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Best Savory Dishes To Make With Pumpkin, According To Chefs

Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin spice ice creams…the array of pumpkin-based dessert items available seemingly has no limit. However, because pumpkins are technically a type of squash, they also contain plenty of potential for savory dishes. We asked six chefs to provide their favorite non-dessert pumpkin recipes, and they delivered this collection of hearty, flavorful dips, soups, and entrees all ready to be added to your dinner rotation.  

Roasted Pumpkin And White Truffle Hummus

(By Devika Patridge, chef, HUNGRY Catering)

Roasted Pumpkin And White Truffle Hummus
Image used with permission by copyright holder

With its mellow, buttery flavor, roasted pumpkin partners beautifully with pureed chickpeas in the context of a hummus. Chef Devika Patridge then likes to add an extra layer of refinement by topping her pumpkin-chickpea hummus with white truffle oil. “[Roasted pumpkin’s] smooth and creamy texture blends well with the garbanzo beans. Fresh lemons, salt and garlic bring out the bright flavor of the pumpkin. The truffle oil gives the hummus a robust finish like no other, instantly transforming this beloved snack into an indulgent treat exclusively made for the fall!” Partridge says of her hummus recipe.


  • 2 14 oz cans of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • One small pumpkin 
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsps sesame oil
  • 2 tbsps white truffle oil
  • 2 tbsps granulated garlic or 2 cloves fresh roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 whole lemon 
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Smoked paprika, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse and clear out all pumpkin innards (save the seeds for roasting). Cut pumpkin into 4-5 pieces, then brush and coat pieces with oil and place on a cookie sheet skin side down.
  3. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Let the pumpkin cool, then remove the pumpkin skins.
  5. Cut pumpkin into pieces and place in food processor. Add garbanzo beans and olive oil, then pulse for 5 seconds.
  6. Add sesame oil, garlic salt, truffle oil, and lemon juice. Pulse until desired texture is reached.
  7. Pour into a bowl and garnish with fresh parsley, smoked paprika, white truffle oil, and roasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with pita chips, bread, and/or fresh vegetables.

Curry Coconut Pumpkin Soup

(By Max Hardy, owner/head chef, COOP Detroit)

Curry Coconut Pumpkin Soup
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For a comforting cool-weather meal that also incorporates vibrant flavors inspired by the Caribbean, look no further than this rich pumpkin soup seasoned with curry powder and coconut milk. If you’d like to add a bit of textural contrast to this smooth soup, follow Chef Max Hardy’s lead by topping each bowl with toasted pumpkin seeds. 


  • 2 medium pumpkins, quartered
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • .25 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced 
  • .25 yellow onion, diced 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, quartered
  • 1 cup vegetable stock 
  • .5 cup coconut milk 
  • Pumpkin seeds (saved from 2 medium pumpkins), toasted
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat a medium soup or stockpot over medium heat.  
  2. Add pumpkin, sweet potato, coconut oil, and onion and allow to caramelize, stirring until golden.  
  3. Add ginger, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf, and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.   
  4. Add vegetable stock and allow to simmer for 35 minutes or until pumpkin and potato are fork-tender.   
  5. Add the vegetable mixture to a food processor or blender and puree in batches.  Once a batch is finished, pour back into the pot.  
  6. Once the soup is fully pureed, place over medium-low heat, whisk in heavy cream, and season to taste. 
  7. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Smoky Pumpkin Bisque

(By Jolie Oree-Bailey, executive chef, Low Country Quisine, Dallas, Texas)

Smoky Pumpkin Bisque
Image used with permission by copyright holder

By sauteing her soup vegetables in bacon fat, Chef Jolie Oree-Bailey brings a smokiness to her pumpkin bisque that adds flavor complexity and a cozy, comforting vibe. Combine that with the addition of heavy cream, and you end up with a luxurious supper that can more than withstand the cooler temperatures of late fall. 


