Pumpkin season has finally returned! To celebrate this most vibrant time of the year, we have gathered 20 healthy pumpkin recipes, including appetizers, main courses, desserts, and drinks! We hope these recipes will help you plan your meals and stay on track with your diet when the holiday season begins. But before we start, let’s learn about the star of the show: pumpkin.
Health Benefits of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are more than just an ingredient for the famous pumpkin spice latte, or a mere spooky lantern to decorate your house with on All Hallow’s Eve. They deserve more attention than just during Halloween and Thanksgiving. Why? Because they are a versatile food that can easily be added to your meal, and we have 20 pumpkin recipes to give you some ideas, but we’ll get to that later.
Pumpkins are considered a healthy food. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, nutrition facts in 100g unsalted cooked pumpkin are as follows:
- Energy: 20kcal
- Protein: 0.72g
- Total fat: 0.07g
- Carbohydrate: 4.90g
- Dietary fiber: 1.1g
- Total sugars: 2.08g
As you can see, pumpkin is a relatively low calorie food that is also high in fiber. This can be beneficial for anyone who’s on a diet as the high fiber content helps slow down digestion, making you feel full for longer. Eating fiber-rich plant-food such as pumpkin can potentially help reduce the risk of obesity as well.
Pumpkins are also packed with lots of micronutrients, including vitamins A and C. The source of vitamin A in pumpkin is from beta-carotene, a compound that is responsible for pumpkin’s vibrant orange color. Vitamin A can be beneficial in lowering the risk of eye problems.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has many medicinal properties such as boosting immunity, preventing memory loss, and possibly reducing the risks of inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.
Pumpkins also contain many other micronutrients including potassium, vitamin B12, and vitamin E. They are all antioxidants that are important in maintaining a healthy body. And that is why pumpkins are considered a nutrient-dense food.
One last interesting fact: pumpkins are actually fruits, not vegetables! And this seasonal fruit is so versatile that it can be added into hundreds of healthy recipes. For your convenience we’ve picked out 20 of the best. Let’s start with appetizers and side dishes.
Simple Pumpkin Appetizers and Side Dishes
If you’re having a Halloween pumpkin carving party, save those pumpkin seeds for this recipe. That’s right: the seeds are perfectly edible, and they are delicious! To prepare them for roasting, simply scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin, remove the stringy pulp, wash, and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. The only difficult task to do in this recipe is picking out your favorite spice blend to season the seeds!
Salads being bland and boring is simply a misconception. This honey roast pumpkin quinoa salad will do you justice. It is visually appealing, packed with nutrients, and interesting with lots of different textures. And you can customize the recipe to your liking— that is one of the best things about making salads.
Forget about french fries, these oven baked parmesan fries should be your new favorite! Frying with a ton of hot oil can be scary and dangerous, but don’t worry- unlike your traditional fries, this savory crispy treat only requires a bit of oil to help the fries crisp up in the oven and enhance the overall flavor of the dish. In this recipe, grated parmesan cheese is what gives the fries a unique savory taste.
If you think hummus cannot be any tastier, think again! The pumpkin really takes the dip to a whole new level: it gives the hummus a creamier texture and a warm fall flavor with a hint of sweetness. And the recipe is beyond easy! It only requires a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes to come together!
Delicious Pumpkin Main Dishes
When it’s pumpkin season, you cannot miss out on classic recipes like pumpkin soup. We know some of you might consider soup a side dish, but eating soup for a meal is a great weight loss scheme. This one is vegan-friendly, low on fat, calories, and carbs, and full of nutrients— perfect for anyone who’s following a healthy eating plan and those who enjoys delicious, fall comfort food!
Autumn is a great season where you get to eat warm and comforting food, but comfort food can be unhealthy. No worries, this pumpkin curry is loaded with vegetables, spices, and bursting with flavors— making it diet-friendly, warm, and comforting. It’s so delicious that you may not even care that it doesn’t contain any meat!
This creamy pumpkin pasta with spinach and mushrooms recipe is proof that vegan food can be as flavorsome as non-vegan food. But how can it be creamy without butter or heavy cream? That, my friend, is the work of the pumpkin. To make the creamy pumpkin sauce, you will need to roast the pumpkin chunks with garlic and herbs until they are tender. Then blend them with vegetable broth to make a silky smooth pasta sauce. Mix the pasta with the sauce, add chopped nuts to garnish, and voilà! Easy, healthy, delicious, vegan-friendly pasta for everyone!
