The best uses and recipes for left over pumpkins this Halloween

Though millions of pumpkins will be sold up and down the country this Halloween, a large percentage of them will end up being wasted.

Published 25th Oct 2017
Updated 25 th Oct 2017

Last year more than a million pumpkins - enough to make a bowl of soup for everyone in the country - were wasted in Scotland for Halloween.

The findings, which came from a survey for environmental charity Hubbub, showed seven out of ten pumpkins carved to make festive lanterns do not get eaten and end up in the bin.

This is despite the fact that all of a pumpkin, bar the stalk, is edible and a good source of vitamins A and C, iron and riboflavin - the seeds are also highly nutritious, containing zinc and health-boosting antioxidants.

This year, with Halloween now the most popular commercial holiday after Easter and Christmas, people are being asked by organisations such as Zero Waste Scotland not to throw out pumpkins.

Instead here are some of the best ways to use your carving left overs this Halloween.

Use the seeds to create a sweet treat with this recipe for pumpkin seed brownies

John Quigley of Red Onion in Glasgow gave this delicious recipe to Zero Waste Scotland.


• 140g dark chocolate, minimum 55% cocoa, chopped into small pieces

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• 120g unsalted butter

• 100g plain flour

• 5 eggs

• ½ vanilla pod, seeds only

• 255g soft brown sugar

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• 15g pumpkin seeds, rinsed and left to dry


Toast the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray for 3-4 minutes at 200˚C/gas mark 6, set aside to cool.

Place the butter and half of the dark chocolate in a bowl and melt together using a bain-marie or microwave.

Mix the egg and vanilla together, then add the sugar. Add to the melted butter and chocolate.

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Sift in the flour and fold through gently until just combined.
Add the remaining chocolate pieces and mix well.

Pour into a lined, 20cm square baking tray and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

Reduce the oven down to 175˚C/gas mark 3 and bake the brownies for 25 minutes. If the middle is still wobbly, place back in the oven until just set.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before turning out and cutting into squares.

Turn your leftover pumpkin into a hearty autumnal themed meal

Sausage, apple and pumpkin bake. Picture: Contributed

Top Scots chef Neil Forbes gave us this delicious recipe for Sausage, apple and pumpkin bake.

Neil said: "We love to serve this one-pot-wonder in the Forbes’ household.

"Use proper, juicy sausages from a farm shop with heritage tatties and apples, some onion for background flavour, pumpkin for that sweet, earthy taste, and some sage to marry it all together. Oh, and remember to keep the skin on the apples and potatoes."


• Allow three sausages per person (I like a good old pork and herb banger)

• 2 medium-sized onions, roughly chopped

• a splash of cold-pressed rapeseed oil

• salt and pepper

• ¼ pumpkin (or butternut squash), roughly chopped

• a few par-boiled potatoes (like a heritage Pink Fir Apple or Sharpe’s Express), cut into large chunks

• a knob of butter

• 1 clove garlic, sliced

• 1 very large cooking apple (James Grieve or Bramley are excellent), cored and roughly chopped

• a small handful of fennel fronds, roughly chopped

• a sprig of rosemary


(Serves four)

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish or oven-proof pan, and fry the onions and whole sausages. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pumpkin to the pan. Keep stirring and moving the dish around to get colour on all the ingredients. Then add the potatoes, butter, garlic and apples.

Make sure everything is starting to colour nicely before placing in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at 200C/Gas Mark 6 to cook further and brown.

Remove from the oven, add the fennel fronds and stir. Serve at the table in the dish you cooked it in – no time for pretty presentation here.

Turn your pumpkin into a stunning soup

Picture: Flickr\Abstract Gourmet

Chef Tom Kitchin suggests this wonderful recipe for raosted pumpkin soup.

Tom said: " Bright, silky and buttery, the pumpkin is at its best at this time of year and is extremely adaptable.

"It can be used in soups, pures and gratins, chopped into cubes to add to risottos or curries, and even roasted or crisped and served as the ideal accompaniment to autumn's fantastic choice of game.

"If you're not using your pumpkin as a lantern this year, try using the flesh as a soup serving bowl - or look for some smaller pumpkins for individual bowls. It makes eating it all the more fun, and it's a great way to get children excited about eating vegetables. Using a natural soup bowl lets the flavour stand out even more and means there's no washing up required.