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin purée
  • 2 tbsp seasoning of choice (Oree-Bailey uses A Dab A Do Ya! seasoning)
  • 2.5 -3 cups warm chicken stock
  • .5 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 mini pumpkins, for serving


  1. Slice the tops off the pumpkins and remove the flesh and seeds.
  2. Preheat a medium saucepan over medium high heat for 3 minutes. Add bacon and saute until all of the fat has been rendered Remove the bacon and set aside on a paper towel to drain.
  3. Add olive oil and minced garlic to the saucepan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir frequently to avoid burning.
  4. Whisk in pumpkin puree and seasoning blend. Continue whisking for 2-3 minutes so that the puree can absorb the flavor of the bacon, garlic and seasoning.
  5. Add warm chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk in the heavy cream and continue to simmer for 5-7 additional minutes.
  7. Ladle bisque into the mini pumpkins and garnish with crumbled bacon and a drizzle of cream.

Pumpkin Sage “Ricotta” Stuffed Shells with Herbed Cream Sauce

(By Caroline DiNicola Fawley, chef/recipe designer, MamaSezz, Portland, Maine)

Pumpkin Sage Stuffed Shells
Image used with permission by copyright holder

“Pumpkin provides a subtly sweet, unique flavor that pairs well with fall herbs like sage and thyme. With a creamy texture and a tangy finish, it’s the perfect flavor to mix into plant-based ricotta and stuff into shells for upscale comfort food dining. This protein-packed dish is rich, yet won’t leave you feeling heavy because it is free of cholesterol, oil, and dairy. It’s the perfect date night dish because it’s simple to make and presents beautifully,” says Chef Caroline DiNicola Fawley of this mega-autumnal (and vegan) baked pasta dish.


For Pumpkin Sage “Ricotta”:

  • .5 block firm tofu
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 ⅓ tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • .25 tsp sage
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

For Garlic Herb Cream Sauce:

  • 1 cup of cashews
  • .5 of a date
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2.5 tsps apple cider vinegar 
  • .25 cup fresh basil
  • .25 cup fresh parsley
  • .5 tsp thyme
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • .25 tsp sage
  • .75 cup non-dairy milk 
  • .25 cup water
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 handful spinach 

For Shells:

  • 1 package large whole-grain pasta shells


  1. To make pumpkin sage “ricotta,” add all “ricotta” ingredients to a food processor  and blend until the mixture achieves the texture of ricotta. Set aside.
  2. To make the garlic herb cream sauce, soak cashews and the half-date in warm water until soft (for a faster soaking process, microwave in water for 1 minute, let sit for 10 minutes, and then strain).
  3. Sauté shallots and garlic in a little water until soft. Add apple cider vinegar to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Put cooked shallots and vinegar, cashews, and all other ingredients except for spinach into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth (texture of cream sauce). 
  5. Mix sauce with a quarter cup of steamed spinach.
  6. Boil pasta until al dente and strain.
  7. Heat “ricotta” and sauce separately in the microwave or on the stovetop. 
  8. Stuff the shells with the “ricotta.”
  9. Pour a quarter cup of sauce into the bottom of a shallow bowl or plate, and top with 5 stuffed shells.
  10. Garnish with a leaf of fresh basil, sea salt and crushed black pepper. 

Whole Roasted Young Pumpkin With Chili-Lime Chicken & Shrimp, Garlic Greens, and Parsley Chimichurri

(By Drew Slane, executive chef, Treehouse Provisions, Cleveland, Ohio)

Roasted Young Pumpkin
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As a chef who specializes in events and catering, Drew Slane understands the value of presentation…and just because you’re making a meal at home for only your own family/quarantine pod, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a spread that’s both flavorful and beautiful. Both characteristics are prioritized in this roasted-pumpkin-centric recipe, which Slane describes as follows: “Pumpkin has natural acidity, which pairs well with a lot of flavor profiles especially shrimp, sage, garlic, and chlorophyll-laden foods like spinach, collard greens, kale, and similar dark leafy greens. The natural sugars in the pumpkin lend themselves well to many savory compositions. Heavy caramelization enhances the pumpkin’s sugars, allowing the flavor to really soar.”


