The leaves haven’t yet turned into their beautiful orange and golden colors. And there’s still plenty of summer produce in the open-air farmers’ markets.
But there’s been a subtle shift.
We can feel the crispness in the air, the days getting shorter, the nights getting colder. We’re starting to dig up our scarves and light jackets. Fall doesn’t officially start until next week, but it has already, carefully, snugly made its way in.
To herald the beginning of my favorite season, I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes featuring two popular gourds.
Gourds. What an unusual and unattractive name for produce that bring so much beauty to the season.
Beauty and warmth, oranges and yellow, sweetness and comfort. Pumpkin and Butternut Squash. Comfort food for autumn.
Here are some pumpkin and butternut squash recipes to savor during this Fall:
Pumpkin Leche Flan – a delicious pumpkin take on a traditional Filipino dessert. Leche flan, which literally means milk flan, is a rich and creamy staple in celebratory feasts. This recipe has some of my favorite ingredients: condensed milk, egg yolks, and pumpkin puree. The use of pumpkin puree is a modern take on this dessert.
Smoked Gouda and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese – this gush-worthy mac and cheese is creamy and tangy and orange. If you weren’t drawn in by the words “smoked gouda” (or really, the words “mac and cheese”) then perhaps the crumbled fried crispy sage and the tart creaminess from Greek yogurt could convince you to try it. It’s a cheesy and smoky indulgence.
Pumpkin Banana Bread – there is something about the warm scent of baking bread wafting throughout my apartment that makes me feel very content. And the smell of fresh banana bread is extra intoxicating, because I love indulging with a thick slice for breakfast or brunch. This pumpkin banana bread has pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and rum. Plus a sweet cream cheese frosting that lets you decide if you want to eat this for breakfast or for dessert (or both).
Pumpkin Tofu Curry – this was a guest post from Joanne of Eats Well With Others, and it is a bowl full of spice and protein and comfort. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of curry, but have always been enamored of anything with coconut milk and tofu. It’s easy to modify this recipe according to your spice preference – or even your gourd preference: pumpkin, kabocha squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, even sweet potato. It’s all good.
Pumpkin Quinoa Yogurt Parfait – this was the first quinoa recipe I posted here, and also the first time I got hooked on those adorable mini pumpkins purely for decorative purposed. This is an easy recipe that looks fancy, and it tastes pretty indulgent even if it’s actually packed with healthy ingredients. One layer has quinoa, soy milk, and pumpkin puree, another layer has Greek yogurt and peanut butter, and in between there’s bananas and pecans. Of course I used dark chocolate peanut butter and Mexican chocolate pecans, but the little decadence goes a long way.
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Turnovers – each little pastry is stuffed with mashed butternut squash with peppery sage and cayenne, and a dollop of creamy goat cheese. I used frozen pastry sheets for these, which is a time saver and a versatile base for many recipes. These turnovers can be prepared a day before, so it’ll be freshly baked and warm when you serve them (although at room temperature, they were still a big hit!)
Green Beans and Butternut Squash in Coconut Milk – this is based on another Filipino dish called ginataang sitaw at kalabasa. I added tofu and spinach and a bit more chili for added heat, but in spite of my modifications, the taste stayed true to what I remember from home. And if I could make a tribute dish for anyone, this would be dedicated to my Tita Ine, who has inspired me to learn how to cook.
The Best Thanksgiving Side Ever: Maple Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash – I saved this for last not just because it has the longest recipe title, but there really is something about saving the best… When you combine maple syrup, a generous amount of cayenne pepper, good olive oil, and the aromatic base of garlic and shallots with traditional Thanksgiving veggies butternut squash and brussels sprouts, you’ll end up with the Channing Tatum of all side dishes. Sweet, spicy, easy to love, and with a propensity for wearing tight white tank tops. (Okay, maybe not the last one.)
Let me know if you guys try any of these pumpkin and butternut squash recipes. Enjoy the lovely Fall season!