The Oxford Pumpkin Festival is a celebration of  food: creatively encouraging people to think about the food they throw away, challenging preconceptions and teaching new skills. The Festival programme is here.

Every year, 2/3 of people throw out their pumpkin instead of eating it! Read on for yummy recipes and tips to help you squash your food waste.


As part of the Oxford Pumpkin Festival, some fantastic chefs have contributed recipe inspiration for what to do with pumpkin and squash at this time of the year. No need for pumpkin waste with these on hand. Here’s a selection!

Cheazy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

1 large onion / 1-2 cloves of garlic / 1 small pumpkin or squash / Peashoots or other greens
2 tbsp oil / 3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste) / Salt and pepper / Nutritional yeast flakes

Chop the pumpkin into cubes of around 1 cm. Note: many pumpkins and squashes – such as butternut squash – don’t need to be peeled.

Chop the onions finely and either chop or mash the garlic. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat till they start browning lightly. Add garlic and keep stirring. Add the pumpkin cubes, cover with a lid and stir occasionally.

When the pumpkin is soft to the bite, mash it coarsely with a potato masher, leaving some chunky bits in it. Add tahini and water as needed to make a creamy texture. Season with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.

Serve with pasta, rice or potato and top with home-grown peashoots or fresh other greens and toasted pumpkin seeds.

This recipe was composed with the Good Food Oxford Cooking Toolkit, a guide for creative cooking without recipes. We encourage you to substitute ingredients as you please.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

carved pumpkins and soup bowl with spoons

Picture by The White Hart, Fyfield

Pumpkin soup:
1 large pumpkins (skinned and de seeded) / 3 cloves garlic, smashed / 1 onion, diced / Thyme / Ground nutmeg / Cinnamon stick / Star anise / Chilli / 1 tsp tomato purée / 75ml vegetable oil 

Pumpkin stock:
Pumpkin skin and seeds, roughly chopped / 1 clove garlic / 1 onion / Bay leaf / Cinnamon stick / Star anise / Water to cover

Crème fraiche & pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin stock: Put all the ingredients into a pan, cover with water. Bring to the boil, turn down and allow to simmer on a low heat for 2 hours. Strain and reserve the stock.
Pumpkin soup: Chop the pumpkin flesh into 2 inch cubes. Place in a large roasting tray with the onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, star anise, chilli, nutmeg and tomato purée. Lightly drizzle in vegetable oil and roast at 180°c for approximately 1 hour, until caramelised.
Place the stock and roasted spiced pumpkin in a pan and place on a medium heat. Allow the stock to reduce by one quarter. Remove the star anise and cinnamon pieces and blitz in a food processor. Season with salt as needed.
To serve: Garnish with crème fraiche and roasted pumpkin seeds and enjoy your efforts!

Recipe provided by The White Hart, Fyfield

Chloe’s Pumpkin and Carrot Fritters

IMG_0146Enough for 4 as a starter, or great as a side with a curry

500g pumpkin or squash / 2 carrots (approx. 300g) / Maldon salt to taste / 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped / A thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated / 2 lemons (zest and juice) / Small bunch of coriander / ½ tsp cayenne / 2tsp fennel seeds / 50g plain flour / 1 egg / Rapeseed/vegetable oil for frying

Grate the carrots and pumpkin, coat with the salt and leave in a sieve standing over a bowl for 30 minutes.

Whilst you wait put all the other ingredients in a bowl, except the egg and flour

Take a clean tea towel and pop a handful of the carrot and pumpkin mixture in the middle. Roll the tea towel around the mix and twist at both ends to squeeze the moisture from the vegetables – like two ends of a sweet wrapper. Mix the squeezed vegetables in the bowl with the other ingredients. Repeat until all the carrot and pumpkin mix has been squeezed.