"I maintain that cooking with them is much more fun than adding a scary face to the pumpkin."


For the Stock

• Trimmings and skin from the pumpkin

• 700ml chicken stock

• 1 large onion, peeled

• 1 bunch parsley stalks

• 3-4 sprigs of thyme

• 1 cinnamon stick head of garlic

• 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped

• 2 carrots, roughly chopped salt and pepper

For the Soup

• pumpkin, peeled and cut into 6 equal wedges

• 1 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1 tsp caraway seeds

• 1 tbsp butter

• 2 tbsp clear honey

• 60ml cream salt and pepper


To make the stock

Put all the pumpkin skin and trimmings into a large pot and cover with chicken stock.

Keep the pumpkin seeds back for roasting.

Add the rest of the stock ingredients and simmer slowly for at least one hour.

Leave to rest for 20 minutes and then strain through a sieve.

To make the soup

Divide the pumpkin wedges into two batches. One batch is for roasting and the other for sweating on top of the stove.

Chop the wedges for sweating into 5cm cubes and set aside. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium heat.

Add the onion, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a good pinch of salt, then sweat gently until the onion is very soft.

Add the cubes of pumpkin and cook gently until soft. Add enough stock to cover and leave to simmer.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan and add the butter. When it begins to foam, put in the large pumpkin wedges, salt and pepper. Allow the pumpkin to colour on both sides (this is important for flavour) and then sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds.

Continue to cook, turning occasionally to ensure that they are an even colour. After about 5 minutes, add the honey and put the pumpkin into the oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and roast for six to eight minutes until it is dark golden brown.

Add the roasted pumpkin to the pot of simmering pumpkin and mix together well, adding more stock if necessary.

Leave to cook until the pumpkin is very soft and tender, then add the cream. Check the seasoning and take off heat.

Leave to rest for ten minutes before transferring it to a blender and blitzing until smooth. The key to a great soup is a good stock.

Roast your pumpkin seeds for a delicious snack


Picture: Brian Jackson\Flickr

Another idea from Tom Kitchin is to create a delicious snack using the seeds.

Tom said: "Pumpkin seeds are almost like the hidden treasure in the pumpkin. They are delicious roasted and make the ideal snack or addition to cereals or salads.

"For crisp pumpkin seeds, dry them in a low oven before you roast them."


• Seeds of 1 pumpkin, washed and dried

• 1 tsp vegetable oil

• tsp ground cinnamon

• tsp ground caraway

• salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Toss the seeds with the oil, spices and seasoning and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Roast the seeds for eight to ten minutes, stirring them every few minutes to ensure that they brown evenly.

Use pumpkin to make a delightful spread

Picture: contributed

Nutrionist Christine Bailey combines roasted pumpkin and chickpea to make a tasty spread - served with oatcakes.


• 200g/7oz pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into large wedges

• 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled, left whole

• 2tsp honey

• 2tbsp olive oil

• Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

• 1 x 400g/14oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

• 1tbsp tahini

• Juice of half lemon Quarter

• tsp smoked paprika

• Pinch of ground nutmeg

• 1tbsp chopped fresh coriander


Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4 Place the pumpkin and garlic in a shallow roasting tin.

Toss with the honey and 1tbsp olive oil and season with black pepper and salt.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool. Peel the garlic cloves and place with the pumpkin in a food processor.

Add the remaining ingredients except the coriander to the food processor and process until smooth. Add the coriander leaves and pulse to combine.

Season with black pepper and salt to taste. Spread on oatcakes to serve.

Create a sweet and savoury snack inspired by Harry Potter

Picture: Paul at Copper Mango

Edinburgh chef Mark Greenaway has created this intriguing recipe after being inspired by Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling.

Mark said: "There is quite a debate amongst Harry Potter fans as to whether these pasties should be sweet or savoury, so I used some wizardry of my own to come up with a solution.

"These pasties are split in two halves – half filled with a roast chicken dinner and the other with a sweet pumpkin pie filling. The trick is that you don’t know which side you are tucking into. An entire meal encased in one pasty."


Makes two pasties

• 125g puff pastry

• 1 chicken leg, roasted, meat picked

• 3 new potatoes, diced and boiled

• 1 carrot, diced and boiled

• 400g roasted pumpkin

• 100g caster sugar

• seeds of 1 vanilla pod

• 100ml double cream

• 1 beaten egg


Combine the chicken, potato and carrots in a bowl.

