What is the origin for pumpkin pie? Did the pilgrims really eat pumpkin pie at their first Thanksgiving dinner? 

The historical evidence suggests that pumpkin pie was not on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkins are native to North America, and the Native Americans cultivated and ate many types of squash, mostly roasting or boiling them over an open fire. It is possible that they could have given pumpkins to the settlers, but most likely the Plymouth Rock pilgrims didn’t make pies out of those pumpkins, as they had no ovens to bake a pie in! From what I have read, that first meal shared between the pilgrims and Native Americans occurred in 1621, and unfortunately by all accounts it was quite a carnivores’ feast, as they dined on many species of dead animals and not many vegetables.  I did find a reference on “Wiki” to an interesting recipe in a 19th century English cookbook for pumpkin pie, which is prepared by cutting off the top of a pumpkin, scooping out the seeds and then stuffing it with apples, spices and sugar and then baking it whole. Hmm—sounds good—I must try that sometime!

 Pumpkin Pie

  • 14 ounces firm tofu
  • Two 15-ounce cans of puréed pumpkin
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup organic, non-GMO cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until creamy. Pour the filling into an uncooked pie shell, and bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate for at least 5 hours while the pie sets. Serve individual slices with a dollop of vegan whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Pie recipe is taken from “Simple Recipes for Joy: A Vegan Cookbook” by Sharon Gannon and is printed here by kind permission from Penguin Publishing House.

Sharon Gannon is a 21st-century Renaissance woman, an animal rights and vegan activist and a world-renowned yogini, perhaps best known as the founder, along with David Life, of the Jivamukti Yoga Method. She is also an accomplished writer, dancer, painter, musician and chef. Sharon has devoted many years exploring the role of diet in promoting physical, emotional and mental well-being as well as spiritual development. She lives in a 125-acre wild forest sanctuary in Woodstock, NY.

A student of Brahmananda Sarasvati, Swami Nirmalananda, K. Pattabhi Jois, and Shyam das, she is a pioneer in teaching yoga as spiritual activism and is credited for making yoga cool and hip—relating ancient teachings of yoga to the modern world. Sharon's book Yoga and Vegetarianism has been called the "seminal" work on the subject, exploring the relationship of veganism to the teachings of yoga.

Sharon is a musician and is a featured vocalist on many CDs including Sharanam, which is her 2010 solo album, produced by Frenz Kallos. She has produced numerous yoga-related DVDs and is the author of several books, including Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body & SoulThe Art of Yoga, Cats and Dogs are People Too!, and Yoga Assists. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Toward 2012, Arcana V: Music, Magic and Mysticism, What comes after Money, Semiotexte, Yoga Journal, Mantra, and Origin. She writes a monthly essay called the Focus of the Month.