Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

Here’s a really effortless, great way to dress up pumpkin to make a side dish that works just as well alongside grand roasts or a salad spread for lunch. Simply toss pumpkin with garlic then roast until golden, drizzle with a yogurt lemon sauce and scatter with pine nuts. So easy yet so superb!

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

Roasted Pumpkin Side Dish

The really good thing about this dish is its sheer simplicity, that it’s something a little different but the flavour has universal appeal. We love roasted pumpkin that’s been roasted well until it’s golden on the outside, juicy and sweet on the inside (no unrecognisable lumps of mush thanks!). And we love it even more when we have a cooling, garlicky-lemony yogurt sauce casually drizzled over it.

Add pine nuts for texture a dash of of the exotic – and boom! People are always impressed when they see and taste it. And then you can trot out that line we cooks love to casually explain to guests, “Oh, it’s just a little something I threw together quickly……”

(Don’t tell me I’m the only one around here immature enough to still get a thrill out of saying that!)

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

What you need for roasted pumpkin

Here’s what I use for the roasted pumpkin – salt, pepper, olive oil and garlic.

Oh – and yes, pumpkin. Any type that takes your fancy, including butternut (which is sometimes called “butternut squash”, but we just call it “butternut pumpkin” here Down Under). Sweet potato also works just as well – though perhaps an extra 5 minutes in the oven.

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

How I cut, peel & roast pumpkin

For those of you deterred by the thought of the effort of hacking through a giant pumpkin – my trick is to rock the knife up and down as you cut through through a big hunk of pumpkin. Your knife will slide through much more easily than trying to cut straight down.

And here’s how I cut it into cubes:

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts
  1. Cut into thick 3cm / 1.2″ slices;
  2. Lay a slice on the side then cut the skin off;
  3. Then for neat cubes, cut 3cm / 1.2″ thick slices AROUND the seeds. I find this method faster and cleaner than scraping with a spoon, though the trade off is that there is a bit of wastage – minimise this by cutting as close to the seeds as you can; then
  4. Cut into cubes.


And here’s how I roast pumpkin:

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts
  1. Toss with garlic, salt, pepper an olive oil. It’s easiest to do this in a bowl to get full coverage – you can shortcut it on the tray but you’ll need to get your hands right in there to coat well;
  2. Spread on a baking / parchment paper-lined tray. This is insurance to ensure you don’t lose the golden skin of the pumpkin (it’s so distressing when that happens, it’s the best part! )
  3. Roast in a HOT oven – 220°C/430°F (200°C fan) – so we can get some nice colour on the pumpkin in the time it takes for the inside to cook through. High temperature is key here because we want colour on our pumpkin (because colour = flavour). If you use a lower temperature, then by the time the pumpkin goes golden, the inside turns to mush. We aren’t making Pumpkin Mash here!
  4. The pumpkin is ready when it’s fully cooked through and you have some nice golden edges and surfaces. 20 minutes, flip, then 10 minutes.
Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts
Roasting in a hot oven makes the pumpkin golden on the outside and soft inside rather than turning into orange mush!!

Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Nice and simple: Just yogurt, lemon, a tiny bit of garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix, then leave for at least 10 minutes to let the flavours develop!

Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts
Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts
Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

Customisation options

I often serve this with just the Lemon Yogurt Sauce because it already perfect as-is. But the basic foundation of roasted pumpkin with this sauce is versatile enough to be adapted to many cuisines and food styles.

Today I’ve given this a Middle Eastern bent by finishing it with a pinch of sumac (a lemony-flavoured red powder made from a dried fruit), pine nuts and coriander/cilantro – just to make it that little bit extra special!

Here are some more ideas to customise it to your taste or to fit a menu theme:

  • Go Greek by mixing in chopped dill and/or mint into the sauce. Sprinkle dish generously with dried oregano, tear over some more of the fresh herbs.
  • Give it a Christmas spin by tossing pumpkin in cinnamon, a little ground clove and nutmeg before roasting. Sprinkle finished dish with pomegranate seeds and leafy green herbs for some proper Christmas colours!
  • Make an Indian-esque side for curries. Toss pumpkin in a a spice combo of your choice before roasting – think cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander seeds, ground fennel seeds, chilli powder, garam marsala. Garnish with mint leaves and some chopped nuts.
  • Pre-made spice mixes would also work brilliantly here: Old Bay, Cajun, Tex-Mex/taco seasoning. Drizzle finished dish with some honey, a squeeze of more lemon, scatter with coriander/cilantro and seeds – pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), sunflower, poppy etc for some crunch.
  • Roasting with fresh chopped rosemary and/or thyme leaves will also perfume and flavour the pumpkin wonderfully. Zest some lemon over finished dish, add crunch via nuts, seeds or even small croutons.
  • You could even turn this side into a more substantial dish by bulking out with cooked lentils (use this recipe), and adding other roast veg with the pumpkin (increase dressing accordingly.)
Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

