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Monday, October 8, 2012

Let Them Eat Pumpkin!

One of the best things about fall is that it provides a wonderful excuse to consume all things pumpkin. Lately, I keep finding myself pinning TONS of pumpkin recipes on Pinterest. Sometimes I pin them to my Halloween board, sometimes to my Thanksgiving board. I just can't wait to try them all! There goes all the weight I lost during half-marathon training...

Of course you could make pumpkin fluff dip, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cake, pull-apart pumpkin spice bread, pumpkin pie white hot chocolate...but pumpkin is wonderful, beyond dessert. If you are a pumpkin enthusiast - a pumpkaholic, even - you can incorporate pumpkin into any meal. Yum!

Did you know that one-half cup of canned pure pumpkin contains only 40 calories, one-half gram of fat, no cholesterol, very low sodium, five grams of dietary fiber, 300% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, as well as some Vitamin E, Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and calcium. What's not to love about these rotund, orange, garden treasures?

Open a can of pumpkin and transfer to an air-tight storage container; keep it in the fridge and you'll have easy access to pumpkin puree throughout the week (or day) to make these wonderful meals.

BREAKFAST: Pumpkin-Bread Oatmeal

My mom makes amazing pumpkin bread every fall - the kind that bakes in tin coffee cans. Mmmm...I love it (and just realized, I have never asked her for the recipe because she always just makes it. Mental note: get the recipe.). This oatmeal is inspired by mom's pumpkin bread:

Pumpkin Bread Oatmeal

1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. water or milk/milk alternative
1/8 - 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (depending on how strong you like the taste)
1/8 c. raisins
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)

In microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients except the walnuts and brown sugar. Cook according to directions on the oatmeal container. Top with walnuts and brown sugar, if desired. Enjoy and have a great morning!

This serves one, but could easily be increased and cooked on the stove top, according to package directions.

LUNCH: Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

I'm a big fan of all things creamy. And I already mentioned my love for all things pumpkin. So why not put them together for a protein- and fiber-packed, delicious lunch?!

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

1 c. nonfat vanilla yogurt or Greek yogurt
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl. Enjoy as is, or add your favorite yogurt toppings (i.e., granola, chopped nuts, flaxseeds, dried fruit). You could even make a Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait by alternating layers of Pumpkin Pie Yogurt with layers of your favorite granola, nuts, and/or dried fruit in a tall, clear glass.

This could serve one or two, depending on what else you may or may not be eating for lunch. I usually eat the whole thing (one cup of nonfat yogurt has 130 calories, so the whole recipe is about 175 calories total) and then have an apple and some almonds later in the afternoon as a snack.

DINNER: Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup
I found this recipe on the Hungry Girl web site years ago, and have been making it often throughout the fall and winter seasons ever since. This is also my go-to recipe for Halloween because you can put it together earlier in the day, then leave it in the crock pot on low or warm while trick-or-treating. When you return with your loot, piping hot PUMPKIN soup is waiting for your dinner.

Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup

Non-stick cooking spray
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
4 c. fat-free vegetable broth
15 oz. can pure pumpkin
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. frozen or fresh corn
3/4 c. your favorite salsa
Optional toppings: shredded reduced-fat cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, additional salsa, chopped scallions, guacamole, finely chopped & seeded tomatoes

Spray a large pot with cooking spray and heat on medium. Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin; stir for one minute. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add pumpkin; mix well. Add remaining ingredients (except optional toppings) and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Enjoy with a "topping bar" of your favorite toppings. Serves 4.

Crock Pot Variation: In a skillet with non-stick cooking spray, saute garlic for about 30 seconds. Add chili powder and cumin; heat for another 30 seconds. Transfer to a crock pot with all other ingredients; mix well and set on low for 6 hours, or high 3 hours.

I hope you enjoy indulging in a day (or week...or month) of pumpkin. These really are delicious! If you are a fellow pumpkin enthusiast, please Post A Comment and share your favorite way to eat (or drink) pumpkin. As always, thanks for reading.


  1. These look amazing - I'm so excited to try ALL of these recipes! Is there a brand of pumpkin puree that you recommend?

  2. Hi Aliza! I'm glad you're excited about these recipes, and I hope you like the ones you try. Personally, I prefer Libby's brand, and it has to say "Pure Pumpkin;" you don't want pie filling. Libby's is probably the most widely available brand, and it's what my mom buys - so I guess I just gravitate to that one. I've tried an organic brand before, but it costs more than double. With such a thick skin, I'm not worried about organic vs. non-organic pumpkins. I hope that helps. Enjoy your pumpkin creations! :)


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