Shrimp & Chicken Marinade:

  • 2 tbsps ground mulato chiles
  • 2 tbsps ground dark chili powder
  • 2 tsps ground cayenne
  • 2 tbsps granulated garlic
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 tsps ground tellicherry pepper
  • 3 tbsps sea salt
  • 3 oz canola oil
  • 3 oz fresh lime juice
  • Zest of 2 limes

Shrimp & Chicken:

  • 1 lb (16-20) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1.25 lbs chicken breast

Roasted Pumpkin:

  • 1 medium young pumpkin
  • Fresh sage, to taste
  • Fresh thyme, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste

Garlic Greens:

  • 1 oz chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb spinach/baby kale blend

Parsley Chimichurri:

  • 2 oz fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 oz fresh Russian sage, chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 oz red wine vinegar
  • 3 oz extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt


  1. To make the marinade, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Split the marinade into two parts; use half to marinate the shrimp and the other half to marinate the chicken.
  2. Pan-sear the marinated shrimp for 1 minute and 15 seconds on each side.
  3. Pan-sear the marinated chicken breast over high heat. After 3-4 minutes, peek at the underside of the chicken.  If it’s golden brown, flip it, and sear the other side with the same technique. Set the cooked shrimp and chicken aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Cut a hole at the top of the pumpkin and add fresh sage and thyme to the interior. Roast in the oven for 80 minutes. When the pumpkin is roasted, cut and core it and season with sea salt.
  6. To make the greens, add the spinach, baby kale, chopped garlic, oil, and sea salt to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  7. To make the chimichurri, add all chimichurri ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  8. To serve, plate the chicken and shrimp alongside the roasted pumpkin and garlic greens and drizzle with chimichurri.

Pumpkin Mole Enchiladas

(By David Grillo, corporate executive chef, Cantina 76, Columbia, South Carolina)

Pumpkin Mole Enchiladas-photo by Cantina 76-horizontal
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pumpkin makes a slightly surprising but entirely harmonious addition to mole sauce; the gourd’s natural sweetness and earthiness collaborates well with mole’s notes of chocolate, chipotle, cumin, and cinnamon. This enchilada recipe proves easy to customize; Grillo encourages you to use any protein of your choice for the enchilada filling, and he recommends canned pumpkin puree over a homemade version, explaining that “I like using the canned pumpkin puree for this sauce because it is purely just pumpkin puree, nothing else. I get 100% yield, no waste, and being that it is pureed, I have less cook time to get a developed flavor.”


  • 1 15oz can of 100% pure pumpkin puree (Grillo uses Libby’s Pure Pumpkin Puree)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, plus .5 cup for adjusting the texture while pureeing (Grillo uses Swanson’s Chicken Broth)
  • 2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pulse 1 tsp adobo sauce (Grillo uses Embasa Chipotle Peppers in Adobo)
  • 2 tbsps dark cocoa powder (Grillo uses Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cocoa Powder)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • Filling of choice; Grilo recommends cheese, beans, grilled steak, pulled chicken or pork, ground beef, chorizo, or any combination
  • White corn tortillas, for serving
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese, for serving


  1. To make the mole sauce, add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Use a hand-held immersion blender, puree the cooked sauce until it is smooth and pourable. You may need to adjust the thickness of the sauce with the extra chicken broth while pureeing. Be careful to not add too much.
  4. To make the enchiladas, warm the corn tortilla and place 2-3 tbsps of your filling/protein down the center of each tortilla.
  5. Roll the tortillas tightly without tearing them, and be sure to tuck the seams on the bottom when you place them on the plate.
  6. Coat the plate of enchiladas with warm mole sauce and top with cheese.

Editors' Recommendations

Taylor Tobin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Taylor Tobin is a freelance food, drink, and lifestyle writer based in Brooklyn. She's contributed content to publications…
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