Turn your autumn decoration into dinner.

on Dec 12, 2011 - The Dish0

Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef
And you thought pumpkins were just for fall. "Pumpkins, or winter squash as many people call it, has many more uses beyond a traditional jack-o-lantern or filling for pumpkin pie," Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi blogs. "Aside from a delicious, mellow flavor, pumpkin provides really significant levels of potassium, vitamin A and beta-carotene making it a healthful, wintery addition to hearty meals and more."

From appetizers to desserts, Padma's sharing a plethora of pumpkin-infused ideas. "While a pumpkin puree most definitely lends itself to dessert very well, it's also great as an appetizer and main course," she writes. Speaking of, the global foodie says, "It's very common to see pumpkin ravioli in Italian cooking or a pumpkin tempura or sushi with 'kabocha' which is the Japanese variety. In parts of India, you see pumpkin in vegetarian stews or chowders called sambar that is made with pigeon peas and tamarind." Tummy growling yet?

Give a Padma-approved platter a try for yourself. "Here's a simple idea for a savory pumpkin appetizer to add to your table while you entertain during the holiday and through the winter months," Krishna's mom writes. "Puree some pumpkin with cayenne and maple syrup. Spread it on a slice of crusty baguette with creamy goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pomegranate and chives or dill."

What else is tempting Padma's taste buds? Keep up with her culinary quests using our Tweet Tracker.

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