From coffee drinks to ice cream and everything in between, the delicious flavor of pumpkin finds its way into many a meal once autumn arrives. But, some pumpkin-flavored products can be on the not-so-healthy side. Here are some ideas for healthy pumpkin recipes for both sweet and savory fall dishes.
Pumpkin nutrition and tips
Pumpkins are part of the squash family and offer an array of vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked pumpkin provides just 49 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fiber. They’re also an excellent source of Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C.
Just like other vegetables, pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes. Pumpkin varieties have festive fun names including Cinderella, Sugar Pie, and Harvest Moon. Select pumpkins that are firm and heavy for their size, regardless of their shape. Store them in a cool, dark place for up to two months.
Most recipes will call for cooked, pureed pumpkin. You can use canned or make your own. To prepare your own cooked pumpkin you’ll need to select a pie pumpkin, which is much smaller than the usual jack-o-lantern varieties.
Simply cut the pumpkin in small chunks and remove the seeds and pulp, place the pumpkin pieces in a roasting pan with ¼ inch water, and cook at 300°F until tender. Scoop the flesh of the pumpkin away from the skin and blend or mash until smooth. Use in any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin. Other recipes will call for cubed fresh pumpkin for cooking in soups or to be roasted in the oven. You also can collect, wash, season, and roast the pumpkin seeds for a crunchy seasonal snack.
Recipe ideas to get you started:
• Add 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree (canned or homemade) to 1 package of instant plain oatmeal. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and sweeten with 2 teaspoons of honey.
• For a healthy pumpkin breakfast smoothie, add ½ cup pumpkin puree, ½ banana, ¾ cup fat-free vanilla yogurt, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 cup crushed ice into a blender and blend until smooth.
• Prepare 3 cups pumpkin into small cubes, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and fresh ground pepper. Roast at 350°F for 45 minutes until brown and caramelized. Let cool and toss with field greens, dried cranberries, walnuts, and a reduced fat balsamic dressing for a delicious fall salad.
• Mix ½ cup canned pumpkin with ½ cup fat-free plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and 2 tablespoon maple syrup. Serve with apple and pear slices for a delicious and healthy pumpkin dip.
• Add cubed fresh pumpkin to your favorite chili recipe or in place of the meat. Keep in mind that the cubed pumpkin pieces will take about 40 minutes to cook over a low simmer.
• For a lower calorie cake, add 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin to 1 box of chocolate or spice cake mix. Mix well (it will be very thick) and bake at 400°F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• Combine 1 cup of pureed pumpkin and 2/3 cup evaporated milk with 2 tablespoon each of: lime juice, peanut butter, chopped green onions, minced garlic, sugar, and cilantro. Drizzle in 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce. Serve as a dip for grilled chicken skewers and kebabs.
Did you know your local ShopRite stores offer complimentary nutrition services from registered dietitians? For more pumpkin recipe ideas, free nutrition counseling, or other health and wellness information, contact your ShopRite dietitian today!
ShopRite of Niskayuna: Sarah Ender MS, RD – 491.0050
ShopRite of Albany: Adrian Alle, RD – 708.3445
ShopRite of Colonie: Amy Imler, RD – 598.4970
ShopRite of Slingerlands: Kristin Caponera, MS, RD, CDN – 708.7815
Roasted pumpkin wedges with maple-chipotle glaze
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4
• 1 2-lb. pumpkin
• 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
• 1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
• 1⁄3 cup minced chipotle peppers
in adobo sauce
• 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
• 1⁄4 tsp. salt
• 1⁄8 tsp. curry powder
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Cut pumpkin into 4 wedges; remove seeds. Drop into boiling water; partially cover. Boil 10 to 15 minutes or until tender; drain well.
2. Meanwhile, for glaze, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in chipotle sauce, maple syrup, salt and curry powder; cook 1 minute.
3. Place pumpkin wedges, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish. Spoon glaze into cavities. Roast 15 minutes, basting once with pan glaze. Remove from oven, spoon any remaining pan glaze on wedges, and serve.
Nutrition per serving: 113 calories; 3g fat; 2g saturated fat; 8mg cholesterol; 271mg sodium; 613mg potassium; 22g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 2g protein; 253% vitamin A; 25% vitamin C; 11% iron, 6% calcium.