Wrapping ravioli is probably one of the most enjoyable culinary activities. Imagine sitting down with your loved ones on the weekend, wrapping a big batch of ravioli while talking about how everyone’s week went. It takes a bit of labor, but you’ll get rewarded with delicious, cheesy ravioli with sweet pumpkin filling.
Pro-tip: instead of using canned pumpkin, you should make your own pumpkin puree by roasting chunks of pumpkin with herbs in the oven until they are beautifully charred and tender. This will intensify the sweet pumpkin flavor.
Creamy. Earthy. Aromatic. Full of flavors. Comforting. Those are the words to describe this healthy pumpkin mushroom risotto recipe. If you’re nervous about making risotto at home for the first time, don’t be. The cooking method is more than easy. Spoiler alert: it’s mostly stirring the rice until cooked.
Healthy Pumpkin Desserts and Sweet Treats
What better way to start a day than a plate of warm, fluffy pancakes? Adding pumpkin puree to the pancake batter will not only make them soft, but is also a great way to sneak more fiber and vitamins into your diet. In less than 30 minutes, you will have a big pile of delicious whole wheat pumpkin pancakes to enjoy (preferably with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.)
These pumpkin oatmeal breakfast bars are probably one of the most ultimate “super breakfast” recipes we’ve ever come across. These energy bars are packed with autumn flavors— cinnamon and pumpkin spice blend, sweet pumpkin puree, and nutty buttery pecans. Every bite you take is a delectable piece of autumn.
Pumpkin in a cookie? Yes, please! These pumpkin cookies only take about 30 minutes of your time to come together. They are also vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb! These sweet treats are tasty on their own, but you can decorate them with melted chocolate to make them pretty (and even more delicious as well!)
Traditional doughnuts can be bad for your health as they are deep-fried and contain a high amount of fat. Don’t let this hold you back from eating your favorite doughnut! Any dessert can be made healthy, and so can doughnuts! Try this healthy baked pumpkin doughnuts recipe for a change! They have a spongy, cakey texture— different from a soft, fluffy, old-fashioned doughnut, but they are just as tasty!
These gluten-free pumpkin muffins cannot get any easier. Like many other muffin recipes, all you need to do is separate wet and dry ingredients, and then combine the 2 mixtures until homogenized. Something that makes this recipe stand out is that it is gluten-free. Now your gluten-intolerant friends can enjoy these delicious autumn muffins, too!
Another autumn classic recipe: pumpkin pie! This one is our attempt to make it healthier by cutting down as much sweetener as we can. Don’t worry, the pie is still sweet enough thanks to the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. Now that is what we call a healthy dessert!
Unlike other cheesecakes, this pumpkin cheesecake is crustless, low on carbs and fat! We decided to go bold and unconventional on this one by removing the crust, thus cutting a tremendous amount of carbs. And once again, we reduced the amount of sweetener to make the cake lighter and let the natural sweetness of the pumpkin stand out. The sweetness from the pumpkin balances out the rich taste of the cream cheese, creating a harmony in every mouthful.
This gluten-free pumpkin bread is so simple to make— you’ll only need 10 minutes to mix the ingredients, transfer the batter to a loaf pan, and place in the oven. Let the oven work its magic for an hour or so and you will have a light and moist pumpkin bread. This recipe is also vegan-friendly so your vegan friends can enjoy it as well!
Easy-to-make Pumpkin Beverages
This recipe is dedicated to all Potterheads out there who would love to create their own pumpkin juice! If you think the only way to get this magically delicious drink is to hop on board the Hogwarts Express, think again, because now you can make it at home! Then again, it would be nice to get on the train and travel to the wizarding world… another time!
Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, because you are going to be amazed by this homemade pumpkin chai latte recipe! This hot beverage is simply made for autumn with all its warm spices— cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and star anise. Once you get a taste of the latte, all those aromatics warm you right up and lift you off your feet immediately!
If you like pumpkin pie, chances are you would like this healthy pumpkin smoothie as well. Imagine a slice of pumpkin pie in liquid form because this smoothie tastes just like one! And the best part about it is that it only takes 5 minutes to make! No more long hours of anticipation till you get to have a taste of that pumpkin pie spice!