Fall is officially in full swing – leaves are changing, days are shorter and pumpkin dishes have hit the menus! Pumpkins are not only good for carving; they also make tasty seasonal dishes. Chefs are using this healthy ingredient (rich in fiber and Vitamin A) in more creative ways than ever.

Whether you choose savory dishes or sweet treats, there is an array of options to surprise and delight everyone’s palate this season.

 

Savory Dishes

Chefs often find inspiration for daily menu specials from fresh ingredients bought at local farmers markets. The “prime time” to find these dishes is when pumpkins have become ripe during the month of October until early-November.

Pumpkins are very versatile and can be made into soups with additional spices and seasoning, used in pasta dishes (such as, risotto or ravioli) or on top of meats (such as, a steak topped with pumpkin puree or pumpkin seeds).

Sweet Treats

Even though there is more to pumpkin desserts than just pie, fresh pumpkins make pumpkin pie especially delicious this time of year. Coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants are expanding their selections beyond just pies to muffins, donuts, cupcakes, cheesecake, and even ice cream.

Beverages

During the exclusive fall months you can find a variety of hot and cold drinks to quench your thirst. Look for different variations of pumpkin spiced lattes, hot chocolate, smoothies, martinis and pumpkin beers.

For the more adventurous, there are plenty of seasonal wines, beers, spirits and liqueurs to try that you can pick up at your local liquor store. (While you’re guaranteed to find pumpkin beers, other options like pumpkin pie vodka may involve more legwork)

Pick out a few to try and bring to your favorite BYOB spot – the possibilities are endless!

My Favorites

As a Chicagoan who loves pumpkins (and to eat –of course), I have come across plenty of restaurants that put their own creative spin on amazing pumpkin dishes.

Here were a few that were “Pinch me, am I in heaven?” good:

Sabor Saveur’s Fillet Mignon, topped with pumpkin seeds and huazontle and served with yellow mole, sweet potato and croquettes, over amaranth green beans. (BYOB friendly)

Hot Chocolate’s Pumpkin spiced hot chocolate (with homemade marshmallows!) & also their roasted pumpkin and gingersnap crusted Cheesecake with toasted marshmallow, butterscotch toffee and mini pumpkin doughnuts.

BEST OF ALL: Both restaurants are on Restaurant.com!

 

These were just a few ideas that we came up with, but we always love to hear more!

What are your favorite pumpkin dishes this fall? Have you found a great spot to find tasty pumpkin treats in your city? Tell us your favorites!

 

Hungry for more? Check out Jen’s delicious Apple suggestions.