The weather has cooled and the leaves have started to change their colors. It’s fall, and with fall comes pumpkins: Jack O’ Lanterns on windowsills for Halloween, pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice lattes at coffee shops and pumpkin beer in bars. But pumpkin for dinner? Why not? Here to share a few recipes is Heartland sous chef Natalie Alesee.
Natalie Alesee
Heartland Restaurant and Wine Bar
289 5th St E
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 699-3536

Natalie discovered cooking while going to school at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and after discovering her passion and natural talent for cooking, she left behind the four-year degree and moved to the Twin Cities to become a chef. Working her way through Le Cordon Bleu all they way up to the sous chef position at renowned Heartland Restaurant and Wine Bar, she now is able to create dishes night in and night out that reflect her passion for classical cooking while using ingredients from the fertile lands of Minnesota.

Pumpkin With Sauteed Vegetables

1 pumpkin, peeled and large diced
2 quarts Brussels sprouts
1 large onion, julienned
1/2 gallon apple cider
Salt to taste

1. In a sauce pan, pour in apple cider and allow it to reduce until it forms a syrup-like consistency
2. In a separate pan over high heat, throw in the raw pumpkin and allow caramelizing. Once it is halfway done, add Brussels sprouts and also allow to caramelize. Once cooked, serve with the apple cider reduction drizzled over the top.
*Can be served with chicken or pork.*

(credit: F. Martin Ramin/Studio D/Esquire)

(credit: F. Martin Ramin/Studio D/Esquire)

Pumpkin Barley Risotto

1/2 pumpkin, peeled, medium diced

2 cups onion, small diced
1.5 cups celery, small diced
1.5 cups carrot, small diced
3 cups white wine
2 quarts barley (dry)
8 quarts vegetable stock (roughly)
3 tbsp parsley
1 cup parmesan
Salt to taste

1. Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds and then medium dice, keeping in mind uniformity.
2. Sauté your celery, carrots, and onion and once cooked add the barley. Stir together and deglaze the pan with the white wine.
3. Once wine is cooked out, add the vegetable stock. Once that is absorbed, do it again. Continue ladling in your vegetable stock in this manner until the barley is fully cooked.
4. Stir in the parsley and Parmesan and serve immediately.

Related: Best Fall Salads In Minnesota

Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 pumpkin, halved and roasted
2 large onions, peeled and rough chopped
1 garlic bulb, peeled and rough chopped
3 quarts water
8 tbsp curry mix

  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 1/4 cup turmeric
  • 1.5 tbsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp fenugreek

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice your pumpkin lengthwise and then oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the pumpkin with the skin-side up. Once squash is tender, peel away the skin and remove seeds.
2. In a separate pot, sweat the onion and garlic until soft, then add your roasted pumpkin. Add the water to thin, then add your curry mix. Allow to cook on low heat for approximately an hour.
3. Puree and then serve.
Serves four

Related: Ask A Minnesota Expert: Fall Comfort Food Recipes

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.