Blend the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and cream, then pass this mixture through a fine sieve and chill in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Roll the pastry and cut out two circles roughly 20cm in diameter.

Place the chicken mixture on one half of each pastry circle, then place the sweet pumpkin mixture on the other half. Fold each circle over to create a pasty shape using egg wash on the edges to seal it.

Crimp the top with your fingers and brush with egg wash all over. Bake for 25 minutes.

Turn your pumpkin left overs into a sweet treat 

Pumpkin and Gingerbread. Picture: Paul Johnston

Mark Greenaway is also a fan of using the orange Halloween favourite to create puddings like this Pumpkin and Gingerbread dessert.

Mark said: "The sweet flesh of the pumpkin means that they do not need to be reserved solely for savoury dishes and soups. Here I share the recipe for my pumpkin and gingerbread dessert. The dark gingerbread and stout cake which forms the bottom layer of the pudding is a sticky, tasty delight and can be served as a cake all on its own.

"The pumpkin jelly layer which I pour over the cake adds interesting texture, flavour and colour to the dish. The darkness sitting just below the vibrant orange layer means that this dessert is the perfect ending to any Hallowe’en celebration.

"This pudding is becoming a firm favourite on the menu at Restaurant Mark Greenaway."


For the Ginger and Stout Cake:

• 110g butter

• 110g brown sugar

• 110g treacle

• 170g self­raising flour

• 1 tsp ground ginger

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

• 1 egg

• 100ml milk

• 165ml stout, reduced down to 45ml

• You will need a square cake tin with deep sides, lined with greaseproof paper.

For the Pumpkin Jelly:

• 1 large pumpkin with seeds removed

• 10 egg yolks

• 10 gelatine leaves, soaked in water until soft

• 100g sugar


For the Ginger and Stout Cake:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Melt down the butter, sugar and treacle in a heavy based pot and pour into a large bowl. Slowly beat in the egg.

Sift in the flour and spices. Stir in the stout and milk until just combined. Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in the tin.

For the Pumpkin Jelly:

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Portion the pumpkin into 20 similar pieces, place in a large roasting tray and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the pumpkin has started to caramelise.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes.

Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.

Place into a food processor and blend to a smooth purée.

Transfer to a muslin cloth or jelly bag and hang over a container for 24 hours.

Take the liquid that has fallen through and simmer it in a small pan till it has reduced to a thick syrup.

Place the pumpkin purée into the food processor with the eggs and sugar and blend.

Add the gelatine and the pumpkin reduction and blend.

Pour the jelly mixture over the gingerbread cake and set in the fridge for at least 5 hours.

Cut into rectangular slices and serve.

Create fun filled savoury pies for the kids

For an even quicker filling used minced beef and flavour it in the same way.

Makes 8

Cooking time: 3 hours 45mins plus chilling


• 250g diced Scotch Beef for casserole

• 1tbsp flour

• 2tbsp oil

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 1 stick celery, finely chopped

• 1 beef stock cube, crumbled

• 2tsp Worcestershire sauce

• 2tbsp tomato puree

• 1 tsp brown sugar

• 175g butternut squash, flesh only, cut into small cubes

• 500g Shortcrust pastry

• 1 egg, beaten


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan.

2. Put the beef in a bowl, sprinkle on the flour and season. Toss to coat.

3. Heat oil in a large casserole dish, cook the beef over a high heat until just browned then transfer to a bowl.

4. Add the onion and celery to the casserole dish and cook until soft. Transfer the meat back to casserole dish.

5. Stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Next add the beef stock and bring to the boil then cook in the oven for 1 hour 45mins.

6. Add the squash and cook for another 30mins, until the meat is tender. Leave to cool.

7. While the meat is cooking, flour a work surface and roll out the pastry thinly. Cut out 8x10cm rounds and 8 x 11.5cm rounds.

8. Cut jack-o- lantern faces in the smaller rounds. Put the rounds on a plate with a piece of baking paper between each one. Cover with cling foil and chill.

9. Turn up the heat to 200°C/180°Cfan.

10. Use the larger pastry rounds to line 8 Yorkshire pudding tins. Fill with beef mixture.

Brush the edges with egg. Put the pastry lids on top, brush with egg and bake for 20- 25mins.

Tom Kitchin's Halloween recipes: Mini pumpkin pies

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