Regional Pumpkin Guide: 25 Must-Try Dishes for Fall

By Zagat Staff  |  October 14, 2013

Fall is in full swing, and everyone's favorite seasonal ingredient is slowly but surely winding up in everything from ravioli to dessert on menus all over the country. Check out some choice pumpkin dishes from the Northeast and Midwest - the parts of the country where you'll find the autumnal gourd sprouting up everywhere.

  • Pumpkin Seed Spread and Pumpkin Flatbread at Edi & the Wolf, NYC

    The Austrians know their pumpkin oil, which chefs Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban expertly utilize in their signature spread and flatbread. The latter pays homage to the squash through a tantalizing topping of roasted pumpkins, smoked mozzarella, crème fraiche, cipollini onions, arugula and toasted pumpkin seeds. For a lighter snack, order the pumpernickel and walnut raisin bread topped with unbelievably creamy farmer’s cheese that's mixed with sweet and nutty pumpkinseed oil. Though this spread may have the flavor of fall nailed down, pumpkin oil is actually an Austrian staple, so you can try this dish all year round.

  • Pumpkin Stew at Haute Dish, Minneapolis, MN

    In case you can’t tell from the photo, this dish is all about pumpkin. Chef-owner Landon Schoenefeld's creatively presented stew has multiple layers of flavor that go beyond just squash. First, there’s the shrimp and coconut stock level, which give a nice umami depth. Next, you get a little heat from the Fresno chiles, ginger and fresh Thai herbs, plus a bright lime-acid and sweet push from the pumpkin and palm sugar. It’s a melody of warming fall flavors.

  • Everything's Coming Up Pumpkin at Francois Payard Bakery and Francois Payard Patisserie, NYC

    We couldn’t pick just one pumpkin dish from this beloved mini-chain - after all, they offer pumpkin spice financiers, pumpkin and carrot cake éclairs, pumpkin macarons and jack-o'-lantern chocolates filled with pumpkin ganache. If you're feeling really festive, there's also a six-person jack-o'-lantern cake.

  • Pumpkin Scones at Talula’s Daily, Philadelphia, PA

    Head to this fun, funky cafe for some festive and fresh pumpkin scones with cinnamon sugar glaze gracing the top. This fall-friendly creation comes from executive pastry chef Vita Shanley, who's also responsible for many of the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. Pair it with a strong cup of coffee or a hefty cup of tea to get into the soul-warming spirit of the season.

  • Pumpkin Gnocchi at East 12th Osteria, NYC

    For an Italian twist to this favorite fall ingredient, try chef Roberto Deiaco’s gnocchi with Gorgonzola, amaretto, sage and sweet onions. At this charming East Village restaurant, Deiaco roasts and purees the organic pumpkin before turning it into a sweet and fluffy gnocchi. This practice fits in with his dedication to making all the goods in-house with fresh ingredients, and on the first bite, you can really taste it.

  • Pumpkin Risotto at Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA

    In the Capiz Lounge in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, chef Richard Garcia offers guests a sweet and savory pumpkin risotto with fresh baby spinach. The dish gets mixed with wine, nutmeg, Parmesan and spicy white pepper, which help to give this rice dish a tasty kick. 

  • Pumpkin Pierogi at Braddock’s American Brasserie, Pittsburgh, PA

    Taking a Pittsburgh staple, chef Jason Shaffer utilizes the pierogi as a catalyst for duck confit, mascarpone cheese and the real fall cincher, pumpkin. “I decided to take my handmade pierogi to new heights this month to celebrate the rich, ever-changing colors of my favorite season, fall,” he says. “The hearty warmth and sweetness of the pumpkin really enhances the savory duck flavor, and the two ingredients play off of each other to create a perfectly balanced dish highlighted by an earthy richness that really celebrates the fall season.” The dish gets topped with Shaffer’s homemade cranberry walnut chutney, a combination that historically goes great with this squash.

  • Pumpkin Burger at EPIC, Chicago, IL

    Don't be fooled by the name - this is by no means a vegetarian burger. Prime beef is topped with a slice of fried pumpkin as well as caramelized apples and Swiss cheese. It's served with fries and a bottle of Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager for $15 through October 31.

  • Pumpkin Doughnut at CATCH, NYC

    At this hot spot in the West Village, pasty chef Thiago Silva fills the hole-y treat with sweet pumpkin custard and coats it with vanilla maple glaze. It's then topped with pepita streusel and bourbon meringue and served with a side of creamy, spiced ice cream. 

  • Pumpkin Month at Jones, Philadelphia, PA

    If you want pumpkin, throughout November at Stephen Starr’s Jones Restaurant in Philly, pastry chef Christine Paciello creates up to 10 pumpkin-themed desserts at a time. “It's hard to not identify pumpkin as the go-to fall ingredient when it matches perfectly with the changing leaves,” she says. Check out the menu online to find out what they will be serving, be it a delectable pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and bourbon caramel sauce or intoxicating pumpkin sangria.

  • Fall Salad at Picnic, NYC

    This East Village newcomer offers a taste of the season with its newly added fall salad, featuring baby red mustard greens, carrot tops, roasted sugar pumpkin, shaved root vegetable and pomegranate seeds, dressed with an apple cider and burnt maple vinaigrette. 

