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Pumpkin Coconut Cream Sauce

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This fantastic recipe from Elizabeth Bailey’s cookbook, The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution, is an unusual take on pumpkin — garlicky, with a good kick of heat. If you have some fresh pumpkin that doesn’t seem sweet enough for pie, it’s probably perfect to use here instead. Otherwise, use canned.

The sauce you end up with is more multi-purpose that you might think. Bailey recommends the following serving ideas:

  • Baked Potato / 2/3 cup sauce per potato / Spoon sauce over potato. Serve with green salad.
  • Chicken / 1 cup sauce per pound of chicken / Spoon sauce over sliced chicken. Serve with tortillas and spinach salad.
  • Pork / 1 cup sauce per pound of pork / Spoon sauce over sliced pork. Serve with boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli.
  • Beef / 1 cup sauce per pound of beef / Spoon sauce over sliced beef. Serve with white rice and roasted mixed bell peppers.
  • Soup / 3½ cups sauce and 2½ cups chicken or vegetable broth per 4-serving pot / Garnish with chopped bell pepper.
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Pumpkin Coconut Cream Sauce

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  • Author: Elizabeth Bailey
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x


This Caribbean-inspired sauce from The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution cookbook is an unusual take on pumpkin — garlicky, with a good kick of heat. If you have some fresh pumpkin that doesn’t seem sweet enough for pie, it’s probably perfect to use here instead.



¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
1 chile (jalapeño or other), minced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 (12-ounce) cans coconut milk
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée or 2 cups homemade cooked pumpkin


1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and salt, and sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the chile and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring, for 3 minutes longer. Add the coconut milk and pumpkin, stir to combine, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Cool the sauce in the refrigerator, then freeze in a sealed freezer bag. The sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

4. To serve, defrost the night before in the fridge. Then simply pour the sauce from the bag into a saucepan and warm over medium heat until it is hot throughout. Enjoy it on your choice of base.

Excerpted from The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution © by Elizabeth Bailey. Used with permission from Storey Publishing. All Photos of Elisabeth and from The Make-Ahead Sauce Solution (c) Joseph De Leo.

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