Dear Pumpkin, Everyone tells me that you’re a fall vegetable meant to spice up the autumn season and match the falling leaves.  However, I have this theory that you’ll taste just fine, thank you, during the more wintery months.  Plus I love roasting you and would hate to throw our entire relationship away just for sugar-sprinkled cookies and potato latkes.  Consider this a tribute, dear squash, to your versatility, vitality, and general vivaciousness.

Cupcake Punk

All noochy love letters to my last sugar pumpkin aside, this dish was the one to go out with a bang.  Although my friend’s Moroccan (or something African) pumpkin soup with spice swirl may have run away with the cake last night.

Susan V’s combination of pumpkin and black beans might seem odd, but I’m thoroughly taken with it.  Of course, the recipe yielded about 20 servings too many and the poet ended up with doggy bags every time he left my house, but it was really worth making.  (Now, D & T, this isn’t to rub my pumpkin availability in your face, I swear!)  I threw in an assortment of veggies I had lying around–frozen lima beans for example–so you can definitely do the same.

Thanks for the December love over the past two days!  I edited the recipe and added in the flour requirement so you can actually make the tasty cake.  How on earth did I forget to type in flour?  Insanity.  Anyways, hope you’re staying warm!

Pumpkin & Black Bean Casserole

From Susan V:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or one can, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (or other mild chili powder)
1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (to taste)
15 ounces canned tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved*

1 pound pumpkin (about 1/2 one small pumpkin) or any winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)

3/4 cup soymilk or other non-dairy milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon tahini (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the black beans with the next 8 ingredients and set aside.

Cut the pumpkin in half. Set aside one half for another use and peel the other half. Cut it into very thin slices about 1/4-inch thick and 2 inches long.

Preheat oven to 425F. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with canola oil. Lay one-third of the pumpkin slices in the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cover with half of the bean mixture. Repeat layers with another third of the pumpkin and the remainder of the beans. Finish with the final third of the pumpkin slices.

In a blender, combine the reserved *tomato liquid (about 1/2 cup) with the soymilk and remaining ingredients. Blend well and pour over the pumpkin. Cover tightly, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for 20-30 minutes, until sauce is thick and bubbly and pumpkin is tender.