Whether it’s autumn or any other time of year, these vegan pumpkin garlic knots are simply phenomenal and will disappear quickly once you make them. If you have any garlic lovers in your life, these are a must-make!
If you haven’t tried them before, garlic knots are baked morsels of pizza dough, twisted into a knot shape. After baking, the knots are tossed with a mixture of butter or olive oil, minced garlic, and other toppings like spices, herbs, and cheese. My vegan pumpkin garlic knots take this whole thing to the next level:
- I made them vegan (duh!)
- I infused the olive oil directly with garlic by gently heating them together. This way, every inch of surface area of the garlic knots is flavored by garlic. As possibly the preeminent garlic lover on this planet, I didn’t see any other choice.
- I floured the knots before shaping them, and then brushed with the garlic-infused olive oil before, during, and after cooking. The result is a crispy and slightly flaky exterior.
- I added pumpkin puree to the pizza dough, which helps it stay moist and tender inside even while the pumpkin garlic knots are crispy and browned on the outside.
- After tossing the baked garlic knots with the rest of my garlic-infused olive oil, I sprinkled them with fresh parsley and homemade hemp parmesan (which is of course, optional) for even more flavor.
Folks will be wondering if these pumpkin garlic knots have a very strong pumpkin flavor. They do not. The pumpkin does serve to help with the dough texture and gives the knots a beautiful orange color, but the flavor of pumpkin is quite subtle. This would be a great use of leftover pumpkin puree from other recipes (though it’s also totally justified to make or buy pumpkin puree just to make these garlic knots – the pumpkin really does make these perfect).
No, these garlic knots are not whole grain, and yes, they are absolutely drowning in olive oil. And yes, it was totally worth it. I made them two nights in a row. Yep.
Despite how long the recipe looks, these are extremely easy to make, if a little involved. I have tried to make the instructions as detailed as possible to make it easier for people who don’t often work with yeasted dough. In the notes section I explain how to prepare part of the recipe ahead of time. Below the recipe, I’ve shared many pictures outlining the step-by-step process.
Pumpkin Garlic Knots
For the pumpkin dough:
- 1/2 cup of warm water divided in half
- 1/8 ounce of active dry yeast (half of a packet; a little less than 1 and 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 and 3/4 cup bread flour (I use unbleached), plus more for kneading
For the garlic-infused olive oil topping (makes a little bit more than you probably need, just to be safe):
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/8 tsp salt (double this if not using vegan parmesan)
- (optional) pinch of black pepper
- (optional) pinch of red pepper flakes
(Optional) for a finishing touch:
- 2 tbsp finely-chopped fresh parsley
- 2-3 tbsp hemp parmesan
In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the warm water, the yeast, and the agave nectar. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, until frothy (this is to make sure the yeast is working).
Stir in the rest of the water, the pumpkin puree and olive oil, and whisk to combine. Add the salt, flour, and stir; continue stirring until the mixture starts to come together as a dough. (It will probably be quite sticky).
At this point you can either transfer the dough to a floured surface, or keep working on it inside the bowl. I prefer the latter, for easier cleanup. Knead the dough, adding a little bit more flour at a time as needed, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and fairly stretchy. I used between 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup of additional flour during the kneading process. You are looking for a dough that is quite tacky (moist), but doesn't stick to your fingers when you carefully handle it.
Very lightly oil the dough and let it rest in the bowl (or a new one), covered with a plate, damp towel, or plastic wrap (this is to keep the moisture in). Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. The time needed for this will vary depending on ambient conditions; mine took about an hour. I recommend preparing the garlic oil during this time; see instructions below.
Punch down the dough and get some extra flour ready. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
One at a time, grab big pinches of the dough, flour them, and roll them out into a thin rope shape. Then tie the rope into a knot. Place the knot onto your baking sheet; leave some space between the knots because they will grow in volume again while baking. The size of the garlic knots is up to you. I make approximately one dozen from this dough. You can weigh the dough and each section of it in order to ensure uniform size of the knots, but it's not necessary to do so.
Let the knotted knots rest (for no more than 15-20 minutes) while you preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush each knot comprehensively with the garlic-infused oil. Place the tray of pumpkin garlic knots in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, rotate the tray, and brush all of the garlic knots with a second coating of oil. Return to the oven and bake until lightly browned and crisp (5 to 10 more minutes; longer if you made them fairly large).
Once you remove the garlic knots from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes. Then, add them to a bowl along with the infused oil, and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle the garlic knots with parsley and vegan parmesan, if using, and serve immediately.
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container and reheated in the oven or toaster oven, but they're nowhere near as good as when fresh.
For the garlic-infused olive oil:
Warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic, salt, black and red pepper (if using). Continue to very gently simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is fragrant, the garlic is softened, and the flavor of garlic can be tasted in the oil itself.
MAKE AHEAD: After preparing the dough up until the point where you let it rise for 60 minutes, you can cover it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight, instead of in a warm place. The next day, bring the dough all the way back to room temperature before punching it down and continuing with the garlic knot making process. You can also make the hemp parmesan in advance, if using. The garlic infused in oil can be made earlier in the same day, but should also be brought completely to room temperature before using.
ALTERNATE FLOURS: Bread far, with its high protein content, is what helps make these pumpkin garlic knots so fluffy and easy to work with. All-purpose flour is a workable substitution. Whole grain flour will significantly decrease your enjoyment of these garlic knots, by giving them a grittier, denser texture and a more pronounced flavor that competes with the garlic. I have not tried gluten-free flour with these and imagine the recipe would require significant changes in order to be gluten-free.
Sources consulted: Emeril Lagasse, Never Homemaker
Whisking together the yeast mixture, pumpkin, and olive oil:
Adding and stirring in the flour:
You can now start kneading the dough with your hands – here it is just after starting to knead, and after finishing:
Garlic knot dough after rising to double its size:
Cute little pumpkin garlic knots ready to go in the oven! Note that mine don’t look very “perfect” at all. Doesn’t matter, they’re delicious!
Lightly browned pumpkin knots, just out of the oven and ready to be doused with garlicky olive oil!