Pumpkin chips with cashew cream aioli

I walked a trail in my neighborhood yesterday and at one point – after I’d thrown off some of the bad-parenting-day funk from the day before – I dropped my shoulders. The air and morning walk were doing me good.

In my not-hiking shoes I stepped up a few feet to an area with a bench. One green plant was dotted with solid yellow leaves. So different from the maples in our yard that metamorphose in unity, the leaves on whole sections of the trees going red at the tips, then surrendering their chlorophyll like the girls at camp used to go into the river for early morning swim classes: daring each other then jumping all at once off the dock.

I wondered if the leaves on this plant would do what they’re advertising: fall away a few at a time; ripening piecemeal, succumbing individually to the cold.

My shoulders dropped again, this time reflexively. It’s one way to look at my own learning curve, I thought: I don’t have to learn all at once how to parent a nine-year-old whose periodic impertinence can throw a whole morning into chaos. I may know how to communicate (I’m sorry for losing my temper, sweetie) but as for knowing how to steer us away from a conflict in the first place? Well, I’m ripening piecemeal, too.

After awhile I continued on, picking around the muddy spots on the path as I worked my way up and out of the park. On the backside the trail climbs to a dead end street where there’s a slate blue split-level with two older Mercedes sedans in the driveway. I walked past them noisily, remembering that these shoes have developed a squeak I couldn’t hear when I was walking over soft dirt and leaves down below.

This made me smile. As a parent, I’m wearing down noisily, too. I protest when I’m in contact with unyielding ground. But the restart button is as close as the woods. Or a simmering pot of oil on the stove.

Pumpkin chips with cashew cream aioli
aioli adapted from The Great Family Cookbook Project

There are weeks when I don’t have food stories.
That’s true this week. But we did cook and the highlight
was, appropriately, a decadence. Just the thing if you’ve
had a hard day.

1 pumpkin, seeded and cut into long wedges that are
approximately 2 inches thick
grape seed oil
1 cup cashew cream
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
juice of ½ lemon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder + more to taste
a few grindings of white pepper (optional)
sea salt

Pour at least 2 cups of oil into a deep pot or dutch oven and place over high heat.

While the oil is heating, slice pumpkin wedges using a mandoline to make a large tray full of thin, 2-inch slices.

When oil is very hot, lower several handfuls of pumpkin slices into the oil using a strainer or slotted spoon. Stir the pumpkin slices periodically to keep them from sticking together.

Meanwhile, combine cashew cream, garlic, syrup and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until smooth then drizzle olive oil into the mixture slowly until it’s creamy and fully incorporated.

Add ancho chili powder and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth and taste. Adjust seasonings and add white pepper, if desired. Continue to taste and season. Transfer to a bowl or jar and sprinkle with extra ancho chili powder. Refrigerate.

Continue to cook the pumpkin in batches, draining chips on a cookie rack or paper toweling. Pumpkin cooks down considerably – a whole pumpkin will feed a family as a nice appetizer.

21 thoughts on “Pumpkin chips with cashew cream aioli

    • The pumpkin chips were my husband’s idea – I wouldn’t have thought of it either! I highly recommend them. If the oil is hot enough, they cook up pretty quickly. Just don’t put them on the burner that never gets quite hot enough (ahem). Then they’ll take forever. :) As always, thank you for stopping in!

  1. A walk in the woods is just the thing to shake off a bad experience. And your pumpkin chips and cashew cream looks like an indulgence to celebrate the feeling of renewal from your walk. Usually I can imagine the taste of a recipe when I read it, but not this one. I’ve never had cashew cream or pumpkin chips, but your post makes me want to try them!

    • I hope you do! It’s amazing. The cashew cream is pretty neutral so it lends itself to seasoning nicely. Also good to make a soup creamy all on its own. Careful, though. I wouldn’t make more than a cup at a time. This batch went bad in about 4 days.

  2. I’ve just discovered the joys of cashew cream – your dip looks amazing! I’ve used it plain as a topper on my autumn soup and even added some to whipped cream. It made the cream extremely stable and barely changed the taste while adding more protein and improving the fat profile. Still fat though… Oh well, we do need a little every day :)

  3. Yum! I’ve been attempting to perfect making baked/oven-dehydrated pumpkin chips for a while now, but since it seems like my oven temperature doesn’t get low enough, I should probably just adopt your technique… your pumpkin chips look delicious! :)

    • We were wondering if other methods would work, too. Obviously, these are a “sometimes food” because of the high oil content but, boy, YUM. Hope you enjoy if you try it out!

  4. Pumpkin chips? Oh my! Love, love, love this recipe–the chips and the aioli. I picked up five pie pumpkins at the market this weekend. The first one is getting turned into these chips for a Halloween snack. Thank you!

  5. I love the idea of cashew cream, I should experiment with some non-dairy decadence. And I’m scared of hot oil, but do you think I could make baked pumpkin chips? I hope these were restorative in all the right ways. :)

    • We were wondering the same thing, Emmy. Not sure if baking or dehydrating would work but, hey, it’s worth a try! I give cashew cream my highest recommendation though a warning to make just what you need – ours went bad in about 3 days.

Comments are closed.