Fall is here! It’s roasted pumpkin time and I am inappropriately excited about it! »
This past week/weekend, it seemed pumpkins were taking over the city! They were suddenly available everywhere as if by magic! In reality, it’s probably years of ingrained production process and distribution channel timing that brings a mass crop of pumpkins to urban markets during a precise week in early October, but it is much more fun to anthropomorphize adorable pumpkins than to think about agribusiness. Vegans do enough worrying about agribusiness already. So, to bring it back to the bounty of the harvest and the magic of autumn, I got my pumpkin at my local farmer’s market. I’m not too good for Trader Joe’s though; the pumpkins there look totally fine.
The pumpkin I got is smaller and sweeter than the monstrous ‘roid rage kind typically reserved for Jack O’Lanterns. Our hero is cutely named “pie” pumpkin, because that is what most of America is planning to use it for. And, at the end of the roasting described here, you’re welcome to puree it and use it for pumpkin pie, although I don’t know why you would when there’s a whole wide world of pancakes, curries, and just eating it out of the rind with a spoon covered in Earth Balance, but we’ll get to that.
First, you need to rinse it, pop off the stem, and cut it in half with a big knife. A serrated knife is best, and so is a saw-like motion. When you get it halved, scoop out the seeds. If you have a fancy ice cream scoop or melon baller, bully for you. I used a regular spoon. Turn the oven on to about 400-450F.
Pro tip: don’t throw away the seeds! Lay them out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and stick them in the (now hot) oven for about 15 minutes for a tasty, zinc-filled snack!
Now you want to grab a Pyrex baking dish, big enough to hold both halves of the pumpkin, so like the kind you’d make brownies in. Put about an inch of water in the bottom. This supposedly helps to keep the flesh moist while roasting.
Next, get out a tub of Earth Balance and rub a lot of it on each exposed half. This is actually what keeps the flesh moist while roasting. This is also what makes it delicious when it comes out of the oven, and you will probably just want to scoop out bites with a spoon, which is what we did. But if you are feeling industrious, you can do something else with the flesh when it cools, like the aforementioned puree with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices, or something hip like pumpkin curry. Or if you really want to be cool, use Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for apple-pumpkin risotto in this month’s Bust Magazine, which we can’t link you directly to but you really ought to go buy a copy; it contains much useful and entertaining shit in addition to said vegan risotto and a candy corn recipe from SF’s own Melisser!
In conclusion, stick the buttered pumpkin skin side down (butter side up) in the pan of water and roast in the 400-450 oven for an hour-ish. Let cool and enjoy autumn!