Pumpkin is rich in Vitamins A, C, and potassium. You can roast your own pumpkin, or you can pick up canned pumpkin as a quick & easy alternative. Look for canned versions that are pure pumpkin though, and not “pumpkin pie filling” which typically contains added sugar and/or spices.
Go beyond the pumpkin pie with these great recipe ideas:
- Add pumpkin to whole wheat pancake and waffle mixes for a fall twist on these yummy breakfasts.
- Try this recipe for 30-minute pumpkin soup, which combines pumpkins with other veggies like onion, corn, and bell pepper. Or try this recipe for pumpkin apple soup which has a bit of a sweeter taste.
- Love smoothies? Try an autumn smoothie made with milk (or almond/soy milk), pumpkin, banana, cinnamon, and ice cubes. You can also add in some flax seeds or chia seeds for an omega-3 boost!
- Baked goods like muffins or quick breads are perfect places to add vegetables like pumpkin, grated carrots, or grated zucchini.
- Dice fresh pumpkin and roast with sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and/or butternut squash for a great fall veggie feast.
- The Fruits and Veggies More Matters campaign suggests stuffing the pumpkin with apples, pineapple, raisins, and spices. then baking it for a delicious dessert. Check out the recipe here.
- Add pumpkin puree to creamy pasta sauces (made with milk instead of cream, of course) for extra nutrition and flavor.
And of course, use those seeds too! Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium (which may help with migraine prevention) and zinc (involved in keeping your immune system in tip top shape). Plus, they pack a lot of fiber and protein, making them a great snack choice. Here are some basic roasting instructions:
1-2 tsp olive oil, depending on the amount of seeds
Pinch of salt
1) Preheat oven to 300F.
2) Remove the seeds and clean off the pulp and any stringy stuff.
3) In a bowl, toss seeds with olive oil and salt.
4) Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for 25-45 minutes (longer for more seeds), or until golden brown.
And check out these great ideas:
- You can mix up the basic roasting recipe above by using different seasonings. For example, do you want a slightly sweet pumpkin seed? Try a little cinnamon and brown sugar. Want a spicy pumpkin seed? Try some chili powder and cayenne pepper.
- Sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds on top of your favorite salad for added flavor and crunch, like in this recipe for a baby spinach, avocado and pumpkin seed salad.
- Create a healthy trail mix using whole grain cereals, dried fruit, and roasted pumpkin seeds. This is a perfect snack to take on a fall hike to see the changing leaves!
- Instead of using pine nuts to make pesto, try substituting roasted pumpkin seeds! You can experiment with different greens besides basil too – try cilantro, parsley, or arugula.
- Grind roasted pumpkin seeds and use them to coat raw chicken or fish to make a pumpkin seed crusted dish.
- Mix oatmeal with a little canned pumpkin and cinnamon, and then top with roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of roasted vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, or green beans.