How to make roasted pumpkin so much more fabulous with very little effort? A dash of maple syrup for extra caramelisation. Kick of fresh chilli. Plus a sprinkle of feta and shower of walnuts! Serve as a side, a meal, pile on toast or crostini. It’s delicious any which way!
Maple roasted pumpkin with feta and chilli
Something magical happens to pumpkin when you roast it. It intensifies the sweetness and caramelises beautifully.
I’d happily eat it plain. But here, we step it up a notch with a few simple additions that work so well with pumpkin. A dash of maple syrup for extra caramelisation. Plus a hit of fresh chilli, soft nutty crunchy of walnuts and creamy pops of salty feta…..you know this is going to be good!
That’s dinner, right there. Or a mighty delicious side.
Ingredient you need
Here’s what you need to make this.
The roasting stuff
Pumpkin – Any eating pumpkin. I typically use Kent or Jap which are common varieties here in Australia. Do not use pumpkin intended for Halloween carving, it’s not very pleasant to eat.
Alternatives – Butternut pumpkin (called butternut squash in the States) or sweet potato!
Maple syrup – or honey.
Dried chilli flakes – also called red pepper flakes. I use the regular type you get from ordinary grocery stores but you could absolutely use Asian or other types of chilli flakes. Just be mindful of spiciness!
Red onion – substitute regular onion, eschalots (US: shallots) or the white part of green onions (I often have bunches in the fridge with the green parts unceremoniously hacked off for garnish purposes so am always looking for uses of the white part).
Walnuts – Or other nuts of choice. Almonds and pecans come to mind first. Pinenuts, pepitas and other small nuts/seeds would also work but I’d toss them in partway through cooking so they don’t burn into tiny little black (bitter) pellets.
Chilli – This is optional because it’s more for visual than spiciness, because we get enough spiciness from the dried chilli flakes. Large chillis, like the cayenne pepper pictured, aren’t very spicy. Good life rule to remember: the larger the chilli, the less spicy it is!
Danish feta – This is the feta type that is a bit more creamy than Greek feta. Greek feta also works, though I do like the way Danish feta sort of smears as it semi-melts on contact with the hot pumpkin.
If you are making to really impress, go premium by using goats cheese!
Parsley – For pretty green finish.
How to make Maple Roasted Pumpkin with Chilli and Feta
This is a recipe that’s more about the finishes. The pumpkin is roasted with onion and walnuts, all tossed with maple syrup. Then once cooked, sprinkle with feta, red chilli and parsley. Then get stuck in!
Cut the pumpkin in 2.5cm / 1″ cubes. To do this I cut into 2.5cm / 1″ slices first. Using a rocking motion as you slice down helps make this easy.
Cut the skin off.
Then cut into cubes.
Pile onto a large paper lined tray with the onion slices and walnuts. Toss with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and chilli flakes then spread it out. The more space between the pumpkin, the better. If the pumpkin is too cluttered, it will stew and go mushy instead of caramelising.
Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once at the 20 minute mark, until the pumpkin is light golden and cooked through. You won’t get intense golden colour on the surface, not like plain roast pumpkin cubes (such as in this recipe), because the maple syrup will burn on the edges of the cubes before the surface goes completely golden.
Also, the onion will get quite dark brown. If you notice at the tossing point that it’s getting a little too brown, just push/pile them all together or bury under pumpkin. This will protect them!
Finishing – Give the pumpkin a gently toss to coat it in all the tasty tray juices. Then transfer to a serving platter – single layer is nice for even sprinkling coverage and neat presentation. Sprinkle with fresh chilli, feta and parsley, then serve!
Or – jumble and pile
I know I said a single layer presentation looks nice and neat. But actually, for maximum flavour-melding-more-rustic presentation (aka Nagi style), do most of the sprinkling on the tray, reserving some for garnish. Then transfer into a serving bowl. Flavour jumbling will occur during transfer and piling.
Finish with reserved feta etc to pretty it up.
Whichever way you go, single layer neatness or jumbled piled up rustic-ness, it still rates the same on the deliciousness scale. Which is, in case you hadn’t guessed, very, very high.
Tell me if you serve this as a side or inhale it as a meal! – Nagi x
PS In case you didn’t know I have a whole category of pumpkin side dishes as part of the vegetable and salad side dishes corner of this website! Mostly relatively low effort, like this one, with a scattering of show-offs for special occasions.
Watch how to make it
Maple Roasted Pumpkin with Chili and Feta
- 2 lb / 1 kg pumpkin , peeled, cut into 2.5cm / 1" cubes (whole, unpeeled weight – Note 1)
- 1 red onion , peeled, halved, then cut into 1cm / 0.4" wedges
- 1/2 cup walnuts , roughly chopped (Note 2)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey (sub brown sugar Note 3),
- 3/4 tsp cooking salt / kosher salt
- 1 – 1 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes , adjust to taste (Note 4)
- 3/4 cup Danish feta (or Greek feta, or upgrade to goats cheese)
- 1 large red chilli (cayenne pepper), deseeded, finely minced
- 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan-forced).
- Toss – Place the pumpkin, onion and walnuts on a large, paper lined tray. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, then toss to coat (hands really is best). Sprinkle with chilli and salt, toss again, then spread out on a tray. Don't crowd them else they will stew instead of roast!
- Roast for 30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is lightly browned and cooked through, tossing once at the 20 minute mark.
- Finishes – Remove from the oven. Gently toss again, then transfer to a serving platter in a single layer. Crumble over feta, sprinkle with parsley and chilli. Or do the sprinkling on the tray then pile into a bowl. Serve immediately!
Recipe update: This is an old recipe from 2015 that was in desperate need of spruced up photos, a recipe video tutorial and most importantly, recipe improvements! The same recipe, just tweaked to fix. 🙂
More delicious things to make with pumpkin
Life of Dozer
Don’t miss Dozer in today’s recipe video!! Did he get to taste test….??