Pumpkin Naan Bread [Vegan]
Soft, warm, chewy, flavorful... what's not to love about homemade naan bread?! I've taken it a step further by adding pureed pumpkin, caramelized onions, crushed fennel seeds, peppercorns and dried sage leaves to create this version that truly celebrates fall! Completely plant-based too!
Gorgeous color, evocative flavor, tender texture... this Pumpkin Naan Bread is the perfect accompaniment to soups, stews, curries, salads or snacks. And did you know naan bread is one of the EASIEST yeasted breads you can make? Truly. The dough is not fussy and quite forgiving, making it fun to get the whole family involved!
The addition of pumpkin, onions and whole wheat flour bump up the nutrition and fiber content too - another little benefit of making this Pumpkin Naan Bread.
Enough banter though... let's get started!
Total Time: 1 hr 45 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes Rise Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 50-60 minutes (if using just one skillet) [If roasting a whole pumpkin to puree, add 35-45 minutes].
Here's what you'll need to make 12 Pumpkin Naan Breads:
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp sugar, honey or maple syrup
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 cup nut milk (I use cashew)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar*
1 can (15 oz) or 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree** (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp sesame or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 1/4 cups AP or bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp fennel seeds
1.5 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
* Why apple cider vinegar? I lot of naan bread recipes use some form of dairy, mostly fermented like sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk for both flavor and texture enhancer. Adding ACV to nut milk will create the same effect. This is optional however.
** A note about pumpkins: ALL pumpkins are edible, from the adorable miniatures to the giant prizewinners. The main difference in varieties is texture and flavor. For most purposes, the smaller pie pumpkins (3-5 lbs) or mid-sized carving pumpkins (5-8 lbs) are most suitable. The flesh will be finer and less course than the larger pumpkins, less water content and sweeter flavor (esp. the pie pumpkins). The skins will also be thinner, making them edible (like delicate squash) - perfect for slicing or cubing and roasting.
1. If you have whole pie pumpkins that you'd like to roast, here's how to do it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the pumpkin well. Pop off the stem by pressing your thumbs against the stem at the base. If this fails, cut the stem off as close to the pumpkin flesh as possible. Cut the pumpkin in half vertically. With a metal spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp. Set these aside for cleaning and roasting later. Place each pumpkin half cut side down. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and bake until tender 30-40 minutes (depending on size). Allow to cool. Remove the blossom hard blossom end, cut the rest into pieces and use your blender to puree until smooth (skins included). Alternatively, scoop out the soft flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the skins to your compost bucket. If the puree seems watery (liquid pooling on the surface when left undisturbed) strain it through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth.
2. Prepare your onion. Cut the onion into a small dice. Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and cook until caramelized but not crispy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. While the onions are cooking, complete steps 3-6.
3. In a small bowl, add the nut milk and vinegar, stir and set aside for five minutes.
4. In a separate small bowl, add the warm water and sweetener. Stir to dissolve then sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 10 minutes. You should see bubbles around the edges. Now stir to thoroughly dissolve. Set aside.
5. Using a mortar and pestle (fun way!) or a coffee grinder (loud way!), grind the peppercorns, fennel seeds and sage together. Alternatively, you can use ground spices in the same quantities. I prefer grinding fresh whenever possible.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and spices. Make a well in the center and add all the wet ingredients: pumpkin puree, caramelized onions, dissolved yeast, nut milk/vinegar mixture and remaining tablespoon of oil.
7. Stir together until fully combined. I like using a wooden paddle-type spoon for this. Knead the dough for a few minutes inside the bowl by pushing it down with the palm of your hand and folding the back over the front. All the flour should be incorporated and the dough soft and slightly sticky. If it's VERY sticky... as in you can't get it off your fingers and hands, add another tablespoon of AP flour until it's no longer sticking to your hands so much. It shouldn't still be so sticky, but water content varies from pumpkin to pumpkin. Form the dough into a ball. Add the final 2 tsp of oil to the bottom of your bowl, spread it around, add the dough ball, rolling to coat top and bottom. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
8. If you're like me and want everything to come out evenly, pull out your kitchen scale, weigh your dough blob in grams and divide by 12 so each one will weigh the same. For me, that averaged about 98g each (1,180g total) - or just eyeball it! Roll each piece of dough into a ball using the cup of your hand on an unfloured surface (flour will cause the dough to just slide around rather than form a ball). If a little piece of onion falls out, no worries... just stick it back in. You really can't mess this up! Place each ball on a floured board or counter and cover. Let rest for 10 minutes.
9. When the dough has just a couple minutes of rest time remaining, heat a griddle, grill pan or skillet over medium heat.
10. Using just a smidge of flour, roll out each ball (you can do this 2-3 at a time) into a long oval about 1/4" thick. If your ball starts sliding around while you're trying to roll it out, just flip it over and try again using less (or no) flour.
11. Place on a hot dry pan. No oil needed. Cook 2-3 minutes (or until nicely browned) then flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Pans and stove temps can vary, so keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
12. They will puff up slightly while cooking, but may not form bubbles as in my herbed Vegan Naan Bread (pictured below). [Click on the title or the photo to go to the recipe].
13. Keep the Pumpkin Naan Breads warm until all are cooked and ready to serve. These freeze well too. Blot dry (if needed), stack between pieces of parchment paper and wrap tightly to freeze.
These are delicious with brothy beans, alongside curries, soups, stews, salads... you name it!
Paired with nut butter, apple slices, ground turmeric, cinnamon and sesame seeds, Pumpkin Naan Bread also makes an excellent platform for a quick snack!
How do you like to use naan bread?
Nutrition information is for one Pumpkin Naan Bread.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you and your guests liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.
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