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Three Recipes Using the Entire Pumpkin Plant in Your Kitchen

Cooking the pumpkin stem, leaves, flesh, and pumpkin seeds. Embrace the amazing versatility of the entire pumpkin.

Ugu Soup
Ugu Soup

When it comes to the pumpkin, most people think of its vibrant orange flesh and the tasty recipes it can create. However, many overlook the incredible versatility and potential of the entire pumpkin plant.  

From its robust stem to its nutritious seeds, every part of the pumpkin can be utilized in the kitchen, reducing waste and unlocking a world of culinary possibilities. Discover ways to fully utilize the pumpkin plant and indulge in some delicious recipes while you're at it.

From Stem to Seed Embracing the Whole Pumpkin Plant in Your Kitchen

Cooking the Pumpkin Stem and Leaves

Don't discard the pumpkin stem and leaves! They can be transformed into delicious and nutritious additions to your meals. The tender pumpkin leaves, known as Ugu in Nigerian cuisine, can be used in soups, stews, or stir-fried dishes. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, adding a vibrant touch to your culinary creations. On the other hand, the pumpkin stem can be sliced, steamed, or sautéed to create a unique and tender vegetable side dish.

Whole Pumpkin Plant

Recipe for Ugu Soup with Pumpkin Leaves


5 handfuls chopped pumpkin leaves 

3 cups spinach

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

4 cups vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste


Wash and chop the pumpkin leaves and spinach. In a pot, sauté the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger until fragrant. Pour in the stock or broth and bring to a simmer. Add the chopped pumpkin leaves and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5 minutes.

Cooking the Pumpkin Flesh

While pumpkin flesh is commonly used in pies and soups, there are countless other ways to incorporate this nutritious ingredient into your cooking. Roasting pumpkin slices with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite spices can result in a delicious side dish. Pureeing the cooked pumpkin flesh can create a smooth and creamy base for sauces, dips, or even pumpkin butter.

Recipe for Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Wedges


Pumpkin flesh cut into wedges

Olive oil

Salt, pepper, and your favorite spices, such as cinnamon, paprika, or cumin


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the pumpkin wedges on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and your chosen spices. Toss the wedges to evenly coat them. Roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Serve as a delightful side dish or snack.

Pumpkin Seeds

Using the Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a treasure trove of nutrition and can be used in various ways. They can be roasted and seasoned as a standalone snack, sprinkled over salads for added texture and flavor, or used as a crunchy topping for soups and baked goods. You can also grind them into a fine powder and incorporate them into homemade granola bars, energy balls, or as a coating for chicken or fish.

Recipe for Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Pumpkin seeds cleaned and dried

Olive oil or melted butter

Salt, spices, or seasonings of your choice, such as chili powder, garlic powder, or cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Toss the cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds with olive oil or melted butter. Add salt, spices, or seasonings according to your taste preferences. Spread the seasoned pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Let them cool before enjoying this nutritious and addictive snack.

a pumpkin

The next time you bring home a pumpkin, consider embracing the whole plant and utilizing its various parts in your culinary adventures. Each component of the pumpkin plant, the pumpkin stem, leaves, flesh, and pumpkin seeds, offers unique flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits.

By incorporating these three recipes into your repertoire, you can enjoy the full potential of the pumpkin and minimize waste in your kitchen. So, get creative, experiment with these recipes, and unlock the delicious possibilities of the entire pumpkin plant.

Explore the remarkable adaptability of the entire pumpkin plant by cooking its stem, leaves, flesh, and seeds.


Wise African Proverb

Wise African Proverb

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