A pumpkin that looks like cheese; yes please. While the taste is not quite cheese-like, the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin got its name because the skin resembles the rind of cheese that was made during that time period—it’s been around since the 1800s. With a burnt sienna color and crooked stem, it’s the kind of pumpkin you’d draw a picture of on Halloween. One look will have you craving a crisp, fall day. One taste and you’ll wonder why anyone uses this pumpkin solely for decoration. It’s sweet, creamy and considered by some to be the only pumpkin worthy of baking into pie. Clearly, it isn’t officially the fall season until a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin graces your table, whether it’s as part of an Autumn-themed centerpiece or part of a pie. We prefer pie, of course. Cheese pumpkin pie, here we come.
HOW TO ROAST:
How to roast a cheese pumpkin and make pumpkin puree: Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut pumpkin in half lengthwise (this will take some elbow grease). Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and strings; discard. Place pumpkin halves cut site down on prepared baking sheet and roast until skin is golden brown and flesh gives easily when pressed, 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your pumpkin. Let roasted pumpkin stand at room temperature. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh into a food processor and discard pumpkin skin. Puree pumpkin until smooth – this may have to be done in 2 batches. When puree is completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container. Puree will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for about 4 months.
These veggie burgers take pumpkin out of its usual sweet territory and into the savory realm. The cheese pumpkin’s inherent sweetness pairs really well with smoky chipotle and bright cilantro. This recipe would also make great sliders – just purchase mini buns and make smaller patties.
Black Bean-Pumpkin Burgers with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Servings: 10 burgers
Active: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
For the burgers:
- 1 15-ounce can black beans (low sodium, if possible), drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp chipotle sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
- 1 medium garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 egg, beaten
- Handful of cilantro leaves
- A few dashes of hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- About 3 Tbsp organic canola oil
For the sauce and assembly:
- 5 oz full fat plain Greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
- Pinch of salt
- Romaine leaves
- Sandwich rolls, halved
In a food processor, combine all burger ingredients except canola oil. Pulse to combine – do not puree, as mixture should remain a bit chunky. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add enough canola oil to coat the bottom. Using your hands, form mixture into burger-sized patties. Working in batches, cook patties until browned and crisp on the bottom, about 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes.
To make sauce, in a blender, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Puree until smooth. Taste and season with more salt or lime juice, if needed.
To assemble, place romaine leaves on bottom sandwich roll halves and top with pumpkin burgers. Spread yogurt sauce on top sandwich roll halves, assemble into burgers and serve immediately.
Recipe by: Alexandra Shytsman of ChezSasha.com/Natural Gourmet Institute
Recipe by Alexandra Shytsman, recipe developer, food stylist and photographer, creator of ChezSasha.com and Marketing & Communications Manager at Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.