Roasted Pumpkin and Za'atar Humus

It's officially pumpkin season! And while pumpkin baked goodies are tasty and fun, I thought we could celebrate with something a little less traditional. This pumpkin humus stuffed inside a whole roasted pie pumpkin is just the thing to cure your pumpkin spice burn-out!


This would be such a fun appetizer at a Halloween party or for any fall game day festivities. It could even work as a Thanksgiving appetizer, and would make perfect sense if you're planning to conclude the meal with pumpkin pie.

The humus itself is loosely middle-eastern inspired and gets its complex flavor from tahini and za'atar. Blending in some roasted pumpkin adds a very subtle sweetness, and works so nicely with the robust za'atar. It's rich, creamy, packed with flavor, and delightful with veggies, pita chips, or fresh pita.


Presenting the humus in the pumpkin isn't just for show (although it's really cute, right??). Roasting the pumpkin to perfection means that your guests can scoop out sweet, juicy pumpkin along with their humus. The roasting will soften the pumpkin enough so that it's easily scoopable with a chip, but you could also include a spoon. This way, every dip is sort of like a miniature adventure; sweet roasty pumpkin, zesty creamy humus, or a combination??

Of course, if you're pressed for time, you can skip the whole roasted pumpkin and just make the humus with canned pumpkin. You'll still get the awesome, fall-appropriate dip, just not the serving vessel. There are notes below about how to adapt if you'd rather go this route.


I'm already getting excited about trying this idea with a couple different squashes for later in the fall. Humus in a kabocha squash? Humus in an acorn squash? Or maybe salsa in a squash?? Clearly, I'm having way too much fun thinking about game day food.

I hope this fun, interactive appetizer will bring some joy to your fall festivities. Happy pumpkin season and happy Halloween!


Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Loving the idea of this complexly-flavored humus? Then check out this Roasted Lemon, Goat Cheese, and Za'atar Humus for spring!

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • Pie pumpkin. Important: a pie pumpkin is very different than a carving pumpkin! Pie pumpkins are small, sweet, and good for eating. Don't try to use a carving pumpkin in its place, they're stringy and taste like nothing.
  • Few tbsp good, robust olive oil, divided
  • Generous salt and pepper for roasting
  • 1-2 tsp cumin powder also for roasting
  • 15-oz can of chick peas
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp za'atar. This is a middle-eastern spice blend. Most artisan grocery stores will have it either with the spices or with the international food. It's lovely, I promise you'll use it for much more than just this humus! But if you can't find it, I'd use some dried thyme leaves, cumin, and sesame seeds in its place.
  • 0.5 tsp sea salt
Garnishes
  • Additional swirl of pumpkin puree
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of za'atar
  • Sprinkle of sumac. This is another middle-eastern spice I've recently fallen in love with. It's really beautiful (deep red!) and has a lovely bright, acidic flavor.
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small handful of toasted pine nuts

Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Cut the pie pumpkin in half along its equator and scoop out the seeds. Leave the bottom part whole for holding the humus; cut the top half into slices.
  3. Sprinkle the cut up pieces of pumpkin (i.e. the slices that will be pureed into the humus) generously with salt, pepper, and cumin, and drizzle them with a bit of oil to facilitate browning. Do the same for the pumpkin half, rubbing the inside surface with oil and spices.
  4. Roast the pumpkin at 425 on an oiled sheet tray, with the bottom half flipped upside-down, until tender and browned. The smaller pieces will only take 20-25 minutes, so keep an eye on them. The half will take 30-40 minutes. IMPORTANT: Be careful not to overcook the bottom half of the pumpkin, otherwise it will collapse and won't hold the humus. You want it to be tender throughout, but not soft.
  5. After the pumpkin has cooled, cut the skin off the slices.
  6. To a food processor, combine all the humus ingredients (the roasted pumpkin slices with skin removed, chick peas, a few tbsp of olive oil, tahini, za'atar, and sea salt). Process for several minutes until a smooth, creamy consistency develops, scraping down the sides as needed. If you have trouble getting a smooth humus, add a little splash of water or more oil.
  7. Taste it! If you think it needs more zing, add more za'atar and/or cumin and/or black pepper. If you think it needs more richness, add a dash more oil or tahini. Adjust and continue processing as you see fit.
  8. Put your humus in the bottom half of the pumpkin, as shown in the photos above. Only do this once the pumpkin has cooled completely!
  9. Garnish it however makes you happy. In the photos above, I swirled a bit more pumpkin puree into the top of the humus, then drizzled on olive oil, then added za'atar, sumac, and pine nuts. 
Adaptation
If you don't want to use a whole pumpkin, this recipe will still work fine! Skip all the roasting steps above, and instead add about one cup of canned pumpkin puree to your humus. That means you'll be using 1 c pumpkin, a few tbsp of olive oil, a can of chick peas, a few tbsp of tahini, 1 tbsp za'atar, and salt. Easy! I usually find that canned pumpkin is sweeter than anything I ever roast myself, so if you're worried about the humus being too pumpkin-y, start small and add incrementally.

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