With Halloween fast approaching you might be planning to carve out a pumpkin, ready to spook your visitors and the kids playing trick or treat on your doorstep. Once you’ve carved out your pumpkin to perfection, its time to put all that delicious, leftover flesh to good use in anything from curries, salads, sweet waffles to a classic all-American pumpkin pie.

Pumpkins have a wonderful flavour and a smooth, silky texture that lends itself to so many interesting dishes both sweet and savoury and they are popular the world over. The Americans throw Pumpkin into pies at Thanksgiving; the Italians puree them for risottos and home-made Gnocchi, while the Mexicans cook it down with brown sugar for a breakfast treat and the French prefer it in soups, gratin dishes, tarts and in bread.

In the Middle East, pumpkin is often stuffed with meat, rice and spices, and in Argentina, meat is often cooked in hollowed-out pumpkins for a thick, hearty stew. Here in Mallorca and all over Spain we turn it into “Cabell d’angel” (Angels hair); it’s a kind of pumpkin jam flavoured with cinnamon and lemon peel and it’s often used as a filling for pastries and ensaimada.

Warm spices have a particular affinity with pumpkin, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Herbs such as sage and rosemary also make great marriages. Pumpkin flesh is high in fibre and beta-carotene and the seeds are at least as nutritious.

In Austria they grow a rare species that has skinless seeds made into pumpkin seed oil, renowned the world over for its sweet, nutty flavour. This dark green oil is particularly good in vinaigrette made with cider vinegar, drizzled on salads and made into a pesto, using pumpkin seeds in place of the traditional pine nuts. So if you are going to go to all the trouble of scooping out all that pumpkin flesh, try these simple recipes for a real Halloween treat.


Ingredients Serves 4

For the meatballs:
450g pork shoulder, minced (ground)

2 tsp cumin seeds
50g ground almonds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
olive oil, for frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spiced pumpkin and chickpea stew:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped root ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 star anise
1 large pinch saffron strands
600g pumpkin, peeled and diced
4 tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and diced
1 tsp harissa paste
250ml chicken stock (bouillon)
300g cooked canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. To make the meatballs, thoroughly mix the pork, cumin seeds, ground almonds, garlic and parsley in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, then shape into balls. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

2. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs for 4–5 minutes, turning from time to time, until golden brown all over and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.

3. For the spiced pumpkin and chickpea stew, heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over a low-medium heat and add the onions, garlic, chilli, ginger and spices. Stir to combine, cover and cook gently for 2–3 minutes until soft.

4. Add the diced pumpkin, tomatoes, harissa paste and chicken stock (bouillon), season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Add the chickpeas and meatballs to the stew and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and sprinkle with chopped coriander (cilantro) to serve.


Ingredients: serves 6

500g diced pumpkin
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4tbsp. olive oil
1tbsp. hot curry powder
1litre chicken stock
100ml coconut milk
Juice of one lime
2tbsp freshly chopped coriander
Salt and pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion until tender. Add the curry powder and cook for a further two minutes.

2. Add the pumpkin, and then stir in the chicken stock. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender.

3. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Place in a liquidiser and blend to a fine puree. Pass through a fine sieve, stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately.


Ingredients: serves 6

1 small pumpkin
55g unsalted butter
2 spring onions, sliced
110g Arborio Risotto rice
600ml chicken stock
½ glass white wine
20g grated Parmesan
1tbsp pumpkin oil

1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and remove the pips from inside. Scrape out the pulp using a melon baller.

2. Bring the chicken stock and white wine to the boil and set aside.

3. Gently melt the butter in a pan and sauté the pulp and spring onions for 3- 4 minutes to soften. Stir in the rice and cook for three minutes. Add a little hot chicken stock until the rice is just covered and continue to stir until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.

4. Over a medium heat, continue to add the stock gradually and stir until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice has softened. About 15-20 minutes.

5. Add the grated Parmesan and season to taste. The risotto should be light and creamy. Stir in the pumpkin oil and your risotto is ready to serve.