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6 Pumpkin Recipes That Go Beyond the Holidays

By Feed the Future

In the United States, we often think of pumpkins as Halloween decorations or Thanksgiving pie filling. Pumpkins may seem like a modern trend, but this orange fruit has fed generations, going back centuries. Before there was pumpkin spice, families roasted the flesh of this fruit on open fires to provide hearty and filling meals. Today, pumpkins continue to be a staple crop for many families around the world.

Oh My Gourd!

The Power of Pumpkin

This orange fruit is packed with nutrients, like potassium and Vitamin A. For rural communities in many developing countries, consuming pumpkin can help young children grow up healthy and strong.

Pumpkins Pack a Nutritional Punch

Pumpkin might be a fall staple in America, but it is also found in many products abroad. You can find pumpkin in flour, wine, juice and oilaround the globe. Many smallholder farmers around the world sell pumpkins for extra income during harvest time.

More Than Just a Fall Fad

Feed the Future works with these farmers, many of whom live in poverty and hunger, to help them connect to markets and increase harvests. Meanwhile, the initiative also empowers young entrepreneurs in developing countries to tap into this market. This is not only good for farmers and their families, but it also provides more produce to meet national and global demand for this popular crop. Farmers and entrepreneurs both benefit from a robust and reliable market for their harvests! Meet one of these young entrepreneurs.

From Patch to Table

Winning Recipes

This fall, we’re celebrating the incredible potential pumpkins — and agriculture, more broadly — have for combating global hunger and poverty. We invited you to help us spread the word by sending us your favorite pumpkin recipes, and you responded in force. We received entries from across the United States and abroad!

The recipes featured pumpkins in versatile ways, from breakfast foods to sweet treats. The votes are in, and the winners are listed below. If you’re looking for a pumpkin recipe for your dinner table, we encourage you to try one (or all!) of these winning recipes.

Thanks to everyone who participated, from sharing the contest with friends and followers to sending in recipes. You can still help share the word this fall that we can make an impact against hunger, poverty and malnutrition.

Here’s how:

  • Prepare one of the winning recipes and post a picture of your creation on Twitter or Facebook. Add the hashtag #feedthefuture to make sure we see it!

  • Work in a restaurant? Feature one of these delicious recipes on your menu with a short note about the food producers who make the ingredients possible.

  • Share these social media infographics with facts about pumpkins and the efforts that are helping poor families grow a better future.

And the winners are…

Best Overall Recipes

Most Creative Recipes

Honorable Mentions

Best Overall Recipe: Pumpkin Sambusa

Submitted by: Sayora Khalimova (Tajikistan)



  • 6-1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt


  • 1 pound of uncooked pumpkin (not canned)
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


1. In a large bowl, mix flour, water and salt until dough forms. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for one minute. Put the dough back into the bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rest for 30-40 minutes.

2. To make the filling, peel and grate pumpkin and onion (or chop into small pieces). Mix together in a large bowl. Add melted butter, pepper and salt, and toss to coat.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the dough into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a flat circle, but keep the center slightly thicker than the edges. Place 3 tablespoons of filling on each circle.

4. Cut the edges of the dough from three sides and press the edges together to make a triangle. If desired, sprinkle sesame seeds on each sambusa.

5. Grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Place sambusas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot with green or black tea for an authentic Tajik treat! Bon appetit!

Recipe Fact: Sambusas – baked or fried pockets of dough with filling – are common throughout Asia and can contain beef, mutton, chicken, and even greens. In the fall in Tajikistan, pumpkin sambusas often take center stage. The pumpkin filling is very nutritious, rich with vitamins and minerals, and these savory autumn treats are popular in families throughout Central Asia. We serve them on regular days, and for special events, and we hope you enjoy them too!

