October is here and so many of us are on a pumpkin spiced high! Pumpkin spiced everything is a fairly new trend. I’m always reminded of how appalled my French friends were with the thought of a vegetable being served spiced and sweetened. It was beyond their comprehension. The thought of a pie, sweet bars or cookies made with a common vegetable was not on their radar. At all. Many people forget that the humble pumpkin really is a vegetable, part of the squash family, and does not need sugar and spice.
I’ve included one of my all-time favorite recipes using pumpkin in a savory way. I’ve made this dip for holiday parties for more than 15 years. I found the recipe all those years ago in a Cooking Light magazine. It always surprises everyone because it isn’t sweet but it’s still good!
Warm Pumpkin Cheese Dip
1 ¼ cups plain low fat yogurt
½ teaspoon butter
1 cup thinly sliced leek
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) goat cheese, room temp
1/3 cup evaporated milk (fat free if you choose)
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 large egg whites
Preparation: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spoon yogurt onto several layers of paper towels; spread to ½ inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl using a rubber spatula.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek; saute’ 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, and stir in thyme and salt. Place strained yogurt, goat cheese and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed just until smooth. Stir in leek mixture. Spoon pumpkin mixture into a 1-quart baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (mine always takes at least 10 minutes longer) or until dip is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm with crisp breadsticks, bagel chips, or toasted French or sourdough baguette slices.
This is one of those recipes that it really doesn’t matter whether you use fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin, the result is the same. Fresh pumpkin will give it a slightly different texture. Canned pumpkin with its smooth, creamy texture is just fine. An added bonus is that the thyme from my herb garden is still thriving in October. Fresh herb tastes so good in this dip.
Sharing Pumpkin Plans
What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes? I’m partial to a good pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting. I also find it hard to resist pumpkin pie at any time of the year. Do you use fresh pumpkin? I hope you have a chance to try this recipe and let me know what you think.