Whether you love it or you hate it, it's pumpkin season!
While most seasonal pumpkin recipes just add artificial flavors and sugar, pumpkin, the squash itself, is a very nutritious food you can use to make a variety of easy, healthy recipes. It's low in calories and high in potassium and beta-carotene, with a naturally sweet flavor that compliments both sweet and savory dishes.
You can buy canned pumpkin puree from the store to make these healthy pumpkin recipes (just not pumpkin pie filling! Check the label!) but we recommend making your own easy pumpkin puree at home.
- Simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the tops off your pumpkins and halve them (small sugar pumpkins work best but you can use any type.)
- Use a sharp spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings and discard, or save for the roasted pumpkin seed recipe below.
- Brush the flesh of your pumpkins with oil and place face down on a baking sheet or in a casserole dish.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork tender.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Then peel off the skin and mash or puree the flesh.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles
(Recipe from The Lemon Bowl)
These healthy pumpkin waffles are so packed with protein and fiber they'll keep you full all day. Make a big batch and freeze them individually for a quick and healthy breakfast.
- 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup low fat milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup ground flax seed
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp salt
- chopped walnuts and additional maple syrup for garnish
Preheat your waffle iron. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: pumpkin through vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour through salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just blended. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and pour on ½ cup of batter. Cook until golden brown and crispy around the edges. Garnish with walnuts and syrup, or they are just as delicious as-is!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(Recipe from Simply Recipes)
Don't throw out those seeds! That gooey mess you're left with after carving pumpkins or making your own puree creates a delicious and healthy snack. Try the basic recipe below, or add a little more spice by sprinkling them with smoked paprika, cumin, or chile powder right before sliding them in the oven.
- Seeds and guts from one medium sized pumpkin
- Olive oil
Place the mass of pumpkin seeds and strings in a colander and rinse under running water, separating the seeds from the rest. When finished, measure the pumpkin seeds in cups. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt for every half cup of pumpkin seeds you have. Bring the saucepan to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil. Spread the seeds in a single layer in the roasting pan in a single layer, and shake a bit to coat in the oil. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, about 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Keep an eye on them, the scorch easily. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool before eating.
Healthy Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce
(Recipe from The Picky Eater)
This indulgent sounding twist on traditional squash ravioli is shockingly only 250 calories per serving. You can use ravioli pasta if you would like, but wonton wrappers taste similar and are so easy to work with you may want to save yourself the trouble.
Pumpkin Ravioli Ingredients:
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 Tbsp dry whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp minced fresh sage
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 30 round wonton wrappers
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- Cooking spray
Gorgonzola Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup fat-free milk
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 3 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
Spoon pumpkin onto several layers of paper towels and spread out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with more paper towels, press lightly, and let stand 5 minutes to remove moisture. Scrape the pumpkin into a medium bowl and stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, minced sage, pepper, and nutmeg. Using 1 wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 2 teaspoons of pumpkin filling into the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water using your finger and fold in half, pressing the edges firmly to create a half-moon. Place on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch and repeat with the rest of your wrappers. Fill a large pot of water to a simmer- not a boil! It will be too violent for your fragile ravioli. Cook the ravioli in batches, 2 minutes at a time, stirring gently. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon and lightly coat with cooking spray. Optional: To improve the texture of the ravioli, lightly pan-fry the ravioli over medium heat for a couple minutes on each side. To make the sauce: Combine milk and flour in a saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. Stir in Gorgonzola. Divide ravioli onto plates and drizzle each serving with 3 tablespoons Gorgonzola sauce and top with 1 1/2 teaspoons walnuts. Serve immediately.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip
(Recipe from DietsInReview)
With just 5 ingredients, this easy and healthy pumpkin cheese dip is a great appetizer to whip up when unexpected guests arrive. Serve with graham crackers for a sweet surprise.
- 1 brick neufchatel cream cheese
- 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
- 1-2 Tbsp honey
- Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine using either an electric mixer or by hand using a rubber spatula. Cover and chill, or serve immediately.
Easy, Healthy Pumpkin Pie
(Recipe from Food Babe)
You can't have pumpkin without pumpkin pie! This lightened up version uses coconut milk for a unique flavor and smooth, creamy texture you'll love.
- ½ cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
- 1 can (13.5 oz.) full fat coconut milk
- 1 prepared 9-inch pie shell (unbaked)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and puree. Pour filling ingredients into pie shell and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for at least 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Easy Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
(Recipe from Greatist)
While you may want to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast (and we can't say we blame you) this is the next best thing: it has all the great flavor of the classic dessert while fueling you with whole grain oats, laying the foundation for lasting energy and controlled appetite all day long.
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 Tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
- Pinch cinnamon (optional)
In a pot over medium heat, bring oats and milk to a boil. Turn down heat to medium-low and add pumpkin, stirring constantly for 5 to 7 minutes. Add spices and vanilla, and stir for another 5 to 7 minutes. Pour into a bowl and add toppings, as desired.
Healthier Pumpkin Bread
(Recipe from Little Spice Jar)
The hint of orange in this pumpkin bread recipe will keep everyone guessing – but it'll just be our little secret.
- 1¾ cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp all spice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1½ cups pumpkin puree
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp orange extract
- ¼ cup apple cider, no sugar added
- 3 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9" x 5" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, all spice, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, oil, orange zest, vanilla extract, orange extract and apple cider. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix until just incorporated. Batter may be lumpy. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus
(Recipe from Pinch of Yum)
This is one easy pumpkin recipe that will have you wondering, "why didn't I ever think of that?" Try this extra creamy hummus with fresh vegetables, warm naan or as a spread on your favorite sandwich.
- 1-2 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- aÂÂ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- ½ tsp finely minced fresh rosemary
- salt to taste
To roast the garlic, simmer the peeled cloves in a small saucepan with some olive oil for 15-20 minutes on low heat. Added bonus: you have a little garlic infused olive oil to use in a different recipe. Puree all the ingredients except the rosemary until smooth. Add more oil or water as needed. Once you have your desired consistency, stir in the rosemary and serve.
Simple Pumpkin Soup
(Recipe from Minimalist Baker)
If you really want to impress your guests, serve this simple soup in hollowed-out sugar pumpkins for a fancy, fall-inspired presentation.
- 2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups veggie stock
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
Garlic Kale Sesame Topping Ingredients:
- 1 cup roughly chopped kale
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt
In a large saucepan, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, shallot and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, over medium-low heat, until slightly browned and translucent. Add all remaining ingredients in the pan and bring to a simmer. Transfer the soup mixture to a blender or use an emulsion blender to puree the soup. If you are using a blender, place a towel over the top of the lid to let heat escape without making a mess. Pour mixture back into pot and continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. To make Garlic Kale Sesame topping: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Add olive oil and garlic to the same pan and sauté about 2 minutes until golden brown. Add kale and toss, add a pinch of salt, and then cover to steam. Cook a few minutes more, until kale wilts, then add tasted sesame seeds. Toss to coat and place on top of soup before serving.
Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites
(Recipe from Gimme Some Oven)
Make big batches of these energy bites and keep therm in a tupperware in the fridge for an quick, energizing snack anytime you need a pick me up.
- 8 oz. (about 1 cup) chopped dates
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked)
- 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia or flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats, coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so it's easier to work with. Once the mixture is cool, use a spoon to shape your desired size of energy balls, usually 1 inch in diameter. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.