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Pumpkin Hash

Serves 4

Hash is a great way to turn leftovers into breakfast or lunch! Try this fall-inspired recipe made with pumpkin.


My No. 1 lunch packing tip? “Cook once, eat twice.” Because when I’m making dinner, it doesn’t take any extra time or effort to make a little more than I need. And those leftovers will make my morning lunch packing routine so much easier.

But this approach also works at breakfast. Too many pancakes? Use them as “bread” for a PB & J. A couple extra waffles in the toaster? Add a slice of cheese for a “grilled cheese.” And a few extra scrambled eggs are awesome (and toasty) in a thermos.

Breakfast hash is another great choice. Typically, I dice up a potato and toss it in a skillet with some butter or olive oil, then add chopped leftover meat (whatever we had for dinner – steak, chicken, turkey, pork, whatever). Half of it lands on the table at breakfast, the other half goes in a thermos for lunch.

This time of year, I like to use fresh pumpkin instead of potatoes. It’s easy. When selecting pumpkins for hash (or pie), be sure to select a “sugar” or “pie” variety. Carving pumpkins are not suitable for eating!

To prepare fresh pumpkin, just peel, seed and chop it just as you would a butternut squash. A 2- or 2 1/2-pound pumpkin is perfect for hash. Once peeled, cleaned and chopped, it should produce about 3/4-1 pound of edible pumpkin.

  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3/4 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cups chopped cooked meat (chicken, pork, steak, sausage, etc.)
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the pumpkin and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until nicely browned and tender. Add the meat and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper (garlic powder is nice, too).
  2. Serve half for breakfast, then pack the remainder in a thermos.

Recipe by J.M. Hirsch, AP food editor and author of Beating the Lunch Box Blues. Photo: Matthew Mead.