Synonymous with the fall season, pumpkins aren’t just for decorating at Halloween or making your family’s legendary pumpkin pie recipe. Pumpkins and their under-appreciated cousins, butternut squash, make for some tasty dishes and snacks. In some countries, especially within Asia, pumpkins may be used in a variety of savory recipes nearly all year long. If you want to try a few pumpkin delights this fall season, here are some delicious options in and around greater Sacramento.


Pizzoccheri con la Zucca
Biba Restaurant
2801 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-2422

Pumpkin and squash are two ingredients found in a handful of very traditional pasta dishes in Italy. Typically heartier fare for the colder months, the sweetness of pumpkin is mixed with homemade pasta for an unbelievable taste combination. While you may not be able to run off to Italy this fall, make a reservation at Sacramento’s beloved Biba Restaurant for some authentic Italian dishes, one or two of which are likely to include pumpkin or squash. Right now, Biba is offering pizzoccheri con la zucca, which is housemade buckwheat noodles with roasted butternut squash, butter and smoked ham.


Butternut Hash
Capitol Garage Coffee Company
1500 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 444-3633

Special brunch offerings at Capitol Garage change, but keep a watch out for rotating dishes featuring pumpkin or squash this season. One of the best and most unique offerings is the butternut hash, which is roasted butternut squash sauteed with garlic, chorizo, jalapenos, cherry tomatoes and baby spinach, all topped with melted cheddar, scrambled eggs, avocado and a traditional hollandaise sauce. If you haven’t tried Capitol Garage’s weekend brunch already, this should be the catalyst that gets you in. Conveniently located right downtown on the bottom floor of a parking garage, Capitol Garage Coffee Company is a great spot for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch. It offers free wi-fi and is even dog friendly on the patio.

Related: Best Hot Drinks In Sacramento


Pumpkin Curry
Bangkok @12 Restaurant
900 12th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 443-5588

One of my personal favorite dishes is pumpkin curry. Sometimes you can find pumpkin or squash used as an ingredient in a meat or chicken curry, but you often have to venture on to the vegetarian section to find it, as many restaurants utilize the pumpkin in place of the meat. Bangkok @12 Restaurant offers a pumpkin curry made with a mix of vegetables, pumpkin and tofu served in a red curry sauce with coconut milk. If you are craving a bit of meat with your pumpkin, try the version listed under ‘Bangkok Specialty’ on the menu, which features prawn, chicken breast, pumpkin, carrot, bell pepper and basil, served in a spicy red curry sauce with coconut milk.

(credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Pumpkin Seed Salsa
Taqueria Jalisco
330 16th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 446-4834

It may surprise you to know that pumpkin seeds aren’t just for snacking — they make some pretty amazing sauces and salsas. A specialty of the Yucatan peninsula, pumpkin seed salsa is something unique to try this season. Taqueria Jalisco has a phenomenal one, but be advised, it is not always available. If you are coming in specifically for the pumpkin seed salsa, call ahead to find out when they will be serving it.
Taqueria Jalisco has an interesting history in Sacramento and is owned by Daniel Flores who took over the restaurant from his mother back in 1996. According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, Flores’ mom Rosie opened the restaurant in 1990, but had been cooking many years before that. She had cooked for Jerry Brown when he was the 35th governor of California, from 1975 to 1983. In the early days, she reportedly cooked for many of Brown’s private parties and events.

(credit: Getty Images)

Pumpkin Scones
1011 12th Espresso Bar
1011 12th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 448-5008

Aside from pumpkin pancakes, other traditional breakfast specialties include pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins. If you are a pumpkin fan, you have probably indulged in Starbucks’ fall specialties like the pumpkin spice latte and the pumpkin cheese muffins. If you are looking to spread the pumpkin breakfast love, stop by 1011 12th Espresso Bar for a pumpkin scone or pumpkin muffin. And move over pumpkin spice latte, try a pumpkin spice chai latte! The spiced blend of chai with the pumpkin makes for the perfect morning pick-me-up. And, you don’t have to get disconnected to satiate your pumpkin fix. Like its pumpkin rival Starbucks, 1011 12th Espresso Bar offers free wi-fi, making it a great place to enjoy a pumpkin muffin guilt free while checking your morning emails.

Related: Best Autumn Desserts in Sacramento

Erin De Santiago is a freelance travel and food/wine writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. She is a regional membership coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and writes for a number of publications in addition to publishing her own blogs. She has traveled to over 40 countries on five continents in search of the best food and wine around the globe. Her work can be found at