3 healthy recipes for getting your pumpkin fix this fall

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By: Maria Haisley, RDN
Martin's Health and Wellness Advisor in partnership with Beacon Health System

Kam Abbott/Flickr

Sometimes we forget that pumpkins can be used for more than carving and decoration!

I have to admit, I actually use pumpkin all throughout the year because it is just that good. Fall weather, flavors, spices and aromas are my absolute favorite! There’s just something so relaxing about waking up to a homemade pumpkin spice latte on a Saturday morning.

Even better than the sweet and savory flavor of pumpkin, there are many health benefits to eating pumpkin as well!

A pumpkin’s bright orange color means it’s full of carotenoids, which is beneficial for eye health and immune function. Pumpkin also contains antioxidants and is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, B and dietary fiber.

To select a pumpkin for cooking, choose a heavy one — it has smaller space in the middle, which means more flesh for you to cook with! A fresh pumpkin can be hard to work with, but trust me, it is well worth it in the end!

If you do buy canned pumpkin, select “pure” canned pumpkin, because a pumpkin pie mix will have added sugars and other ingredients.

Here are some tried and true pumpkin recipes that I am sure you will love. First up is a smoothie that you will find yourself craving even in the summer!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Makes approximately 2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk (add more as needed to adjust consistency)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • Sweetener of choice, to taste
    (Use 1 tsp. pure maple syrup, honey or try a Stevia blend for lower calories!)

Directions

  1. Scoop the pureed pumpkin, milk and banana into a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add more milk if you would like a thinner consistency.
  2. Add pumpkin pie spice and sweetener to your taste preference and blend once more to mix in the flavors.
  3. Enjoy right away or keep in fridge for one day.

For coffee lovers, here is a healthy version of the Starbucks PSL!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups skim milk (or unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk)
  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (pure maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup of strong brewed coffee or two shots of espresso

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, whisk together milk, pumpkin and sweetener and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice. Using a hand blender or wire whisk, blend the pumpkin mixture until smooth.
  3. Stir in brewed coffee, pour into mugs and enjoy!

Now for my crunchy granola lovers, you will want this on everything!

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Makes 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ½ cup of maple syrup
  • ¼ cup of pure pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients.
  2. In small bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Whisk together. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients, toss to coat and make sure everything is covered.
  3. On a lined baking sheet, spread out the granola mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning the granola every 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool.

What’s your favorite recipe using fresh pumpkin?

Be Well,
Maria

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