What do sweaters, changing leaves, apple picking and football Sundays have in common? They’re all signs that fall has finally arrived here in Chicago. But perhaps no autumn signifier is more notorious or beloved than pumpkin, the star of this recipe collection. Instead of focusing on pumpkin’s commonplace preparations — pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin spice lattes — we thought we’d show off its more versatile side as an ingredient. After all, given its inclusion in the squash family, pumpkin not only makes for an excellent addition to desserts, but breakfast dishes, appetizers and entrée options as well. Check out these recipes from some of our favorite food bloggers for creative ways to show off the many shades of fall’s favorite flavor.
A good bar recipe is never a bad thing to have in your back pocket. Especially these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars from Averie Cooks. Creamy peanut butter and pumpkin puree get tossed with a hefty portion of rolled oats and a few dashes each of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice before being pressed and baked into bars. Besides coming together in no time at all, these bars keep can be kept for days on the counter and months in the freezer so you can keep the spirit of fall alive all winter long. Get the recipe on Averie Cooks.
Crockpot Oatmeal is not only an ideal make-ahead breakfast but also a perfect blank canvas for all sorts of flavor combinations. Pumpkin Crockpot Oatmeal from Peanut Butter and Peppers features pureed pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon for a hearty breakfast that will keep you fueled throughout the day. Add your favorite toppings like nuts, seeds, dried fruit and butter for even more added texture and flavor. Get the recipe on Peanut Butter and Peppers.
Homemade Pop Tarts are having a major moment right now, with versions popping up in bakeries all around the city and suburbs. But, with a recipe as easy as these Pumpkin Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts from With Salt and Wit, you’ll want to run straight into the kitchen to whip up a batch yourself. A pumpkin brown sugar filling gets sandwiched between two squares of store-bought piecrust before getting crimped and baked off. Once browned, they’re pulled from the oven and given a generous icing of cinnamon glaze. We dare you to eat just one! Get the recipe on With Salt and Wit.
Who says pumpkin pancakes are the end-all be-all of fall breakfasts? Waffles are just as receptive to the flavor of pumpkin and are a perfect treat for a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning. The Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffles from Eat It and Say Yum are the ideal combination of fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside with a vibrant orange color that is almost too pretty to eat … almost. Don’t forget the maple syrup. Get the recipe on Eat It and Say Yum.
Almond butter seems to have risen in popularity recently and for good reason. It’s protein packed, a great source of fiber and is super tasty to boot; a winning combination. Eating Bird Food’s Pumpkin Almond Butter is perfect to keep around during the fall months for a toast topper, smoothie enhancer or just a snack off the spoon. Get the recipe on Eating Bird Food.
Want to kick off your next fall party to a memorable start? Whip up a batch of these pumpkin walnut crostini from In Good Taste to show off pumpkin in a totally new light. This recipe is very reminiscent of a pesto spread combining pumpkin puree with walnuts, olive oil, Asiago cheese and a bit of onion and mint and mixing it into a luxuriously smooth spread. Serve atop thinly sliced baguette for an elegant seasonal appetizer. Get the recipe on In Good Taste.
Sneaking pumpkin into a dinner entrée isn’t always the easiest task. But these pumpkin and black bean burgers from Sweet Miscellany are an excellent example of this mash-up gone right. A basic black bean burger mix of black beans, cooked rice and lots of spices gets elevated to the next level with the addition of pumpkin puree. Add your favorite burger toppings for a meat-free dinner that even a carnivore can get behind. Get the recipe on Sweet Miscellany.
We know hot chocolate is more of a winter rather than fall treat. But, trust us, you’ll definitely want to whip up a mug after making these pumpkin marshmallows from Home Cooking Memories. Not only are these a classy addition to any sweet, hot fall drink, but they make for a perfect hostess gift or special Halloween treat for friends. Get the recipe on Home Cooking Memories.
Pasta and pumpkin are about as harmonious a combination as peanut butter and jelly. And this fresh pumpkin pasta recipe from Back to Her Roots shows off this winning duo in about the simplest way possible. The recipe is just two ingredients, pumpkin and flour, and comes together in mere minutes. After being mixed, rolled, cut and quickly boiled in salt water, it’s ready to be eaten with your sauce of choice. Get the recipe on Back to Her Roots.
Love a good grab-and-go breakfast but don’t have much of a sweet tooth? Then these pumpkin and sage savory muffins from Love Food Eat are just for you. In addition to using whole-wheat flour and oats for a hearty bite and flavor, this batter incorporates sage, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pumpkin puree for a healthy, vegan treat that is hard to beat. Get the recipe on Love Food Eat.
Maddie LaKind is a personal chef, caterer and writer living in Ravenswood. For more information about her services, visit her website, madonfood.com.