Add the flour and egg to the veg mix and put a frying pan on the hob with about ½ cm of vegetable or rapeseed oil. Allow the oil to get hot and shape the fritter mix into golf ball-sized balls. Pop in the oil and allow to brown on one side and turn – try not to turn until the mixture is browned, or you might risk the fritter falling apart. Once the fritters are browned and have firmed up a little transfer them to some kitchen roll, or place on another clean tea towel in order for the residual fat to drain away. Can be reheated in the oven and served hot, or they’re just as nice cold.

You can make a cooling yogurt dip to go with these by mixing 150ml plain yogurt with some deseeded grated, or chopped cucumber and a handful of mint leaves.

Recipe provided by Chloe Horner, What Chloe Cooked Next

Carina’s pumpkin and pear soup, with onion scones


50g unsalted butter / 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil / 400g onions, coarsely chopped / 1kg pumpkin flesh, cut into pieces / Salt
1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot / 50g pumpkin seeds / 2 firm pears / Freshly ground black pepper / 100g mature Cheddar (such as Isle of Mull Cheddar or similar mature cheddar) grated, to serve

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat then add the onions and fry gently until translucent. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin, stir well, then season with salt and add the hot stock. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. Meanwhile, put the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray in an oven at 180oC/350oF/Gas 4. Turn the seeds occasionally, until toasted. Set aside. Peel the pears and chop coarsely, then add to the soup and heat through. If the pears are ripe, they won’t need to be cooked but if they are hard, simmer for 5 minutes to soften them. Transfer the soup to a blender or use a hand-held stick blender to blend until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with plenty of cheese and the toasted pumpkin seeds to add a little crunch. Serves 4.

Recipe provided by Carina Contini, Sustainable Restaurant Association member (www.thesra.org)

Leon’s pumpkin, leeks and sage

500g pumpkin flesh, peeled / 2 tbsp olive oil / salt and black pepper / 1 red onion, sliced / 5 fresh sage leaves, shredded / 4 leeks, sliced across finely / 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar / slivers of vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, to serve (optional).

Preheat the grill or a griddle pan. Slice the pumpkin finely, then put into a bowl and toss with half the olive oil. Season well, then grill for a few mins on each side.

While the pumpkin is grilling, heat the rest of the oil in a large pan. Cook the onion with the sage leaves for 5 mins over a medium heat. Season, then add the leeks and cook for a further 5 mins, stirring well. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and remove from the heat.

Arrange the pumpkin slices in a large serving dish and top with the onion and leeks. You can also add some Parmesan slivers, if you like. Serves 4.

Recipe provided by Leon 

Rubies’ pumpkin chutney

750g 1cm diced pumpkin / 500g sugar / 400ml cider vinegar / 1 large onion, chopped / 2 tsp dried chilli flakes / 1 tsp paprika / 80g fresh ginger / 1 tsp cinnamon powder / 150g sultanas / 400g apple, peeled and 1cm diced / 1 tbsp oil / handful of pumpkin seeds (optional)

Put the oil in a pan with the chilli flakes, cinnamon, fresh ginger (and pumpkin seeds if adding). Heat through being careful the spices don’t burn.

Add the chopped onion and cook through for 5 mins, then add the vinegar, sultanas and sugar. Stir until boiling and the sugar dissolves. Add the pumpkin and apple and cook until the chutney is thick and the pumpkin is cooked through (this could take 2 hours).

Taste and vary spices according to your liking, then jar in to dry, clean jars and start decorating your label! Happy Pumpkin preserving!

Recipe provided by Rubies in the Rubble

Tom’s pumpkin, ricotta and ginger tarts


10616508_10152386303191689_1505018598919948798_n 200g of rough dice pumpkin / 25g of shallots / knob of butter / 150ml of double cream / 10g of ginger, grated / 1 pinch of salt / 3 pinches of pepper / 125g plain flour / 1 pinch of salt / 55g butter, cubed / 2-3 tbsp cold water / 100g of 2cm dice pumpkin / 15mls of olive oil / 2 sprigs of picked thyme / 1 pinch of salt / 3 pinches of pepper / 100g ricotta cheese / 50g crème fraiche / 50ml whole milk / 50ml double cream / 2 eggs

To make the puree peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut into a rough dice. Sweat off the shallots in the butter, then add the squash and ginger and gently cook for approximately 5 minutes in an oiled pan. Add 150ml cream and cook until the pumpkin is tender, then strain off the cream and blend the squash to a puree. Add back some of the strained cream if needed to give it a smooth consistency.

