Baked Pumpkin Fries
Note on this recipe from Megan:
These fries are my new favorite thing! They’re a great side dish or shared appetizer, and put a healthy new twist on regular fries. When I first made this recipe, I made the fries with Thyme, but this time all I had in the fridge was sage which was the perfect substitute. It gives the fries an earthy roasted flavor, perfect for the cold winter months.
Pumpkin is a great substitute for traditional white potatoes, because it contains a high amount of carotenoids which have been proven to reduce the risk of certain diseases, particularly cancer and eye disease. Pumpkin (along with other winter squash, sweet potatoes and carrots) also contains Vitamins A (vision support) + C (boosts your immune system), potassium and magnesium.
If you don’t have pumpkin, you can easily substitute butternut squash or sweet potatoes in this recipe. There may be a slight textural difference, but all have very similar flavor profiles. The most important thing to note about this recipe is that even though we’re baking the fries in the oven, we are baking them at a very high temperature. Unrefined oils are packed with vitamins and minerals, but we want to avoid using them at all costs in an oven with heat this high because they typically have low smoke points. If you heat an oil past it’s smoke point the fats start to break down and release free radicals. Free radicals can do serious damage on a cellular level, so definitely opt for oils with a smoke point above 425 degrees. If you don’t know them off the top of your head, you can easily do a google search to find out more info.
I ate my fries with a quick lemon-tahini dip (literally tahini, lemon, water and garlic blended) but I imagine these would also pair well with ketchup, cashew cheese or hummus.
1 small baking pumpkin
15 sage leaves and 2 full sage stems
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup refined olive oil (or other oil with high smoke point)
Instructions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and place a baking tray on the bottom rack.
Slice off the top of your pumpkin, cut in half and de-seed inside by scraping with a large spoon. Using a potato peeler, remove the fibrous outer layer of skin. Cutting one half at a time, place pumpkin inside-down (use photo above as an example) and cut into strips roughly 1/2 an inch thick. Most strips can then be cut in half again to make 2 fries, with a little trimming here and there. Not all pumpkins are the same size, so use your judgement.
Place fries in a large bowl. Roughly chop 15 sage leaves and add to bowl, along with 2 full sage stems with leaves on. Next add salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss to coat.
Transfer to hot baking tray and transfer to oven.
Cook for 35-40 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes or so.
Once browned and crispy, remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce of choice.