Perfect for fall: pumpkin shrimp canapés with sage, pistachios, and shallots

I confess: I have no plans to throw a party anytime soon.  I just saw a recipe that paired canned pumpkin and shrimp in bruschetta form, and thought, “That is either going to be incredibly disgusting or incredibly delicious.”  So of course I had to try it (albeit with serious alterations).

The original recipe called for raw onions, arugula tossed with Italian salad dressing, and canned pumpkin straight out of the can.  First, I don’t like raw onions because I can’t digest them.  Second, arugula tossed with Italian dressing sounded like it would overwhelm the pumpkin flavor.  Third, canned pumpkin has a metallic flavor and aroma if you leave it unaltered — not to mention that it’s sort of tasteless.  It needs a little oomph: I added garlic, sriracha, salt, and pepper to the pumpkin mixture and eliminated the lemon.

The recipe also called for pumpkin seeds, which I swapped for pistachios because that’s just what I had on hand.  I also chose to cut my bread into triangle toasts because I have to make things harder on myself it looked pretty.  I would recommend using baguette slices instead, because they should be sturdier.

Verdict: rich and delicious with a slight zing from the sriracha.  A perfect appetizer – 2-3 are satisfying.   Make Thanksgiving more interesting this year!

This wasn’t a particularly expensive recipe to make, mostly because I shop at the Grocery Outlet (home of the canned pumpkin, frozen shrimp, and goat cheese).  I recommend using frozen, pre-cooked, deveined and shelled shrimp to save time and money.


Adapted heavily from Better Homes & Gardens; makes about 20 appetizers

  • 1 baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil or melted butter, divided
  • 40 pre-cooked, deveined, shelled medium shrimp
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 oz goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced into rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1-4 tsp Sriracha (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 10-12 leaves sage, chiffonade-d
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped (I use an old hand-crank coffee grinder to chop nuts, similar to this.)

Do ahead: You can saute the shallots, toast the baguette slices, and make the pumpkin mixture ahead of time.  Bring pumpkin mixture to room temperature before assembling.

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet and brush the tops with 2 tbsp olive oil or melted butter.  Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly toasted.  (Check on it periodically.  You want the bread to be crisp on top but not hard as a rock. No one wants to eat rocks, even tasty rocks.)
  2. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil or butter over medium heat.  Saute the shallot rings until soft and slightly browned, 3-5 minutes.  Drain and set aside for later.
  3. In the same skillet, without pouring off the remaining oil, saute the minced garlic until softened and aromatic, about 30 seconds to a minute.  Add canned pumpkin and cook, stirring with a spatula, over medium heat until the pumpkin is also aromatic and loses its metallic quality (as always, taste test!), 3-5 minutes.  Remove from skillet and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Combine honey, canned pumpkin and garlic, and goat cheese with the pumpkin until smooth.  Add 1 tsp Sriracha, adding more until the flavor is what you desire.  (The cool shrimp will offset some of the spice.)  Add salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste.  Set aside (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
  5. Meanwhile, chiffonade the sage leaves and chop the pistachios.
  6. To assemble: spread each baguette slice with about a spoonful of the pumpkin mixture.  Arrange two shrimp atop the pumpkin and drape with a shallot ring or two.  Garnish with sage leaves and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.  Serve! Demand applause!

3 responses to “Perfect for fall: pumpkin shrimp canapés with sage, pistachios, and shallots

    • Thanks! I was happy that it wasn’t gross. 😉

      I think the pumpkin spread would be great on a turkey sandwich, too.

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