The Shabbat Table: Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater!

(Wikimedia Commons photo)

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! Take advantage of fall’s fresh harvest with these easy pumpkin recipes, both savoury and sweet—they make the perfect fare for Shabbat. Your guests will shout “What a “BOO-tiful” treat! Here is some interesting information on pumpkins plus some helpful hacks:

Pumpkin Power: Pumpkin belongs to the squash family and is interchangeable in recipes with sweet potatoes or squash. Pumpkin is so versatile—it can be baked, roasted, boiled, or microwaved. A food processor produces pumpkin puree that is perfectly creamy and smooth, and will eliminate any small strings and fibres.

It’s a Slice: Microwave the whole pumpkin on high for 5 minutes—this makes it easier to cut in half. Since the cooking time is so brief, it’s not necessary to pierce the skin first. Next, cut the pumpkin into large pieces and place in a large microwavable casserole dish. Microwave, covered, on high, allowing 5–6 minutes per pound.

Pump Up the Flavour! Add 2 Tbsp orange or lime juice, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, and some salt and pepper to pumpkin puree. A drizzle of pure maple syrup is also delicious. Serve hot as a dish.



Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap)

 Small pumpkins are the best ones for eating as they are sweet and tasty. Jack O’Lantern pumpkins are too large and stringy for cooking. Pumpkin puree can be enjoyed as an alternative to squash as a side dish, or it can also be used instead of canned pumpkin in recipes. Peek-a-boo, this recipe is for you!

1 small sugar or pie pumpkin (about 4 lbs/2kg)

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut pumpkin in half with a very sharp knife. Scoop out seeds and fibers. Save seeds for roasting. Place pumpkin halves, cut-side down, on prepared baking sheet and cover with additional foil.
  3. Bake for about 1 hour. When done, pumpkin should be tender and easily pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once cooled, scoop out pulp and discard the shell. Puree the pulp in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, about 30–45 seconds, or mash with a potato masher.

Makes 1 1/2 cups puree. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; reheats well in the microwave. Freezes well for up to 2 months.



Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap)

They’ll never guess this scrumptious spread contains pumpkin! The inspiration for this recipe comes from cookbook author and dear friend, Kathy Guttman. I added chickpeas to pump up the nutritional profile. It makes a big batch, but you can make half the recipe and use the leftover pumpkin puree to make Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins (below).


6 cloves garlic (about 2 Tbsp minced)

1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro leaves

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

1/4 cup lemon juice (preferably fresh)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 can (15 oz/425 mL) canned pumpkin or Pumpkin Puree (above), (about 2 cups)

2 tsp cumin (or to taste)

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1/4 tsp smoked or Hungarian paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1–2 tsp pure maple syrup (or to taste)

Pumpkin seeds, for garnish


  1. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process garlic and parsley until finely minced, about 10 seconds. Add chickpeas and process until puréed, about 18–20 seconds. Add remaining ingredients except pumpkin seeds and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes. If mixture is too thick, add a little water.
  2. Transfer puréed pumpkin mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight for maximum flavour. Garnish with pumpkin seeds at serving time.

Makes about 4 cups. Keeps about 1 week in the refrigerator. Freezes well for up to a month.


Norene’s Notes:

  • Skinny Dip! This hummus is delicious as a dip served with raw vegetables or toasted pita wedges. It’s also scrumptious as a spread on grilled pita bread or a sandwich.
  • Wrap-ture! When making wraps, spread tortillas with hummus instead of mayonnaise.
  • Frozen Assets! Freeze in 1 cup containers. When needed, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and stir before serving.





Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap)

These light, moist muffins are adapted from my friend Kathy Guttman’s recipe. If you have leftover canned pumpkin on hand, these delicious muffins are a delicious way to use it up.


2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 large egg

3/4 cup canned pumpkin or or Pumpkin Puree (above), (not pumpkin pie filling)

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries (raisins or chocolate chips can be substituted)

Pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line compartments of a muffin pan with paper liners (or spray with cooking spray).
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or in a large bowl and using an electric mixer), process (or beat) sugar and oil until light, about 1 minute. Add egg and pumpkin and process 30–45 seconds longer or until well blended. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, and salt; process just until combined. Batter will be thick. Stir in cranberries with a rubber spatula.
  3. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each compartment about two-thirds full. Top batter with a few pumpkin seeds, if using.
  4. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until tops are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched.

Makes 12 muffins. Freezes well for up to 3 months.



Adapted from Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap)

 This tastes like pumpkin pie without the crust. When you don’t have time to bake, this is a snap to make. Kids love to help—and eat it too!


2 pkgs instant vanilla pudding mix (4 serving size) (see Norene’s Notes, below)

1 can (12 oz/385 ml) 2% evaporated milk

1 can (15 oz/425 ml) canned pumpkin

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see Norene’s Notes, below)

Whipped cream and pecan halves, for garnish


  1. Combine pudding mix and evaporated milk in a large mixing bowl; blend with a whisk until smooth. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for 5–10 minutes or until thickened.
  2. When chilled, add canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix well.
  3. Divide pumpkin-pudding mixture into 8 parfait dishes. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve chilled; garnish each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a pecan half.

Makes 8 servings. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Freezes well for up to 2 months.


Norene’s Notes:

  • No Instant Pudding Mix? No problem—just substitute the kind you cook. (We discovered that by accident!) Combine pudding mix with evaporated milk in an 8-cup microwavable bowl; blend well. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 3 minutes; stir well. Microwave 3–4 minutes longer or until boiling and thickened. Cover surface of hot pudding with parchment or waxed paper to prevent a skin from forming on top. When cool, blend in canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Can-Can! We accidentally made this recipe using canned pumpkin pie filling instead of canned pureed pumpkin. It turned out yummy, although it was sweeter.
  • No Pumpkin Pie Spice? Combine 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground allspice.
  • Frozen Pumpkin Pops: In Step 3, pour mixture into individual popsicle molds and freeze until needed. Serve frozen.