Matthew Kaplan is the Editor for FaveDiets.com, a free online resource featuring hundreds of free healthy recipes, healthy cooking tips and loads more. Be sure to check out FaveDiets on Facebook and on Twitter.
Oh, pumpkins – what would fall be without you? After all, from Jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin pie, it is awfully hard to avoid those seemingly ubiquitous orange orbs this time of year. Try as you might, pumpkins are always the “it” food item this time of year.
However, while pumpkins and pumpkin dishes appear everywhere, the one place where they rarely make an appearance is the average home kitchen. This is too bad, as pumpkin recipes are delicious and, when done right, highly nutritious as well. If you have seemingly banned pumpkin from your recipe repertoire, then it’s time to reconsider.
When it comes to pumpkin, go with canned pumpkin recipes. If you wanted to try your hand at fresh pumpkin recipes, by all means cut up your own pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, cut away the skin, chop into chunks, roast the chunks and then puree the chunks. Of course, for the rest of us, this is way too cumbersome. Canned pumpkin is great because it does all of the work for you. Just be sure to choose cans of 100 percent pure pumpkin and not canned pumpkin pie filling. You don’t want to be adding any extra sugar to your canned pumpkin recipes.
To get started, try adding in canned pumpkin to your favorite baked goods. To add festive fall flair to no-yeast baking dishes like muffins and quick breads, sub in equal parts canned pumpkin for oil or melted butter. In many baking recipes, the fat adds moisture and flavor to the dish, which pureed pumpkin also adds. The same concept applies to eggs in many baking dishes, where you can easily use ¼ cup pureed pumpkin for every egg. Try this out next time you make a batch of bran muffins or banana bread to make the end dish healthier and seasonal.
Substituting in pure pumpkin not only adds heaps of flavor to a recipe, but it makes the dish that much better for you. One cup of pure canned pumpkin has only 83 calories with just 1 gram of fat. Plus, pumpkins are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron and manganese. So by adding pumpkin to your recipes, you’re doing a great service to both your taste buds and your whole body.
- Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins
- Super Easy Pumpkin Cake
- Yogurt Pumpkin Pie
- Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies
- Pumpkin Biscotti
- Pumpkin Pancakes
Of course, pumpkin can be used for more than just sweet treats, as it makes a fabulous addition to a wide array of savory dishes. Here are my favorite healthy savory pumpkin recipes:
- Hearty Pumpkin Soup
- Pumpkin Envelope Pies
- Lemon Lentils with Pumpkin
- Indian-Style Pumpkin Pie
- Sweet Pumpkin Polenta
- Pizza Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Easy Pumpkin Chili
Regardless of what recipe you choose, know that you are doing your whole body some good by cooking with pumpkin. Enjoy the season’s best flavors!