Pumpkin Steaks Are The Festive Way To Celebrate Fall

Pumpkins may be one of the most underrated and under-utilized fruits out there. Outside of jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies, many people end up tossing their leftover pumpkins in the trash. In fact, in 2014, an estimated 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkin ended up in landfills. That's a shame because pumpkins are actually versatile fruit with plenty of recipes, including a vegan alternative for steak.

Get into the autumn spirit by tossing a couple of slices of pumpkin on the grill. These pumpkin steaks can make for a great main course at your Halloween party or serve along a spread at Thanksgiving time. When cooked, a pumpkin's taste best resembles sweet potato in that it's slightly sweet but earthy. Similar to squash, you can completely transform the taste of pumpkin with spices or other herbs. However, the fruit is versatile enough to blend well with a number of ingredients. For pumpkin steaks, in particular, you might want to try a mixture of rosemary and sea salt. This will give the pumpkin a slightly savory taste that shouldn't overwhelm the natural flavors of the fruit. On the other end of the spectrum, you could also pair your pumpkin steaks with a sweet or tangy barbecue sauce or rub. Roasting in date honey with a splash of lemon juice would give the fruit a complex flavor profile as well. 

When it comes to the actual cooking process, there are a few important things to keep in mind. After all, you want to avoid a holiday disaster.

How to cook pumpkin steaks

When deciding whether to use canned vs fresh pumpkin, you should always choose fresh pumpkin for pumpkin steaks. For obvious reasons, canned pumpkin wouldn't work because it's been puréed, and what you want for this meal is a nice thick slice of pumpkin. When it comes to slices, you should aim for around half an inch to 1-inch thickness, so you still have a hearty steak but it doesn't cook unevenly.

Just like steak, there are actually several different ways that you can cook pumpkin. For instance, some cooks cut the entire pumpkin into two halves (assuming it's small enough) and place both on the grill like two vegan pot roasts. While this method is useful if you have a large party, you have to be careful that your pumpkin cooks evenly. Dealing with a larger volume of pumpkin can be difficult to manage. Meanwhile, you can slice up your pumpkin and throw the pieces on the grill individually to get those perfect grill marks. Each side should take about four minutes to cook. A nice coating of olive oil will make the pumpkin pop.

Of course, you could always use the oven to roast the pumpkin steaks. This method has its own benefits in it allows you to cook for multiple guests, but you'll miss out on the grill marks and that smokey flavor. Whatever you do, you should make sure that you don't overcook your pumpkin. Otherwise, it will become mushy.