Pumpkin Casserole

Even though pumpkins are more associated with autumn and the holiday season, I love them year round. I have actually acquired a love for all types of squash, so I like to find as many ways to use each variety! For instance, last night I had some spontaneous pumpkin cookie baking so I could have some treats to eat during this first full week of classes. I know I shouldn't eat a whole bunch of these at once, but it's nice to have a little prepared snack in case I get into a rush and need a little something to eat. I used the Pumpkin Spice Cookies recipe from The Food Lovers' Primal Palate. I suggest you check out both their website and their book because every recipe I've tried so far (and I've been making several a week since I got their cookbook for Christmas) have been amazing. As my mom has instructed me, I try to cook each recipe exactly as it says the first time, and then the second time I make it I can alter it. It's actually really hard for me to do that! For instance, last night I had the impulse to add an egg to the cookie batter because I couldn't imagine how it could become cohesive. Well I'm glad I didn't because these were great! A little crispy and slightly chewy in the very center. They called for flaked coconut for the bar version, but not the cookies, however I just folded a handful in because I thought it would taste good and add nice texture. I added a couple of handfuls of raisins...I couldn't help myself. I didn't think it would alter the recipe too much. I used to make pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips, oats, and raisins which were pretty much the best cookies I had ever had, but these make a great grain-free substitute.
Now here is another application of one of my favorite ingredients: I first prepared this pumpkin side dish for Christmas dinner because I wanted something slightly sweet to go with the meal. The good thing about this pumpkin casserole is that it's not so sweet that it couldn't be considered a side dish, but if you would like, it could be served as a dessert.

Pumpkin Casserole in the back of the plate at Christmas dinner

This recipe is particularly easy because you use canned pumpkin, so you don't have to roast a whole squash yourself. The latest time I made this, I didn't anticipate making a dessert, but I always have these ingredients on hand so this is nice to throw together at the last minute. I prefer this with pecans, but the last time I made it I used sliced almonds, which were also nice. Another option that I have not tried is dried coconut flakes, which I bet would be really nice too!

Pumpkin Casserole
Printable Recipe

1 egg (preferably omega-3-enhanced/free-range), well beaten
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1 14.5-oz can pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans are the best)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter a 1.5-qt baking dish and set aside.
3. Blend the beaten egg and honey in a medium bowl. Fold in the spices and pumpkin. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan.
4. Sprinkle the nuts over the pumpkin mixture and dot with butter. Add a small dash of ground cloves on top as a final garnish.
5. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly firm. Serve warm or room temperature.

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