The best thing about this candied pumpkin recipe is that it is super easy to make, healthy, and easy to store. But above all, it is vegan! Now that’s something to rejoice on!

Fall is a season known for two things; falling leaves and pumpkins! There are so many delicious desserts and beverages related to the fall season, but the one I am going to share with you guys is quite a unique one. In the midst of pumpkin pies, and lattes this Mexican dessert/snack will rejuvenate your love for the pumpkins and the season! Also, try Vegan Baked Candied Yam or Instant Pot Candied Yams.

 

pumpkin isolated on a white background

What is Calabaza En Tacha?

Calabaza En Tacha, or candied pumpkin, is a delicious dessert with its roots in Mexico. This dessert is quite a popular one in Mexican cuisine, and it is unique and utterly flavorsome. This simple dessert is a traditional mark in the cuisine and is still loved and enjoyed by everyone in the lands.

Candied pumpkin gets its name Calabaza En Tacha,  because it uses Calabaza, which is a type of winter squash. Also, it was traditionally made in very large pots. These pots were known as the “Tachos.” Hence, the dish got the name. It is most commonly known all across the world by candid pumpkin.

Although you can enjoy this delicious dessert during falls when the pumpkin season is at its peak, the dish can be eaten as a snack or for breakfast with almond milk as well. It might be quite an unusual breakfast, but let me tell you, it is heavenly for someone who has a sweet tooth.

What to look for when buying pumpkins?

Just as the fall season arrives, the first indication is bright orange pumpkins seen everywhere. Although the market seems full of fresh pumpkins, here are a few things you should notice when buying a pumpkin for cooking purposes.

  • Appearance: Although the first thing we notice in any fruit or vegetable is the color, things are slightly different when it comes to pumpkin. That’s because it varies in color. You can find a mature and perfectly ripe pumpkin in several shades. The shades range from bright orange, dull orange, light orange to even white. However, when buying pumpkins, make sure you give them a thorough inspection. They should be free from cracks and splits.
  • Furthermore, the skin should be perfectly intact. Also, keep an eye on the sunken areas and soft spots. It is a clear indication that the pumpkin is on the road to decay.
  • Quality: You can check the quality of the pumpkins by touching them. The high-quality pumpkins are firm to touch. They also have a pretty hard rind.
  • Stem: The stem of the pumpkin can tell a lot about its freshness. A pumpkin with a bright green stem is the freshest of the lot. However, dry stem means the pumpkin is not fresh.
  • Size: you don’t need to buy an overly large pumpkin for this dish. Choose a pumpkin that has medium-sized or even small. These are easy to cook and are easy to handle as well.

Health benefits of pumpkin

Pumpkins are a power food. They are super rich in nutrients. Here are a few amazing health benefits of pumpkins:

  • Pumpkins are super rich in vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin C, and vitamin E. among these, pumpkins have the highest vitamin A content, i.e., 245% of the daily intake value.
  • These are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to reduce the free radicals in the body, which as a result, protect the body against chronic diseases like cancer, and several eye-related diseases, heart diseases, etc.
  • Since it provides a high source of vitamin A, it helps in developing and boosting immunity in the body. Immunity helps the body fight against diseases, viruses, and bacteria.
  • Thanks to the vitamins and compounds, pumpkin helps in protecting your eyesight. It also lowers the risks of several eye diseases and blindness.
  • Pumpkin is low in calories and high in fiber. As a result, it helps in weight loss. Because it makes people feel full for a longer time and is rich in nutrients, there are high chances it aids in weight loss.

candied pumpkin ingredients on cutting board and white marbled background

Ingredient breakdown

Making Calabaza En Tacha is quite easy. You don’t need a lot of ingredients. The dish comes together with just five main ingredients. Here is a detailed breakdown of everything you need for this recipe:

  • Pumpkin: Because pumpkins are the main ingredient of this dish, you can’t make Calabaza En Tacha without it. For this recipe, you will have to deseed and dice the pumpkins.
  • Organic Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is another main component of this dish. You can use coconut sugar and maple syrup as well.
  • Water: You will need water to dissolve the sugar and cook the pumpkin.
  • Orange: Orange juice and zest give an amazing citrusy flavor to the syrup that compliments the pumpkin flavor.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon doesn’t just add aroma to the dish, but also brings its depth of flavor and texture. Cinnamon has a slightly sweet, woody, and spicy taste that stands out.
  • Nutmeg: It is another spice that adds aroma, warmth, and nuttiness to the dish.
  • Vanilla Extract: It is an optional ingredient. The main purpose of his ingredient is to bring in vanilla flavor.
  • Salt: A dash of pink Himalayan salt elevated the other flavors.

syrup for candied pumpkin in a saucepan being stirred by wooden spoon

How to make candied pumpkin?

You can easily make Calabaza En Tacha by following these simple steps:

Step 1: Start by placing a large and thick skillet on medium heat.

2: Add water, orange juice and zest, organic brown sugar, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, and pink Himalayan salt.

Step 3: Stir the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.

4: Place the pumpkin pieces in the mixture in such a way that they are submerged in it.

Step 5: Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices until the sugar mixture thickens up, and the pumpkin turns soft and tender. Don’t forget to flip the pumpkin every 3 minutes, so that they are cooked evenly and get even color.

cooking candied pumpkin in saucepan

Tips and tricks for perfect candied pumpkins

Although making candied pumpkins is pretty easy and straightforward. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind for ideal results:

  • Make sure you slice the pumpkins evenly. This way, they will cook evenly as well.
  • You can also use a cinnamon stick instead of cinnamon powder.
  • If you can’t find organic brown sugar, you can also use organic coconut sugar.  It is less sweet in taste and ideal for someone who doesn’t enjoy the overly sweet flavor.
  • Vanilla extract is an optional ingredient. You can totally skip it.
  • You can also try this recipe with fig, guava, etc.

Other Vegan Pumpkin Recipes To Prepare

  1. Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
  2. Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie
  3. Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
  4. Pumpkin Fritter
  5. Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
  6. Vegan Pumpkin Cornbread

How to store candied pumpkins?

You can easily store the candied pumpkin by cooling it and placing it in an air-tight container. It will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. However, make sure you don’t stick in a wet spoon. It will ruin the dessert.

How to serve candied pumpkin?

There are so many ways you can serve this dessert. It is a perfect snack for those craving sweets. However, here are a few ideas on how to serve this dessert:

  • With Almond Milk: believe it or not, you can serve it alongside milk. It is a perfect dessert or goes so well in breakfast as well.
  • Coconut Whipped Cream:  A creamy element adds a fun texture.
  • Pound Cake: top your plain cake with candied pumpkin along with the syrup. Try it! I am sure you will love the flavor and texture.

overlay candied pumpkin on a white platter on a white marbled background

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Categories

Nutrition

(Per serving)
  • Energy: 184 kcal / 769 kJ
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.4 g
  • Carbs: 45.6 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 30 min
  • Ready in: 40 min
  • For:
  • 4 Servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. On a stovetop, place a skillet.
  2. Add water, orange juice, orange zest, organic brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, nutmeg, and pink Himalayan salt.
  3. Mix well using a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Once the sugar is dissolved, place pieces of pumpkin in the liquid in such a way that one side should be submerged in it.
  5. Cook the pumpkin for 15 minutes on high heat, flipping every 3 minutes or so. Flipping the pumpkin often will help in creating an even color.
  6. Cook for another 15 minutes, the sauce should be reduced to syrup and the pumpkin will be soft and tender.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.