Spicy Pumpkin Chutney

Crisp air, refreshing temperatures and delicious harvest foods—everyone loves autumn. As a cookbook author and nutritionist, I love autumn because it is a healthy season, generously filled with superfoods.

Pumpkins and their kin, winter squash (think butternut, delicata and others) are everywhere, healing us and making us even more beautiful than we already are with their high levels of antioxidants. And anytime you have pumpkins and winter squash, you probably also have pumpkin pie spice blend. If you’ve ever baked pumpkin muffins or made a pumpkin pie, you know that this is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and mace.

Known collectively as Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend (or just Pumpkin Spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice), these warming spices sweeten our holiday baking while lending an intriguing flavor to savory cooking. Further, research has found that each of these spices—known as warming spices—has powerful healing benefits, including helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, serving to regulate blood sugar, and proving to boost immune system function.

I love the benefits and the taste of pumpkin pie spice so much that I wrote an entire cookbook around it. The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook (published by Sterling), is now available in bookstores and online sellers. It gives you a host of sweet and savory ways to use pumpkin pie spice. Not all the recipes contain pumpkin! But all contain pumpkin pie spice. Below, I offer you Sweet-Spicy Holiday Relish, a fun, antioxidant-rich condiment to dress up meats, black beans, sandwiches, or to use on a relish plate. Despite it’s name, it’s not just for holidays! I hope you enjoy it!


Makes about 4 cups


  • 1-1/2 pound butternut squash or eating pumpkin, such as cheese pumpkin
  • 1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed preferred but use what is available)
  • 1 cup sugar (coconut sugar is great, but regular table sugar works very well, too)
  • ¼ teaspoon (or more) dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • Optional: dash salt
  1. Half squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Peel squash (you can use a veggie peeler) and cut into ½-inch dice
  2. In a saucepan, bring juice and sugar to a blend with red pepper flakes, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  3. Add squash and pumpkin pie spice blend to the saucepan and simmer, covered, for five minutes or until squash is fork-tender. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool.
  4. With a serrated knife, cut the peel and pitch from oranges. Working over the bowl of squash mixture, cut the orange sections free from their membranes, letting sections and juice drop into squash mixture. Squeeze excess juice from membranes into mixture.
  5. Stir vinegar and optional salt into relish.
  6. Relish may be prepared up to this point 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.
  7. With a slotted spoon, transfer relish to a serving bowl and stir in scallion.
  8. Serve relish chilled or at room temperature with poultry or lamb or black beans or spoon onto sandwiches or do whatever else you’d like with it!

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