Judith Hausman
December 18, 2013


Photo by Judith Hausman

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Middle Eastern meets American in this holiday twist.

Inspiration twice over: long, deep-orange pie pumpkins from my CSA and the gift of a Middle Eastern cookbook. The result was pumpkin hummus, a novel hit at Thanksgiving. While any winter squash, especially butternut, would serve, these pie pumpkins are especially nonfibrous and puree very smoothly. This time, I baked the halved and seeded pumpkin for about an hour and scooped out the soft flesh into a food processor. However, simmering peeled chunks will work fine (drain well before pureeing), as does seeding and microwaving the quartered pumpkin at a baked-potato setting. A can of pumpkin puree is perfectly OK, too; just don’t use the preseasoned pie filling. 

The puree replaces the chickpeas in the hummus and is mellowed by a little thick Greek yogurt. The other principle ingredient, tahini (sesame paste), enriches the spread, and a drizzle of thick balsamic syrup (or balsamic vinegar that has been reduced and then cooled), date or even maple syrup gives it a sweet accent, as well as a presentation with flair. 

Serve the spread with pita bread, pita chips or lavash crackers. Or stack up an amazing sandwich of avocado, radishes and the pumpkin hummus: green, red and orange.


  • 2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • for garnish: balsamic syrup, maple syrup or date syrup, black and white sesame seeds, minced cilantro (optional)


In a food processor, puree the garlic and olive oil. Add the pumpkin and the tahini; process until very smooth. Season, to taste. Plate, drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with sesame seeds or cilantro.


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