Ahh, fall… sweaters, leggings, boots…and PUMPKIN EVERYTHING, y’all!
Beyond the beautiful decor, autumn brings, this is a great time to embrace the health benefits of the harvest season with some healthy pumpkin recipes.
There is nothing basic about pumpkin, let’s squash that misconception right now.
Health highlights of pumpkin include:
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Low in fat
- Low in calories
- Contains fiber
- High antioxidant (may help reduce the risk of disease & cancer)
- High carotenoids (helps promote healthy skin)
These benefits are reason alone to enjoy delectable, healthy pumpkin recipes this season! Plus eating pumpkin offers a chance to add orange foods to your rainbow plate.
Tips for Healthy Pumpkin Cooking
If you’ve never cooked a pumpkin before, you may have some questions. I’m happy to share some quick tips to help you enjoy your pumpkin-cookin’ experience.
How the heck do I cook this thing?!
Tip #1 Let’s talk a little bit about roasting a pumpkin. It’s actually super simple!
- Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise.
- Scoop out the seeds/strings (or “guts,” as we call it).
- Coat the pumpkin flesh with olive oil using a brush.
- Place the pieces insides-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (or until a fork can be pressed into the skin)
- Remove from oven, cool for 15 minutes
- Scoop out pumpkin flesh and throw in a blender to purée!
How in the gourd do I pick a pumpkin?!
Tip #2 When choosing a pumpkin to roast, I typically recommend a 2-3 pound sugar pumpkin (also called sweet pumpkins or pie pumpkins).
Is there a short-cut?
Tip #3 If you are short on time, you can totally use store-bought pumpkin puree. Be sure to pick up the “pure” pumpkin rather than the pumpkin pie filling that has added spices and sweeteners.
With these tips in mind, let’s get cookin’ with some healthy pumpkin recipes!
Pretty Pumpkin Soup [Gluten-free & Vegan-friendly]
Get the comfort of a fall flavor without the guilt! This gluten-free and vegan-friendly pumpkin soup will warm you up on even the most blustery of fall days. It’s a great healthy option for holiday entertainment and even freezes well for simple meal prep!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cups pumpkin purée
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Optional: add 2 tablespoons honey, if you want a sweeter taste
- Optional: garnish with pepitas
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once oil is simmering, add onion, garlic, and salt to the pot. Stir to combine, and stir occasionally, until onion is translucent, usually takes 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Add in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the soup from heat and add the coconut milk (and honey, if desired). Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot, or blend it in batches in your blender. Be careful, as it will be hot! Blend the mixture until smooth. Transfer the puréed soup to bowl for serving.
- Freeze leftovers for easy meal prep!
Pleasant Pumpkin Oatmeal [Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker]
If you have an Instant Pot in your kitchen, you know how time-saving it is! No need to use up your cheat-meal on pancakes or muffins for breakfast when you can throw together this recipe for a speedy, protein-and-pumpkin-packed oatmeal breakfast!
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use LadyBossⓇ LEAN)
- Optional: garnish with 1 tablespoon walnuts and 1 tablespoon golden raisins
- Tips – add more pumpkin spice for more pumpkin flavor, add more LadyBossⓇ LEAN for a sweeter taste.
- Add water, oats, flaxseed, and pumpkin spice to pressure cooker and stir to combine.
- Securely lock pressure cooker lid and press the manual setting and set on HIGH for 5 minutes.
- Perform a quick release to release the cooker’s pressure.
- Stir in pumpkin and LadyBossⓇ LEAN.
- Top with garnishes if desired.
- Freeze in individual containers for simple food prep!
Protein Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
A healthy twist on a sweet, seasonal treat! Need healthy snacks to lose weight? Take a pass on the pumpkin bread, and try these cookies! They will give you the taste of pumpkin and chocolate with the added bonus of being packed with protein to keep you fuller longer (and so you don’t eat the whole batch for dessert!).
- ½ cup oat flour
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 scoop LadyBossⓇ LEAN or vanilla protein powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl and stir until smooth.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Drop by spoonful on a cookie sheet, flatten the top of the cookie with the back of the spoon.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until cookies are firm on the outside.
Create healthier, better-for-you choices
This changing season often leads to overindulging on sweets and treats, especially with the added enticement of the fall holidays. These low-fat pumpkin recipes will help you enjoy this beautiful time of year guilt-free and help you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle goals!
Latest posts by Coach Rachael, MS, BS, ACSM, NASM (see all)
- 3 Low-fat Pumpkin Recipes for Fall - October 2, 2019
- Should I Workout When I Am Sick? - September 10, 2019
- 5 Ways to Incorporate Mind-Body Exercises Into Your Daily Workout - August 7, 2019