What to serve with this pumpkin dish

I say I’ve given this a Middle Eastern tough with the pine nuts and sumac, but it’s still neutrally flavoured enough to go well with virtually any Western Dish (as well as other cuisines). Here are some centrepiece mains I think would make a perfect pairing!

Enjoy! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it


Roasted Pumpkin with Lemon Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

Recipe video above. This is a great way to use pumpkin that ticks a lot of boxes – it’s simple to make, works just as well as a side for a grand roast, or as part of a salad lunch spread, can easily to altered to fit various cuisines and occasions by changing the nuts and fresh herb, and it looks rustic and good with zero effort!

Excellent served hot, warm or even at room temperature.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Western
Keyword Middle eastern side dish, pumpkin salad, pumpkin side dish, Roasted pumpkin
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 – 5 as a side
Calories 216cal
Author Nagi


Roasted Pumpkin:

  • 1.2kg / 2.4 lb pumpkin , skin on seeds in weight (or butternut squash or sweet potato, Note 1)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove , finely minced using garlic press
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Lemon Yogurt Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (or other plain, non sweet yogurt)
  • 1/2 small garlic clove , finely minced using garlic press
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Sprinkling and garnishes:

  • 2 tbsp pine nuts (or other nuts of choice)
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro leaves , roughly chopped (or parsley)
  • 1/8 tsp sumac (paprika or other theme appropriate spice, Note 2)


Roasted Pumpkin:

  • Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F (200°C fan). Line a tray with baking/parchment paper.
  • Peel, deseed and cut pumpkin into 3cm / 2.2″ cubes – see photos in post for how I do it with little effort. You should end up with about 1 kg – enough to fill a tray.
  • Place pumpkin in a bowl, add garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss well using a rubber spatula.
  • Spread on tray. Roast 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin pieces, then roast a further 7 to 10 minutes until nicely coloured but holding it’s shape, rather than being a mushy mess.

Lemon Yogurt Sauce:

  • Mix ingredients then set aside for at least 10 minutes to let the flavours develop.


  • Pile the pumpkin in a mound on a plate. Drizzle over yogurt sauce, sprinkle with sumac, pine nuts and coriander.
  • I think it’s best served with the pumpkin hot or warm, but for a warm summer day, it is also excellent served at room temperature. Just cool pumpkin, then dress and garnish just before serving.


1. Pumpkin – any edible type of pumpkin is fine here. Not a Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin, they are not that nice to eat! Sweet potato is perfect here too. (PS Butternut Squash is called Butternut Pumpkin here in Australia, and it’s wonderful too).

2. Spice – I’ve gone Middle Eastern here, with pine nuts and sumac being on-theme. Flaked or slivered almonds are also terrific, and as for spices, paprika or cinnamon works extremely well for an Arabic angle. Having said that though, the flavours are neutral enough to pair with almost any Western dish, as well as Mediterranean.

3. Other flavouring options: 

  • Greek: Chopped dill/mint in sauce, sprinkle dish with dried oregano and more torn dill/mint.
  • Christmas flavours: Toss pumpkin in cinnamon, nutmeg, clove powder before roasting. Scatter pomegranate seeds and leafy herbs over dish.
  • Indian-esque: Toss pumpkin in Indian spices (see in post for suggestions) before roasting. Garnish with mint, chopped nuts.
  • American spice mixes: Toss Old Bay, Cajun or Tex-Mex mix before roasting. Drizzle with honey, squeeze more lemon juice and scatter with seeds of your choice.
  • Rosemary/thyme: Chop rosemary and/or thyme, toss with pumpkin. Zest a lemon over dish and top with nuts/seeds.

4. Storage – Cooked pumpkin alone will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. If already dressed with sauce and herbs etc then just a couple of days. So try to keep pumpkin separate for storage, make and add sauces/garnishes later when serving. Cooled pumpkin can be microwaved to warm, but take care not to overcook to mush.


Calories: 216cal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 453mg | Potassium: 933mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 21296IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 2mg

Life of Dozer

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Roasted Pumpkin with Yogurt Sauce and Pine Nuts

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