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Reducing Wasted Food through Successful Substitutions

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Reducing Food Waste through Substitutions: Pumpkin Puree

After the dust settled on a successful holiday party, I found myself with an open can of pumpkin puree, some coconut milk, vegetable stock, a lot of onion, garlic, cinnamon, butter, and fresh ginger.

Most of these ingredients were used to make a sweet potato soup and pumpkin cookies but, I wondered, could I make pumpkin soup?

Shopping your pantry and being creative with what you find on hand can have a significant impact on reducing wasted food at home. It can also be a fun, tasty activity for your family. Let your own preferences guide your decisions, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to select substitutions. Ask yourself:

· Does this new ingredient taste good?

· Will I like this ingredient with the other ingredients in this dish?

· Can it have a similar consistency the original ingredient?

The pumpkin puree wasn’t dissimilar from mashed up sweet potato, so I thought, why not give it a try? And the result—delicious!

You might not be looking to use up your pumpkin puree but learning to substitute one ingredient for another can yield tasty results and help reduce food waste. Wasted food stops with us- try a substitution today!

For substitution ideas and recipe tips, check out this resource from Colorado State University Extension:

Bowl of pumpkin soup

Pumpkin Soup


1 Tbsp. Butter

½ Medium Onion

1 Clove Garlic

1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger

2 Cups Pumpkin Puree

2 Cups Vegetable Stock

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon Powder

½ tsp. Nutmeg

1 Cup Coconut Milk




1.) Chop onion, ginger, and garlic.

2.) In a skillet melt your butter and add onion, ginger, and garlic. Sauté on a medium temperature until tender.

3.) Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.

4.) Add pumpkin puree and bring to a low simmer.

5.) Transfer immediately to a blender or food processor.

6.) Begin blending. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, continue to blend.

7.) Transfer to a stock pot and add coconut milk.

8.) Add salt and pepper to taste (you can also add more cinnamon if needed).

9.) Heat, serve and enjoy!

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