Transform your traditional Thanksgiving feast into an unforgettable dinner when you make some (or all) of your dishes in pumpkins! These fall staples double as a way to prepare and season your dinner.
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Mac & Cheese-
- 1 sugar pumpkin, or other sweet variety (not a carving pumpkin), about 5 pounds
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 pound mild Italian pork sausage
- 4 ounces elbow macaroni
- 5 ounces Fontina, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 2 ounces Gruyère, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 3 scallions, diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Cut a circle from the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle, the way you would cut open a pumpkin to make a jack-o’-lantern, and set aside.
- Scoop out the seeds and strings as best you can. Generously salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin, pop the top back on it, place it on a rimmed baking dish (since the pumpkin may leak or weep a bit), and bake for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. If the sausages are in their casings, remove the meat and discard the casings. Crumble the sausage meat into small chunks and cook until lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Discard the drippings, or save for gravy or what have you.
- Also while the pumpkin bakes, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain through a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
- In a bowl, toss together the Fontina, Gruyère, sausage, pasta, scallions, and herbs.
- Once the pumpkin is done baking, take it out of the oven and fill it with the macaroni and cheese. Pour the cream over the filling. Place the top back on the pumpkin and bake for 1 hour, taking the top off for the last 15 minutes so the cheese on top of the filling can properly brown. If the top cream still seems a bit too wobbly and liquid, give it another 10 minutes in the oven. The cream may bubble over a bit, which is fine.
- If the pumpkin splits while baking, as occasionally happens, be thankful you set it in a rimmed baking dish and continue to bake as normal.
- Allow the pumpkin to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Be careful moving the dish, as the pumpkin may be fragile. You can serve this dish two ways: Cut it into sections and serve them, or just scoop out the insides with scrapings of the pumpkin flesh for each serving. Either way is just dandy. Salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe and photo courtesy of The Culinary Life.
Savory Vegetable Medley-
- 4 sugar pie pumpkins (about 1 pound each)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (5-ounce) package Earthbound Farm Baby Spinach
- 1 stale French demi-baguette, cubed (mine was about 6.5 ounces)
- 2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the tops from each pumpkin. Scoop out the insides and discard them (or save the seeds for roasting!). Rub salt and pepper on the inside of the pumpkins.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook them for about 5 minutes, until they’re softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are browned. Stir in the spinach and continue to cook until it wilts. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl. Add the bread, cheese, nutmeg, and cream and stir until combined. Divide the the filling into the pumpkins, then place the top back onto them. Put the pumpkins on a baking sheet or baking dish that’s been sprayed with oil or lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the pumpkins for about an hour, then remove the tops and bake for 20-30 minutes more, or until the filling is browned and crispy on top and the pumpkins are easily pierced with a knife. Replace caps and serve.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Oh My Veggies.
Cinnamon & Apple Pumpkin Pie-
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon clove
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar or 1⁄2 cup maple syrup
- 1 small sugar pumpkin (3-6lbs)
- 3 granny smith apples
- 3 pears, any variety
- 1 cup pecans or 1 cup walnuts
- 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon orange peel, plus
- orange juice, from orange
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons rum
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix spice mix together by combining the first five ingredients.
- Cut the top of the pumpkin off leaving a lid but enough room to stick your hand in and clean out the seeds and stringy pulp.
- Mix 2 tablespoons butter and ½ of the spice mix into a paste and rub it all over the inside of the pumpkin and pumpkin lid.
- Bake the pumpkin with the lid on for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet.
- In the meantime, coarsely chop the apples and pears, then mix with the last of the spice mix, butter (cut into chunks), and remaining ingredients.
- Stuff the pumpkin tightly with the mix and place the lid back on. The inside stuffing will bake down a bit as the apples and pears soften.
- Bake for 45 minutes and check for doneness based upon how soft the flesh is when pierced with a fork. Continue baking until pumpkin is cooked, covering the top loosely with foil if it starts to blacken.
- Cool with the lid off for 20 minutes and serve scoops of the pumpkin flesh and stuffing next to vanilla ice cream and a slice of pound cake.
Recipe courtesy of KBaker.