Mexican Roasted Pumpkin Wedges dusted with tajín and piloncillo (or brown) sugar is served with a simple, creamy cilantro and yogurt dipping sauce. This fresh, savory pumpkin recipe is a perfect side dish throughout autumn, and any time small pumpkins are available!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Cooking with Pumpkins
It's mid-October and still in the nineties in McAllen. How does one create an atmosphere of seasonal change when it's always summer? Pumpkins of course! We have been hanging out in the mid to upper nineties, but today, as I finish this post, we're in the sixties. What a glorious reprieve.
For whatever reason, pumpkins are only available for a few weeks every year. I look for them in September, but we rarely see them until the first week of October. I head straight for the small pumpkins so I can make risotto or posole. Savory pumpkin recipes are among my favorite fall dishes.
I found these little heirloom pumpkins (not labeled) with smooth skins, and they looked like perfect candidates for this roasted pumpkin recipe. The creamy cilantro dipping sauce seemed a perfect accompaniment. Note: The first time I made the recipe, I used small "ghost" (white) pumpkins, and we didn't care for the stringy texture.
Are pumpkins healthy?
The short answer: Yes! The longer answer: Pumpkins are seriously good for you! They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and rich in beta-carotene (the thing that makes carrots orange). Pumpkin is low in calories, making it an excellent choice for maintaining and losing weight.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Roasted Pumpkin Wedges
- pumpkin - I use small smooth, thin-skinned pumpkins for this dish because the skins are edible and the size makes perfect wedges. 3 to 5 inches is ideal.
- tajín - You can either use purchased tajín or homemade tajin.
- piloncillo or brown sugar - Piloncillo is a raw form of cane sugar used in Mexican cooking sometimes called "Mexican brown sugar." It is most typically found in cone form, and requires grating. You'll find a link below to an Amazon piloncillo that comes grated. Brown sugar is a fine substitute.
- olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce
- nonfat plain yogurt
- fresh lime juice
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oven - Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
- Prepare the pumpkin - Remove the stem (I snap it off). Turn the pumpkin with the blossom end down, and use a sharp knife to slice the top, including the stem, off the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin in half from the top to the bottom. Cut each pumpkin half into wedges about 3 inches wide. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy innards. You can save the seeds for later to roast them for a snack, or discard them. Place in a heavy roasting or baking pan with cooking spray, skin side down. I love my large cast iron skillet for this.
- Season the pumpkin wedges - Lightly brush the flesh of the pumpkin wedges with oil. Sprinkle with tajín, piloncillo or brown sugar, and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast the pumpkin - Roast until fork tender, 25-40 minutes depending on size of your wedges. While the pumpkin roasts, make the dipping sauce.
- Make the dipping sauce - Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Check for seasoning. Use immediately or refrigerate.
- To serve - Serve the warm/hot pumpkin wedges with the dipping sauce, and enjoy!
What kind of pumpkin is best for this recipe? Use small, thin-skinned pumpkins that will make appropriately sized wedges when cut. Pie and sugar pumpkins are widely available, and the smaller ones are great in this recipe.
Can I eat the skin? YES! All pumpkin skin is edible, but thin-skinned pumpkins have more tender skin. If you're into reducing food waste (as I am), read Why It's Totally Fine to Eat the Pumpkin Skin. Remember: Much of the nutrients and fiber of pumpkin is in its skin.
Can I substitute for the pumpkin? Yes. You can use any winter squash. Just make sure it is fork tender and caramelized on the edges. Butternut squash would be a good choice.
What can I do with the leftover roasted pumpkin? Since I cook for 2 most of the time, I have lots of leftovers. I removed the skins, and cubed it to add to a vegetarian gnocchi with caramelized onions and sage.
How long can I keep the dipping sauce? The dipping sauce will be fine in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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What are your favorite ways to usher in the season (fall)? Do you live in a part of the country with seasons, and if not, do you miss them? I do!