Pumpkin is one of my favourite veggies to roast in the oven for pizzas, salads, soups, pastas, purees, toasts, cakes and oatmeals. Is there a dish you can’t use pumpkin flesh or the seeds for? Pumpkins are really versatile, healthy and super yummy! Did I say they are also rather cheap? Good for any budget.

Just to name a few of the health benefits of pumpkin is that it’s low in fat, high in fiber and potassium and vitamin B6 which is also good for your immune system. Most importantly also benefits regulating your blood sugar level.

I often get butternut squash because these are easy to get in the Netherlands almost all-year-round. Make sure you get squashes that are somewhat heavy and have a healthy skin that isn’t too glossy because that means they don’t have this full intense pumpkin flavour but are somewhat watery instead.

Roasting butternut squash is really simple; preheat oven to 200 C degrees (convention oven – fan) chop the squash in half (length-wise), no need to peel the skin off and take seeds out. I often discard the seeds, but actually that’s just a waste of food. If you would roast them in the oven too you can use them for your salads, oats or muffins.

Drizzle some good olive oil over the pumpkin and spread with your hands or a brush until it’s fully covered. Then it’s time to season your pumpkin with herbs and/or spices,  depending on what you are going to use it for, but imagine you’re not quite sure yet so then just keep it simple and use a bit of salt and pepper. Put the squash on a covered  baking tray with the skin up (protecting the flesh) and put in the oven for +/- 30-45 minutes until the skin shows browned/burned spots and is somewhat bubbly. If you’re able to pierce a fork through the pumpkin easily then it’s definitely ready. Don’t forget to peel the skin off once you’re going to eat it or use it for further cooking!

If you want to speed up the roasting process you can also chop the squash or pumpkin in smaller pieces like I did to make quick pizza and toast toppings. It only takes +/- 20-30 minutes to get the pumpkin ready for salads, purees or oats.

I decided to roast the squash for 15 minutes only because I knew I would use it to finish the pizza and toast. This also means that they will roast a little longer as topping later on and I like to have my pumpkin with these beautiful brown edges (10-20 minutes longer). Preferably not burned.

leftover pumpkin
2 slices of rye bread (Liefde & Passie rye bread is my favourite!)
1 clove of garlic
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 slices of mozzarella
2 tbsp of grated parmesan
1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper
optional: chili flakes
optional: 2 sage leaves
optional: balsamic crema/reduction

Preheat oven to 200 C degrees (convention oven – fan) , or grill, or your toastie iron. Then start with your slices of bread which you can already put on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Drizzle a good quality extra virgin olive oil over the slices of bread and chop a garlic clove in halve which you can use to smear over the bread.

If you’ve big chunks or cubed pieces of pumpkin leftovers then thinly slice them so they are easier to eat as bread topping.  Add some salt, pepper and chili flakes (if using).

Top with slices of mozzarella, take leaves from the thyme sprigs and together with the grated parmesan spread it over the mozzarella. As last topping you can add sage leaves to your sandwich, but they have a very acquired taste so you may not want to use them or toss them out after cooking to just use the flavours. Another great alternative is to fry your sage leaves in a pan with some oil and add it on top after toasting the sandwiches.

Put the sandwiches in the oven for +/- 15 minutes until the mozzarella and parmesan cheese has melted and shows golden brown edges. Or grill them with some olive oil in a grill pan or toastie iron. I used a combination of convention oven and grill for 15 minutes because I’ve that luxury :).

Once the bread shows toasted edges, the cheeses have melted and are bubbly then take it out and finish it with a side salad and a drizzle of some balsamic crema/reduction over your roasted pumpkin toast.


x Sam

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