Best Overall Recipe: Khmer Family Soup with Fish Powder and Pumpkin

Submitted by: Suzana Sopinchan (Khan Daun Penh, Cambodia)


  • 3 tbsp (45 g) of small fish powder
  • 200 grams of seasonal green leafy vegetable such as moringa, amaranth leaves and/or pumpkin leaves
  • 400 grams of hard vegetables such as pumpkin, ridge gourd and/or sweet potatoes cut into pieces
  • 2 liters of water
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon of palm sugar
  • Pinch of iodized salt
  • Small pinch of turmeric and ginger root


1. Prepare lemongrass paste: Finely chop the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves then add turmeric, ginger root, garlic and pound until they become a paste.

2. Add oil to a heated wok. Stir in lemongrass paste. Add the small fish powder and fish sauce. Continue stirring.

3. Add the hard vegetables and half a liter of water. When the hard vegetables are well cooked, add the rest of water and the palm sugar.

4. Bring it to a boil. Add the leafy vegetable and iodized salt.

Recipe Fact: Children 6-23 months old need animal-source foods every day to grow and develop well. Young children cannot eat the large pieces of bony fish or small crabs that are usually cooked in Khmer Family Soup, a traditional Cambodian recipe. Preparing this soup with small fish powder is easy to feed young children and the rest of the family. Just place in the small bowl and mash – your child will love the taste.

Most Creative Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes

Submitted by: Surayo Pulatova (Tajikistan)


  • 3 cups grated fresh pumpkin  
  • 1 cup grated potato
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt


1. In a large bowl, mix the milk, egg, pumpkin and potatoes.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

3. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

4. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat.

5. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides.

6. Serve hot with your jam of choice.

Recipe Fact: Cooking with pumpkin in Tajikistan is very popular, and this recipe is easy to prepare. Feed the Future in Tajikistan often encourages people, especially mothers with young children, to cook with pumpkin because it is one of the most widely grown vegetables and is incredibly rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Pumpkin can be served boiled, baked, steamed, roasted, or used in soups and purées. My family loves my specialty pumpkin pancakes. I hope you do too!

Most Creative Recipe: Pumpkin Stew with Beans and Chorizo

Submitted by: Arie Havelaar (Florida, USA)


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 5 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 chorizo sausage
  • Fresh mint


1. Cut the squash in quarters, remove seeds and threads, then cut into ¾ pieces.

2. Chop garlic and cut tomatoes.

3. Slowly fry garlic and spices for 2 minutes.

4. Add squash, tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes until squash is cooked but still has a bite.

5. Wash beans and add to squash mixture 5 minutes before end of cooking time.

6. Meanwhile, cut chorizo in ½-inch pieces and slowly fry.

7. Add fried chorizo and chopped mint to stew. Serve.

8. This recipe is still good after 1-2 days!

Honorable Mention: Pumpkin Fritters

Submitted by: Gulnora Razykova (Tajikistan) 


  • 1 1/4 cup grated fresh pumpkin
  • 1 cup grated potato
  • 2 medium white onions, diced or grated
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons of chopped fresh mixed herbs (parsley, coriander and dill)


1. Mix pumpkin, potato, onions, herbs, salt, sour cream, garlic, flour and egg in a large bowl.

2. In a frying pan, swirl 2-3 tablespoons of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat.

3. Place a heaping tablespoon of the pumpkin mix into the pan. Spread a little and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until browned and crisp.

4. Put fritters on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

5. Pumpkin fritters can be served with a variety of sauces, but Tajikistan recommends dill sour cream. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Self Crust Pumpkin Pie

Submitted by: Holly Podilksa (Nebraska, USA)


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of pumpkin
  • 1 cup of nonfat dry milk
  • ⅔ cup of brown or white sugar
  • ¼ cup of flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 cup water


1. Mix all of the ingredients except water together in a large bowl.

2. Stir in water gradually until well mixed.

3. Pour mixture into a greased 9-inch pie pan.

4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean.

5. Makes 8 servings, 150 calories per serving.

Recipe Fact: This recipe is a family tradition. It’s from my grandmother and she made it when she was growing up. Every year for Thanksgiving, she would make it for our family celebration. After her passing, my mother took over making it every year. I have helped my mom, and plan to keep the tradition going for many more years.


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