Lots of bold New Mexico flavor in a healthy, vegetarian posole recipe! Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole features roasted fresh pumpkin, Hatch green chile, posole (hominy), and black beans in one warm and wonderful bowl of goodness! Garnish it with pepitas, avocado, lime, cilantro, and crema, and you won't miss "the meat!" I promise.
I find myself fundamentally aligned with a vegetarian position in every way but one: however selectively, I eat meat.~~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Vegetarian Cooking
I love vegetarian cooking! I enjoy the process of perusing fresh, seasonal ingredients, and discovering new ways to feature them.
My cousin Jonny asked me a few weeks back to provide him with a new "cousin Tami" recipe. He had recently made the switch from vegetarian to vegan, and enjoys cooking. Avoiding dairy is difficult for this dairy-loving girl, so my task became a bit more of a challenge.
Winter squash - butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin to name a few - are available in abundance this time of year. The Natural Grocer had some beautiful sugar pumpkins. I haven't used pumpkin in savory preparations, so the thought of developing a vegan main dish using this ingredient was intriguing. I purchased a pumpkin that weighed about 4 pounds, and put on my "thinking cap."
Jonny recently re-located from New York to his native California. I know he loves Mexican and southwest flavors, so that is the direction I headed with my pumpkin. I have a freezer full of Hatch green chile, and I keep posole and both canned and dried black beans on hand as well. I decided on this Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole.
I prefer the taste and texture of frozen posole (hominy) to canned. It is less starchy, and firmer to the bite. It requires 45-60 minutes to cook frozen posole, but the extra time is worth it.
Start by placing your posole in a stock pot or dutch oven, and cover with water to 2" above the level of the posole. Add a tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to keep the posole at a simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
If you're a fan of the Instant Pot (or other pressure cooker), you will save time. I find 30 minutes in the pressure cooker gets it to al dente perfection, and you can do this while you prep the pumpkin or other winter squash!
Alternatively, you can find dried posole and use much the same process as with frozen posole, though the cooking time is longer. Follow directions on the package.
If you decide to use canned hominy, please rinse it thoroughly before using to remove the excess starch!
📋 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.
- posole - I prefer frozen and cooked but you can use canned as well
- pumpkin (see Tips section)
- olive oil
- ground cumin
- Mexican oregano
- good vegetable stock
- cooked black beans
- Hatch green chile
🎃 Breaking Down Pumpkin - Other Winter Squash
The most difficult part of this recipe is breaking down the pumpkin. It is quite similar to breaking down butternut squash. In fact, you can use butternut squash in place of the pumpkin if you wish.
I slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom through the stem. I then scooped all the seeds and fiber from its center. Next, I cut into manageable wedges - about 8. I cut off any stem and blossom end. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, I removed all the skin. Lastly, I cubed the squash in pieces about ¾" in size. Once this step is done, the rest is pretty simple!
After the pumpkin is cubed, toss with a bit of olive oil, and spread out on a sheet pan. Roast until the edges begin to brown, and pieces are tender - about 20-30 minutes.
FYI: Breaking down pumpkin is irritating. Admittedly, I don't love it. This video may help (I'll make one myself someday!).
Keep in mind you have other options. Any winter squash is a great option - butternut being the most common. Sweet potato is awesome as well!
- Prepare the pumpkin - Break down and cube the pumpkin (winter squash or sweet potato). Roast the pumpkin until tender and some edges are browned.
- Start the posole - While the pumpkin roasts, sauté the aromatics, add spices, then de-glaze with vegetable broth.
- Finish the posole - Add the black beans, green chile, roasted pumpkin, and homine/posole. Simmer until ready to serve, but at least 10 minutes to combine flavors!
Use good stock. I make vegetable broth, and it is loaded with flavor. You can find many good quality commercially prepared vegetable stocks as well. My Instant Pot Umami Vegetable Broth is a great option!
Pressed for time - You can make this recipe with canned black beans and hominy, and substitute commercially cubed butternut squash for the pumpkin.
How long can my vegetarian posole be stored? Up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.
On a Side Note... (Rabbit Chasing)
Are you curious about my opening quote? I am a literature buff, and Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. She and I share our food philosophy.
When she wrote Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she and her family had moved from the Tucson area to the family farm in the Appalachians. They relied on the farm and neighboring community for all of their food. She tells the story with grace and humor, and explains well the ecological importance of eating locally, and knowing where your food comes from. Her philosophy is my philosophy.
I do enjoy meat, but I identify with the vegetarian lifestyle. One key to feeling satisfied with a vegetarian variation of a classic dish is to try to dissociate the classic, meat-based version of the dish from the vegetarian dish... look at it in a new way.
My young adult kids were skeptical, given the fact that traditional New Mexican pork-laden posole is a favorite dish. I suggested they try to enjoy the flavors rather than focusing on the "missing" meat. Guess what? They all really liked it!
Have you considered reducing your carbon footprint by incorporating occasional vegetarian meals into your diet? If you haven't, this Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole might convince you!
Have you tried pumpkin in savory applications, or is it reserved for sweets? Or, is breaking down a fresh pumpkin way too much trouble? I'd love to hear your thoughts on fresh pumpkins!