  • Pumpkin Soup at Atwood Café, Chicago, IL

    Chef Derek Simcik infuses a fall staple - pumpkin soup - with a kick of ancho chile-crème fraiche and tops it with pumpkin seeds. Follow it with pumpkin crème brûlée - the caramelized custard is served inside a mini pumpkin with a side of pumpkin molasses cookies.

  • Pork Shoulder Steak With Pumpkin Seed Gremolata at The Monarch, Chicago, IL

    Gremolata - the herbal accent on simple meat dishes - gets a fall twist with the addition of pumpkin seeds. It's served over sous vide pork shoulder along with acorn squash, pickled butternut squash and ciabatta bread.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Pumpkin Cheese Plate at Homestead, Chicago, IL

    A fine cheese goes well with crusty bread, coarse mustard, dry red wine and, apparently, pumpkin. Pastry chef Chris Teixeira serves ash-aged goat cheese with black cumin roasted pumpkin puree as well as maple candied pumpkin and pain d'epice toast.

  • Pumpkin Ravioli at Giovanni Rana Pastificio & Cucina, NYC

    What better way to enjoy seasonal pumpkin than inside tender, delicate ravioli? Chelsea Market Italian hot spot Giovanni Rana is taking advantage of these gorgeous gourds by creating these impossibly thin ravioli, topped with a creamy Parmigiano Reggiano sauce and crispy pumpkin seeds.

  • Pumpkin Empanadas at MC Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, ME

    Acclaimed chefs (and former Top Chef Masters competitors) Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrows and MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, ME, whip up their signature Pumpkin empanadas. The earthy flavors and creamy texture of pumpkin are captured in a buttery pastry pocket along with fresh-picked thyme, made with pumpkins from the Arrows garden.

  • Ash-Roasted Pumpkin at Metropole, Cincinnati, OH

    At Metropole, the acclaimed restaurant housed in the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, OH, executive chef Michael Paley showcases the local ingredients of the Ohio River Valley through a menu that focuses on an eight-ft.-wide, custom-built wood-burning fireplace. One unique highlight is the Ash-Roasted Pumpkin with arugula, toasted pine nuts, crouton and burrata. 

  • Pumpkin Donuts at TWO, Chicago, IL

    Chicago's TWO in West Town specializes in Midwestern-sourced ingredients, so naturally you're going to see some local pumpkin end up on their menu. To celebrate the season, the eatery is serving some fantastic freshly fried pumpkin donuts, covered in sugar and served with housemade cinnamon ice cream.

  • Pumpkin Pie and Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Shake at Hill Country Chicken, NYC

    It wouldn't be pumpkin season without a traditional pumpkin pie. At Hill Country Chicken, executive chef Elizabeth Karmel whips up her signature pumpkin pie with pumpkin-rich custard, a fresh, flaky crust and a dollop of bourbon whipped cream. Then Karmel takes the dessert to the next level with her acclaimed pie shake made with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream, flaky pie crust and the pumpkin filling.

  • Credit: Nick Murway

    Pumpkin Roulade at Café des Architectes, Chicago, IL

    A convenience store classic gets a makeover in the hands of chef Leigh Omilinsky. Her roulade is made with pumpkin cremeux and plated with huckleberry gastrique, pumpkin seed granola, maple syrup-poached squash and smoked maple syrup ice cream.

  • Pumpkin Pie in a Jar at The Smith, NYC

    The classic pumpkin pie gets updated at NYC comfort-food destination The Smith, with their Pumpkin Pie in a Jar ($8). Imagine warm pumpkin cheesecake layered atop graham cracker crumbs topped with cranberry gelee, pecan brittle and sweet sugared cranberries, all served in an individually sized mason jar.

  • Pumpkin and Coconut Soup at Sepia, Chicago, IL

    Chef Andrew Zimmerman offers an update on the classic butternut squash soup by using pumpkin as the main ingredient. His pumpkin and coconut soup combines the creamy and rich flavor of the pumpkin with Thai spices for a unique fall starter. But the pumpkin love doesn't stop there - he also plans to offer a decadent pumpkin butter to go along with the recipe’s cheese plate, and pumpkin and goat cheese croquettes.

  • Panza de Cerdo at Toro, Boston, MA

    Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette give a nod to seasonal pumpkin with their Panza de Cerdo: crispy pork belly with roasted pumpkin, crispy Brussels sprouts, chantenay carrots and kimchi vegetables. The roasted pumpkin takes center stage alongside the rich pork belly, its smooth texture complemented by the crispy sprouts and crunch of kimchi vegetables.

  • Roasted Pumpkin Soup at Lockwood, Chicago, IL

    Chef Joseph Rose at Lockwood is serving a roasted pumpkin soup with spiced cream and ginger snaps. It’s a perfect fall appetizer, wonderfully warming and full of autumn flavor.

  • Roasted Cauliflower With Pepitas at Distilled, NYC

    At the recently opened Distilled in NYC's TriBeCa neighborhood, chef Shane Lyons is reinterpreting classic American pub fare with global flavors and modern techniques. For fall, he's explored the local markets and is offering a variety of dishes featuring a seasonal favorite: the pumpkin. While cauliflower takes the spotlight in Shane's Roasted Cauliflower dish, the pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, provide needed crunch alongside the softened cauliflower. The dish is elevated with shiro miso and basil.