Here’s a really effortless, great way to dress up roasted pumpkin to make a side dish that works just as well alongside grand roasts or a salad spread for lunch. Simply toss pumpkin with garlic then oven roast until golden, drizzle with yogurt lemon sauce and scatter with pine nuts. So easy yet so superb!
Roasted Pumpkin Side Dish
The really good thing about this dish is its sheer simplicity, that it’s something a little different but the flavour has universal appeal.
I mean, roasted pumpkin is already a good thing. But you’ll love it even more with a creamy garlicky-lemony yogurt sauce casually drizzled over it.
Add pine nuts for texture a dash of of the exotic – and boom! People are always impressed. And then you can trot out that line we cooks love to casually say to guests, “Oh, it’s just a little something I threw together quickly……”
(Don’t tell me I’m the only one around here immature enough to still get a thrill out of saying that!)
What you need for roasted pumpkin
Here’s what I use for the roasted pumpkin – salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.
Oh – and yes, pumpkin. 😂 Any type that takes your fancy, including butternut (which is sometimes called “butternut squash”, but we just call it “butternut pumpkin” here Down Under). Sweet potato also works just as well – though perhaps an extra 5 minutes in the oven.
How I cut, peel & roast pumpkin
For those of you deterred by the thought of the effort of hacking through a giant pumpkin – my trick is to rock the knife up and down as you cut through through a big hunk of pumpkin. Your knife will slide through much more easily than trying to cut straight down.
And here’s how I cut it into cubes:
- Cut into thick 3cm / 1.2″ slices;
- Lay a slice on the side then cut the skin off;
- Then for neat cubes, cut 3cm / 1.2″ thick slices AROUND the seeds. I find this method faster and cleaner than scraping with a spoon, though the trade off is that there is a bit of wastage – minimise this by cutting as close to the seeds as you can; then
- Cut into cubes.
And here’s how I roast pumpkin:
- Toss with garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. It’s easiest to do this in a bowl to get full coverage – you can shortcut it on the tray but you’ll need to get your hands right in there to coat well;
- Spread on a baking / parchment paper-lined tray. This is insurance to ensure you don’t lose the golden skin of the pumpkin when flipping/serving (it’s so distressing when that happens, it’s the best part! 😂)
- Roast in a HOT oven – 220°C/430°F (200°C fan) – so we can get some nice colour on the pumpkin in the time it takes for the inside to cook through. High temperature is key here – if you use a lower temperature, then by the time the pumpkin goes golden, the inside turns to mush. We aren’t making Pumpkin Mash!
- The pumpkin is ready when it’s fully cooked through and you have some nice golden edges and surfaces. 20 minutes, flip, then 10 minutes.
Lemon Yogurt Sauce
An excellent all-rounder that’s highly versatile, plus simple: yogurt, lemon, a tiny bit of garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix, then leave for at least 10 minutes to let the flavours develop!
I often serve this with just the Lemon Yogurt Sauce because it’s already very good just like that. But the basic foundation of roasted pumpkin with this sauce is versatile enough to be adapted to many cuisines and food styles.
Today I’ve given this a Middle Eastern spin by finishing it with a pinch of sumac (a lemony-flavoured red powder made from a dried fruit), pine nuts and coriander/cilantro – just to make it that little bit extra special!
Here are some more ideas to customise it to your taste or to fit a menu theme:
- Go Greek by mixing in chopped dill and/or mint into the sauce. Sprinkle dish generously with dried oregano, tear over some more of the fresh herbs. Try serving with Greek Marinated Chicken;
- Give it a Christmas spin by tossing pumpkin in cinnamon, a little ground clove and nutmeg before roasting. Sprinkle finished dish with pomegranate seeds and leafy green herbs for some proper Christmas colours! Serve alongside all things Christmas;
- Make an Indian-esque side for curries. Toss pumpkin in a a spice combo of your choice before roasting – think cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander seeds, ground fennel seeds, chilli powder, garam marsala. Garnish with mint leaves and some chopped nuts;
- Pre-made spice mixes would also work brilliantly here: Old Bay, Cajun, Tex-Mex/taco seasoning. Drizzle finished dish with some honey, a squeeze of more lemon, scatter with coriander/cilantro and seeds – pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), sunflower, poppy etc for some crunch.
- Roasting with fresh chopped rosemary and/or thyme leaves will also perfume and flavour the pumpkin wonderfully. Zest some lemon over finished dish, add crunch via nuts, seeds or even small croutons; and
- You could even turn this side into a more substantial dish by bulking out with cooked lentils (use the lentils in this recipe), and adding other roast veg with the pumpkin (increase dressing accordingly.)
What to serve with this pumpkin dish
I say I’ve given this a Middle Eastern touch with the pine nuts and sumac, but it’s still neutrally flavoured enough to go well with virtually any Western Dish (as well as other cuisines). Here are some centrepiece mains I think would make a perfect pairing!
Enjoy! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Roasted Pumpkin with Lemon Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts
- 1.2kg / 2.4 lb pumpkin , skin on seeds in weight (or butternut squash or sweet potato, Note 1)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove , finely minced using garlic press
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
Lemon Yogurt Sauce:
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (or other plain, non sweet yogurt)
- 1/2 small garlic clove , finely minced using garlic press
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
Sprinkling and garnishes:
- 2 tbsp pine nuts (or other nuts of choice)
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro leaves , roughly chopped (or parsley)
- 1/8 tsp sumac (paprika or other theme appropriate spice, Note 2)
- Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F (200°C fan). Line a tray with baking/parchment paper.
- Peel, deseed and cut pumpkin into 3cm / 1.2" cubes – see photos in post for how I do it with little effort. You should end up with about 1 kg – enough to fill a tray.
- Place pumpkin in a bowl, add garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss well using a rubber spatula.
- Spread on tray. Roast 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin pieces, then roast a further 7 to 10 minutes until nicely coloured but holding it's shape, rather than being a mushy mess.
Lemon Yogurt Sauce:
- Mix ingredients then set aside for at least 10 minutes to let the flavours develop.
- Preheat skillet over medium high heat (no oil). Add pine nuts and cook, stirring regularly, until it smells amazing and it's got a hint of browning on both sides. Remove from pan.
- Pile the pumpkin in a mound on a plate. Drizzle over yogurt sauce, add a little drizzle of olive oil, then sprinkle with sumac, pine nuts and coriander.
- I think it's best served with the pumpkin hot or warm, but for a warm summer day, it is also excellent served at room temperature. Just cool pumpkin, then dress and garnish just before serving.
- Greek: Chopped dill/mint in sauce, sprinkle dish with dried oregano and more torn dill/mint.
- Christmas flavours: Toss pumpkin in cinnamon, nutmeg, clove powder before roasting. Scatter pomegranate seeds and leafy herbs over dish.
- Indian-esque: Toss pumpkin in Indian spices (see in post for suggestions) before roasting. Garnish with mint, chopped nuts.
- American spice mixes: Toss Old Bay, Cajun or Tex-Mex mix before roasting. Drizzle with honey, squeeze more lemon juice and scatter with seeds of your choice.
- Rosemary/thyme: Chop rosemary and/or thyme, toss with pumpkin. Zest a lemon over dish and top with nuts/seeds.
Life of Dozer
Delivery people are often apprehensive when they hear Dozer’s commanding (very loud!) bark when they knock on the door. Then that instantly changes to relief when I open the door and they see his dopey face and wagging tail!