To make the Pastry put the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the cubes of butter. Rub the butter into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in just enough cold water to bind the dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 10-15 mins.

Pumpkin and Ricotta: Peel and dice the pumpkin, place in a large bowl, dress with olive oil, thyme and seasoning, place on a large tray and cover with foil. Cook at 160°C until tender. Crumble the ricotta and leave to one side until ready to assemble.

Main filling: Whisk the crème fraiche, whole milk, double cream and 2 eggs together in a large bowl.

To assemble: Line 4 individual tart tins with the pastry, then pour 1tbsp of puree in each tin and spread it around the pastry bottom using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the pumpkin and ricotta over the top of the puree, then pour in the filling. Add the final small spoonful’s of the pumpkin puree on top and garnish with the thyme. Bake the tarts in the oven at 160°C for 15 minutes.

Recipe provided by Tom’s Kitchen

Gluten Free Pumpkin and Raspberry Brownies

Makes 10-12 brownies

IMG_0142400g pumpkin/squash (peeled weight) / 200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) / 200g salted butter / 4 eggs / 250g caster sugar / 75g cocoa / 100g ground almonds / 2 tsp gluten free baking powder / Small pack of white chocolate buttons / 200g raspberries (or another fruit that goes well with chocolate – banana’s and pitted cherries work well)

Line a 20x30cm roasting tray (or similar) with baking parchment.

Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Roughly cube the flesh, put in a roasting tin with a couple of tablespoons of water, cover with foil and cook at 150°C for 30 minutes, or until soft.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass or metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t come into contact with the bottom of the bowl – this might cause the chocolate to seise).

Blitz the pumpkin in a food processor (if you don’t have one mash with a potato masher), add the eggs and sugar and mix well.

Put the cocoa, almonds and baking powder in a separate bowl.

Mix the pumpkin mixture with the cocoa mixture and add the melted chocolate and butter.

Put in the tray and top with the buttons and fruit. Cook in the oven at 170°C for 30 minutes, or until firm. Because these brownies are gluten free they do need to be cooked reasonably thoroughly, otherwise they can fall apart.

Recipe provided by Chloe Horner, What Chloe Cooked Next

Pumpkin Ketchup

5 cups pumpkin cut into 1/2-inch (1-cm) cubes / Pinch of salt to taste / 2 cups (1.25 litres) chopped onion / 1 red bell pepper, diced / ¼ tablespoon / turmeric / ¼ teaspoon allspice / 1 cup white vinegar / 1 cup sugar / ¼ cup water

In a heavy saucepan, combine the diced pumpkin and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Pour into hot sterilized jars. Sterilize the ketchup-filled jars in boiling water for 15 minutes to ensure long storage at room temperature. You can also freeze the ketchup, without sterilization.

Yields about 3 cups.

Recipe provided by Angel Bayley.

More recipes from Oxford Brookes University, from Daily Info and on the Hubbub website as well as in their recipe booklet:  

Recipe booklet cover

Got your own pumpkin and squash recipes? Let us know!



1. Learn to make the most of your food and save up to £700 a year with tips from lovefoodhatewaste.com

2. Volunteer with Replenish, an Oxfordshire-wide network of composting and food waste advisors – get free training and share your skills with others.

3. Buy seasonal and local to reduce supply chain waste.

4. Volunteer with one of the fantastic Oxfordshire groups helping to redistribute food surplus and support people in food poverty. Visit goodfoodoxford.org/get-involved/volunteer to learn more.

5. Learn skills like preserving and foraging with Abundance Oxford.

6. Download OLIO, a free app that connects people so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away: olioex.com

7. If you really can’t eat it, compost or recycle in your green food caddy which will get collected by the council weekly.