By Sammy Caiola
Native Foods Cafe
Now that fall is in full swing, I’m hopping on the pumpkin
carriage and joining the craze over America’s favorite gourd: the pumpkin.
Whether it’s pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pop tarts or pumpkin ravioli, this
jack-o-lantern of all trades is making it’s name in every meal. But does it
hold its own in the vegan world?
By health standards, it certainly should. Every cup of pumpkin
contains 3 grams of fiber- a proven assistant to weight loss. The seeds can
help fight cholesterol and also lift your mood with a cheery amino acid called
tryptophan (the same one that’s in turkey). It’s got more potassium than a
banana, and about 20 percent of the Vitamin C women need every day. It’s a
pretty well-rounded vegetable, if you ask me.
My newfoundland Dozer holding a freshly picked pumpkin.
Sammy Caiola, Native Foods Cafe, a vegan restaurant
Plus, they’re so darn fun. My fondest memories of growing up on
Long Island are the family outings to the North Fork pumpkin patches and the
hours spent seeding and carving until my siblings and I each had the perfect
jack-o-lantern. Speaking of jack-o-lanterns, there are some folks who get
really into their pumpkin carvings. Here are some of my favorites.
Native Foods Cafe uses this photo courtesy of masqueman.blogspot.com
Native Foods Cafe uses this photo courtesy of guyism.com
And then there are people who take it even further, like this guy
in West Virginia who carves 3,000 PUMPKINS EVERY Halloween to add to The Kenova Pumpkin House, which
he displays for his community. He says he’s done more than 25,000 in his
lifetime, and that he barely gets 5 hours of sleep during most of the month of October.
Now that’s dedication.
Native Foods Cafe uses this photo courtesy of neotarama.com
Too much for you? That’s okay. Tackle some less ambitious
projects, like making the Native Foods Pumpkin Seed Pesto, or just head into the cafe for our moist and irresistible
pumpkin pie. Or, if you’re looking for some packaged pumpkin treats, keep this
short list handy on your next grocery run.
1. Republic of Tea Pumpkin and Ginger Black Tea
Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of worldmarket.com
This black tea, made with ginger, cinnamon cloves, allspice and
nutmeg, is guaranteed to keep you warm on the most blustery of days. I love
everything Republic of Tea does,
especially because they do it without additives or pesticides. This is
definitely going to be the comfort drink that gets me through midterm season.
2. Farm Truck Organics Vegan Curry Pumpkin Pesto
Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of
Need I say more? I haven’t tried this spread, but if it tastes
anything like it sounds, it’s a must-have. I’d put it on a baguette, or some
pasta, or a tasty tofu sandwich. Thanks Farm Truck, for finally taking a
creative spin on the totally overdone fall pumpkin fiasco.
3. Post Punk Kitchen Pumpkin Brownies
Native Foods Cafe uses this image courtesy of theppk.com
One of the easiest way to veganize brownies is to use pumpkin
puree as a sub for eggs and butter, which is perfect for fall, when pumpkin
puree is available en masse. There are tons of pumpkin brownie recipes out
there (including one that just says mix pumpkin
puree with a box of Pillsbury brownie mix), but we are partial to this pumpkin
pie brownie bar from the Post Punk Kitchen, one of
the best vegan blogs out there. Try them on the kids or serve them at your next
fall-themed get together!