Pumpkin can’t seem to get away from the use of sugar and cinnamon-y pumpkin pie spices that relegate it to the sweets table. This Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding– with things like onions and herbs– opens a whole new world of pumpkin possibilities.
Here, the dusky earthiness of pumpkin is the perfect match to lots of herbs, mushrooms, and two cheeses in the recipe. Think of it like a cheesy stuffing baked outside the bird, or like a strata.
Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding Brings People Together
The people who gather at my table represent a wide range of dietary needs and preferences and, if you live in America in 2021, this is likely the case for you, too. This bread pudding is easily modified to meet the challenges of nourishing a dietarily diverse crowd. And the challenges of the cook organizing meals for them!
Having dishes on the table that respect everyone’s needs can be a challenge that you likely know all too well. Above all, it is important to me that there be food that all my beloveds can share. I want no one to feel left out when the oohs and ahhs start happening!
This Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding serves as a hearty main course for non-meat-eaters, and a tasty side dish for meat-eaters. Tailor it to your crowd by trading plant milk for dairy milk, and non-dairy cheese for the Parmesan and Fontina. Gluten-free bread is an easy swap that everyone will enjoy. However, egg substitutes have not been tested in this recipe.
Making the Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Firstly, start with an artisan-style bread with lots of bubbles and holes in the crumb that create cozy spaces for the eggy pumpkin custard to rest. Day-old bread is even better, because it will soak up the custard best and bake up with a more firm sliceable texture.
After that, making pumpkin puree from scratch is really easy in an Instant Pot. Try making a batch or two to freeze and have on hand for all your pumpkin cooking and baking. The convenience of canned pumpkin is great, but there is a quality trade-off.
Click here for link to a Facebook Live video of me explaining the easy process of making pumpkin puree from scratch.
The make-ahead nature of Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding makes it a great addition to your Thanksgiving table, or any time. Assemble the bread pudding the day before you need it, then baked it off on serving day. I hope you enjoy having pumpin in this savory way!
Other Savory Pumpkin Recipes:
Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- 2 cups pumpkin puree, made from scratch or canned See link for video tutorial on making your own in the Instant Pot.
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups milk or your favorite non-dairy milk
- 2 cups finely grated parmesan, divided (about 6 ounces) for dairy-free option, replace this with 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
- 1 pound artisan-style bread (the holes and bubbles capture the custard nicely, and stale bread is best) baguette, boule, pugliese, etc.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (for dairy-free version) or butter
- 2 medium onions, in about ⅜" dice
- 2 cups celery stalk and leaves, sliced about ⅜" thick
- 1 pound mushrooms, slices about ⅜" thick
- 4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 small bunch lacinato kale, sliced about ⅜" thick, and roughly chopped through
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves removed from their stems or 1 teaspoon ground dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, very finely minced or 1/2 teaspoon ground dried sage
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, diced into about ⅜" cubes for dairy-free version, omit or replace with a firm dairy-free melting cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Oil a deep 9" x 13" baking dish or casserole. Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Wash and dice the onion, celery, mushrooms, kale, and herbs. Dice the fontina and finely grate the Parmesan. Set aside.
- Make a custard by first whisking the pumpkin puree and eggs together, then slowing whisking in the milk to combine. Add in about ¾ cup of the Parmesan, the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add half the olive oil or butter. Add the onions and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent and soft without browning, about 5-7 minutes. While the onions are softening, in your largest mixing bowl, use your fingers to tear the bread into bite-sized chunks. Remove the crust only if it is especially thick and tough, otherwise include it. Lightly salt the bread and toss it.
- When the onions and celery are tender, add them to the bread. Heat the rest of the olive oil or butter in the skillet and sauté the mushrooms until they have released some of their moisture and are beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic, kale and ½ teaspoon or so of salt and a generous amount of pepper and sauté another 2-3 minutes until the kale has softened a little and the mushrooms are well-browned. Add them to the bread and onion mixture in the large bowl. Add the diced fontina if using, and give the ingredients in the bowl a good toss.
- Pour the reserved pumpkin custard mixture over the bread and vegetables and gently stir with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides and bringing the ingredients up from the bottom to evenly coat them with the custard mixture. Tip it out into the prepared baking pan.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top, and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before serving. The pieces cut nicely into squares like lasagne, or can be spooned out with a large spoon.