Did you know that last Thursday was National Pumpkin day? First of all, if there is one thing that doesn’t need a National Day, I think it’s the pumpkin. I mean National Ice Cream Day, National Chocolate Day, National Mole Day (yup, it’s a day!), but National Pumpkin Day? Isn’t the pumpkin recognized enough? Each and every day we are bombarded with items now being flavored with pumpkin and pumpkin spice.
I don’t know why every food manufacturer in the universe feels the need to make pumpkin-flavored everything during the months of October and November. Really? We know! Pumpkin cake, pumpkin muffins and, of course, the now ubiquitous pumpkin latte. This year, the phenomenon has gone even further, with pumpkin hummus, pumpkin-spiced cream cheese, pumpkin-spiced Cheerios, pumpkin-spiced nuts, pumpkin yogurt etc. You see where this is going. Pumpkin can be incorporated into everything and anything. That doesn’t mean it should.
There are so many other fall flavors that are screaming to be recognized. The apple, the pear and the cranberry! And about a dozen other squashes. What about them? Just a heads up—November 23 is national eat-a-cranberry day, which also happens to be Thanksgiving. So you shouldn’t feel bad at all if your cranberries upstage the pumpkin at the meal.
So, go ahead and serve your pumpkin soup, your pumpkin bread, and even dip your pumpkin-spiced pita chips into your pumpkin-flavored hummus! Then wash it all down with a pumpkin ale.
I’m afraid to ask: What are you serving for Thanksgiving? The usual? Turkey, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, stuffing? (I already assume there will be a pumpkin something or other.) So, as in the past, I am not sharing a pumpkin recipe as there is a plethora of those available. Here is a dish that can serve as an unexpected vegetarian main dish, or a beautiful side dish. It’s gorgeous, flavorful and best of all, easy! (Feel free to throw in some roasted cubes of pumpkin if you must!)
Roasted Zaatar Cauliflower, With Tahini
- 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
- 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoon zaatar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup tahini mixed with a little water until smooth and pourable
- ¼ cup silan (date syrup)
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread out cauliflower florets in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with zaatar and salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes, depending on size of florets, until they are browned. For a beautiful presentation, place cauliflower on a flat serving dish, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, chickpeas and pine nuts. Drizzle with tahini and silan, and garnish with chopped cilantro. All quantities can be adjusted as desired!
By Rachel Berger