Recipe: Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie. All of these orange-hued, holiday-spiced foods excite me this time of year, signaling that Thanksgiving and Christmas are near. Since most pumpkin offerings are sweet, I thought it would be fun to cook a pumpkin from scratch and turn it into a savory delight.Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

Carving pumpkins are edible, but the smaller pie varieties are purposely grown to be eaten. I came across this article in Good Housekeeping‘s The Daily Green about using carving scraps in recipes – how resourceful – and opted for a pie variety in this recipe. To my surprise, roasted pumpkin is savory, barely sweet, so different from other winter squash, such as acorn and butternut. This factor may be particularly enticing to those (like my husband) who prefer not to mix savory and sweet flavors in non-dessert dishes.

One-half cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains 24 calories, more than a gram of fiber, 140% of the Daily Value for beta-carotene, and 8% of the Daily Value for potassium, plus other vitamins and minerals. Most pumpkins are harvested in September and October before first frosts, so enjoy them while you can at their peak freshness.

Have you ever cooked fresh pumpkin? What did you make with it?

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Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & PepitasRecipe: Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

2 (1 pound, or 455 g) small or 1 (2 pound) large pie pumpkins

1 tablespoon (15 ml) + 1 teaspoon (5 ml) expeller-pressed canola oil

1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/4 teaspoon for more intense flavor)

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (or 1/4 teaspoon for more intense flavor)

1/3 cup (90 g) crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup (16 g) pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds out of the shells)

 

Move one oven rack to the top, about 4 inches under the broiler element, and the other rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, if desired, for easier clean up.

Poke each pumpkin with a fork 8 times all around and microwave the whole pumpkin for 2-3 minutes, making it easier to peel. Cut off the stem and remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. Quarter the pumpkin from top to bottom and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Cut 1/2 inch off of the pointy top and bottom of each quarter, to prevent burning. Cut the large pieces into thin French fry-like strips and cut the pointy ends lengthwise into smaller fries.

Spread the pumpkin on the sheet pan, sprinkle with cornstarch, and toss until evenly coated. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again with hands. Bake on the middle rack until golden on the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove pan and change oven setting to high broil. Sprinkle fries evenly with garlic powder and cumin, flipping with a spatula to help distribute. Sprinkle fries with feta and place on the top oven rack, broiling until the cheese softens and the fries turn a bit more golden, but not burned, about 3 minutes.

Remove pan and immediately sprinkle pepitas on top of the fries cheese covered.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Makes 4 servings, heaping 1/2 cup each

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 137 calories, 12 g total fat (2.6 g saturated fat, 9.5 g trans fat), 216 mg sodium, 11 mg cholesterol, 11 g total carbohydrate (2 g fiber), 4 g protein, 11% DV iron, 9% DV calcium, 160% DV Vitamin A, 12 % DV Vitamin C.

My favorite vegetable peeler, by far, that I’ve been using for 10 years:

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You might also enjoy:

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Recipe: Penne Salad Recipe with Chickpeas, Feta & Summer Vegetables

My Cookbook: Clean Eating for Busy Families

Recipe: Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

By Michelle Dudash, Chef and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Published: October 31, 2012

  • Yield: heaping 1/2 cup (4 Servings)
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Ready In: 50 mins

Seasonal baked pumpkin fries with feta cheese and pepitas.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Move one oven rack to the top, about 4 inches under the broiler element, and the other rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, if desired, for easier clean up.
  2. Poke each pumpkin with a fork 6 times all around and microwave the whole pumpkin for 2-3 minutes, making it easier to peel. Cut off the stem and remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. Quarter the pumpkin from top to bottom and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Cut 1 inch off of the pointy top and bottom of each quarter, to prevent burning. Cut the large pieces into thin French fry-like strips and cut the pointy ends lengthwise into smaller fries.
  3. Spread the pumpkin on the sheet pan, sprinkle with cornstarch, and toss until evenly coated. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again with hands. Bake on the middle rack until golden on the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove pan and change oven setting to high broil. Sprinkle fries evenly with garlic powder and cumin, flipping with a spatula to help distribute. Sprinkle fries with feta and place on the top oven rack, broiling until the cheese softens and the fries turn a bit more golden, but not burned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove pan and immediately sprinkle pepitas on top of the fries covered with cheese.

3 Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    These were SO good! Thanks for sharing them with me Michelle! I loved the taste of the feta and pumpkin with the crunch of the pepitas! YUM!

    1. You are so sweet, Rachel–thank you. Glad you enjoyed them. On the second test, I raised the temperature and they got a little more crunchy. And thinner, yes.
      Michelle

  2. Kathleen says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually
    know what you are talking about! Bookmarked.
    Please also visit my website =). We will have a link change contract among us

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