flavor that can come from pre-made pumpkin spice mixes. Sure, I’ve used them in the past with success. And I probably will again in the future. There is no denying their convenience. But maybe going forward, they won’t be my main source for pumpkin inspiration.
So to try to learn to love pumpkin (or at least to not so fiercely oppose it), I’m setting my focus on the fresh stuff. Real pumpkins. Grown locally and harvested in season. And you know what? I may be turning over a new leaf.
For last years #virtualpumpkinparty, I crafted this festive Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum (have you seen the color of this baby?). So this year, I decided to go the savory route. I picked up some fresh pumpkins from the local farm stand (the ones for cooking will be labeled “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”) and got to work at creating this easy Chicken and Pumpkin Chili. It’s super hearty, filled with big chunks of pumpkin, shredded chicken and both white and black beans. And it’s loaded with warming spices like ginger and cumin. Oh and don’t skip the corn tortilla chips for serving. They are absolutely necessary, in my humble opinion.
To make my life easier, I used shredded chicken that I removed from one of those grocery store rotisserie chickens. It’s one of my favorite kitchen shortcuts, and I have no shame in admitting that. But you can cook your own chicken at home and use that instead, if you prefer.
Dismantling a whole pumpkin can be a bit intimidating. And I’m certainly no expert at this task. I cut mine into wedges, scooped out and discarded the seeds. Then removed the skin with a standard vegetable peeler before dicing the flesh into cubes. If you have a better way of handling things, please let me know! Oh and if you’re opposed to pumpkin (or simply can’t find any fresh ones), you can substitute in an equal amount of peeled and cubed butternut squash or sweet potato.
Recipe adapted from Gluten Free Goddess
If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while now, then you know that I really like toppings. My motto: the more toppings, the better.
Part of the reason for this mild obsession with adding ALL THE THINGS to my foods is because I truly feel like certain food items (like puréed soups, for example) just shouldn’t be naked. But also, I really like the artistic aspect of it all. Food can be a wonderful canvas to play with different colors and textures. In fact, some of my most creative moments can come when I’m staring down at a smoothie bowl or a slice of avocado toast.
But even I have to admit that sometimes I can get a little out of control with the garnishes. Like, did we really need cilantro on that?
The answer is yes, by the way. We always need cilantro.
So when I first pulled these roasted red cabbage wedges out of the oven, I was tempted to hit them with chopped hazelnuts. Maybe a drizzle of tahini-lemon sauce. And of course, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. But I resisted. Because these vibrant purple wedges were just too gosh darn beautiful to cover up. And they tasted amazing as well. For once, no extra embellishments were necessary.
I must admit that cabbage was never really a vegetable that I loved. Because I mostly associated it with coleslaw, which is kind of yuck in my humble opinion. But now I’m proud to shout from the rooftops that I’m an official cabbage lover! Seriously, sign me up for more of this stuff. It’s incredible. If you ever wanted to know how to eat an entire head of cabbage in one sitting, this is most definitely the way. In fact, I’m so confident that my Roasted Red Cabbage Wedges with Za’atar will convert anyone into a bona fide cabbage lover, that there is a money back guarantee on this recipe. Which is freely available on the internet, so there you go. Sorry.
These Roasted Red Cabbage Wedges with Za’atar would make a gorgeous side dish for any hearty Fall meal. In fact, you might even want to bookmark this recipe for Thanksgiving. Just saying.
Za’atar seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that is frequently used in Middle Eastern cooking. And it’s an incredibly easy way to add a big punch of flavor to any dish. You can find za’atar in most large grocery stores, either with the other spices or in the aisle with the international items.
I’ve created this recipe as part of our monthly #eatseasonal round-up organized by my friend Becky from Vintage Mixer. October is a fun month in the kitchen, because there are still a few hints of Summer produce lingering. And lots of sturdy Fall fruits and vegetables, too. Check out Becky’s October Produce Guide for the low down on everything that’s seasonal and delicious this month. And scroll down below the recipe to see what some of my other blogging friends were inspired to create this October!
October Eat Seasonal Recipes
Turkey Pumpkin Pot Pie by Kitchen Confidante
Roasted Chicken with Figs and Butternut Squash by Vintage Mixer
Lentil Chile Rellenos with Creamy Walnut Sauce by Letty’s Kitchen
Chorizo, Black Bean, and Kabocha Squash Chili by Flavor the Moments
Roasted Vegetable Soup by Joy Food Sunshine
Spiced Zucchini Pear Cake with Brown Butter Glaze by Completely Delicious
Orange Spiced Salmon with Spaghetti Squash by Foodie Crush
Pork Chops with Roasted Pears, Sage and Shallots by Simple Bites
Marinated Zucchini with Red Peppers and Garlic by Project Domestication