This creamy pumpkin sauce is warmed up and sweetened with a little added vanilla. Try it over zoodles for a wonderful holiday side dish. This post is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey.
It’s funny how, as humans, we feel the need to constantly categorize things, to label them and put them in a box and expect them to always behave a certain way. It seems to be a basic biological imperative and we do it with everything, from plants and animals to inanimate objects to our fellow humans. We are driven to catalog our world and name things and put it all in some sort of order. It’s an innate desire to make sense of our world. It may have a lot to do with the development of language – as early humans, we needed to agree on what to call something to be able to talk about it. And to be able to talk about a number of different things, we had to group them together in ways that seemed logical. We had to define the edges of our world, so to speak. It just strikes me as human nature, and it can take a lot to challenge our pre-conceived notions of the things around us.
This all sounds like I am getting quite serious about something, digging deep into our collective psychology. But I am not. I am really just talking, as I am wont to do, about food. Because I do this sort of thing, this categorizing, with all sorts of foods and ingredients. It’s all in neat little boxes in my head with clear labels and everything is sorted according to some strange culinary logic. But then something will come along and blur the lines of what I think a particular ingredient is supposed to be and my foodie notions face a moment of befuddlement. And then, if I am lucky, I will have that AHA moment, and the fog will clear and I will see that the food that I heretofore thought could only be use this way can also be used that way too.
Pumpkin not exactly a perfect example of this. While I tend to think of it as an ingredient in sweet dishes, I have also seen it used many times in wonderful savoury dishes as well and can see how it suits this sort of application. But an even better example of this sort of food-categorization is vanilla extract. I’d wager a guess that the majority of us consider vanilla a sweet dish ingredient only and would be surprised to discover how good it is in savoury dishes too.
Nielsen-Massey asked me to come up with a savoury holiday recipe that included one of their vanilla extracts. After a few moments of befuddlement, I could suddenly see how the warm, deep notes of vanilla would be perfect in a non-sweet application. In some ways, it’s a little like adding a tablespoon or two of honey to a primarily savoury dish, albeit with fewer added carbs. It brings just a touch of sweetness while making the whole recipe seem warmer and cozier, more comforting. I used Nielsen-Massey’s Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.
At least, that’s what it did for this pumpkin cream sauce. I simply can’t tell you how good this is. It took me by surprise, actually, and I kept spooning it into my mouth straight out of the pan. I wasn’t sure I would be able to save enough for the zucchini noodles! This is a delectable holiday side dish, but if you added some cooked sausage or chicken, it could also be a whole meal. So go ahead, challenge your preconceived culinary notions and try adding some vanilla to a savoury dish. You won’t regret it.
Creamy Pumpkin Zucchini Noodles
This creamy pumpkin sauce is warmed up and sweetened with a little added vanilla. Try it over zoodles for a wonderful holiday side dish.
- 3 tbsp avocado oil, divided
- 2 tbsp onion, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan (plus more for topping)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it becomes translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Add dried sage, salt, and pepper and cook 30 seconds more.
- Stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla and grated parmesan until well combined and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in whipping cream until well combined. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- In a large saute pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat until just hot. Stir in spiralled zucchini and cook, tossing frequently, until just tender.
- Divide zucchini noodles among for plates. Top with pumpkin sauce and shredded parmesan.
Serves 4 as a side dish. Each serving has 6.42 g NET CARBS.
Food energy: 156kcal Total fat: 16.89g Calories from fat: 152 Cholesterol: 22mg Carbohydrate: 9.37g Total dietary fiber: 2.95g Protein: 3.53g