The Best Healthy Pumpkin Recipes – Health Benefits, How to Cut, and How to Make Homemade Puree
If fall had a culinary mascot, it would be pumpkin. In recent years, pumpkin has made its way into just about every aisle at the grocery store. With or without its rise to #PSL fame, pumpkin has always held a special place in my heart and kitchen. My extensive list of Healthy Pumpkin Recipes is proof of just how much I adore this famous ingredient, in both sweet and savory recipes!
When the leaves start to turn an array of beautiful colors, and there’s the first chill in the air, turn to the welcoming arms of these healthy pumpkin recipes.
Pumpkin on its own is mild, meaning its flavor can blend beautifully with a myriad of other ingredients. Pumpkin is healthy and versatile. This list includes everything from a milkshake to soup! If you want a healthy pumpkin recipe for breakfast, it’s here! Maybe you’re thinking about a healthy pumpkin recipe for dessert? That’s here too!
While I’ll certainly envision myself on a beach at many points in the coming months, for today, I’m embracing fall in its most pumpkin perfect form. I’ve also learned that most people won’t judge your pumpkin obsession as long as you share the results!
Before sharing my extensive list of healthy pumpkin recipes, I want to share a little about pumpkins themselves.
What Are The Health Benefits of Pumpkins?
PLOT TWIST: Pumpkin is scientifically considered a fruit.
Technical designation/trivia blurb aside, because pumpkin nutritionally resembles a vegetable, many people in the culinary community consider it to be in the vegetable category for recipes. It contains loads of nutrients, which is excellent news for those of us who want to enjoy it in mass quantities.
- You can find the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and many others in pumpkin.
- Pumpkin contains Vitamins A and C, which may boost your immune system and protect your eyesight.*
- Pumpkin is high in nutrients and fiber while also being low in calories (a typical 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree is only about 50 calories), so it may aid in weight loss or maintenance.*
What Food Can You Make With Pumpkins?
As this list of recipes (and the Target seasonal aisle) shows, you can make SO many things with pumpkin!
I’ve created healthy pumpkin recipes for every meal, occasion, and craving you may have. Of course, pumpkin recipes for dessert have become the most popular in recent years, but pumpkin recipes for dinner are some of my favorites too.
How Do You Cut and Cook a Pumpkin for Homemade Puree?
If you’re anything like me, the idea of buying a whole pumpkin and preparing it for a recipe sounds difficult. I tend to opt for canned pumpkin for the speed and convenience.
THAT SAID, if you are ready to take your pumpkin love to the next level, are looking for healthy fresh pumpkin recipes, or would like a hands-on fall family activity, here’s a healthy pumpkin puree recipe that uses a fresh pumpkin.
How to Pick a Pumpkin
- For pumpkin puree you’ll want to find a 4 to 6 pound sugar pumpkin (typically referred to in stores as “pie pumpkins”), which will yield about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of pumpkin puree (over 30 ounces).
- While the field pumpkins you can find at the pumpkin patch are great for carving, they usually have watery, stringy flesh and are not great for cooking.
How to Make Pumpkin Puree
- First, you need to scrub and clean the outside of the pumpkin with water to remove any visible dirt.
- Next, cut off the stem, and slice the pumpkin in half from top to bottom (either cut off the stem or slice right down through or beside it). Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and fibers from each half (an ice cream scoop also works well here).
- Sprinkle a little kosher salt over the fleshy side of the pumpkin halves. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay the cut halves flesh side down.
- Bake the pumpkin at 325 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes. When the flesh is pulling off the skin, and you can easily stick a knife in the pumpkin, it’s done.
- Let your pumpkin halves cool completely (about 1 hour). Then, use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to remove the roasted flesh from the skin.
- Transfer your flesh to the bowl of a food processor. If you used a larger pumpkin, you may need to do this in a couple batches. Process for 3 to 5 minutes until smooth.
- Pour your homemade pumpkin puree into ziptop bags or other airtight storage containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Which Bit of the Pumpkin Do You Cook?
- While the entire pumpkin is edible (crazy, right?!), the interior flesh and pumpkin seeds are the most commonly used components.
- If you’re feeling adventurous and try cooking a unique part (the stem, for example), I’d love to hear the results in the comments below.
Recommended Tools to Make Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
- Small Whisk. I love this whisk so much that I bought two! It’s smaller than most whisks, which makes it ideal for stirring ingredients without splashing everywhere.
- This is my absolute favorite loaf pan for making healthy pumpkin bread recipes. (It comes in a 9×5-inch size also.)
- I love this spatula. I use it for tons of these recipes, plus it’s easy to clean and heatproof.
- 12 cup muffin tin. I love using this muffin tin when making one of my pumpkin muffin recipes.
- Paper liners. Some of the muffin recipes are super moist, so you may want to use liners to avoid sticking.
- Scoop. My favorite way to perfectly portion any of these healthy pumpkin muffin recipes. A scoop also will help create ideal “dome” tops.
And now, it’s time for the ultimate list of delicious healthy pumpkin recipes!
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Dinner
If you haven’t tried pumpkin in a savory recipe, you have been missing out! Pumpkin makes for delightfully creamy results, is a mild (sometimes imperceptible) way to add additional vegetables, and elevates the flavors in each of these recipes.
Healthy Pumpkin Dessert Recipes
One of the most popular ways to enjoy healthy pumpkin recipes is through a dessert! Pumpkin is naturally moist, so it’s ideal for lightened up baking.
Pumpkin pie spices shine in each of the below recipes. Whether you want perfectly spiced cookies or a moist, fluffy cake, there’s a healthy pumpkin dessert recipe for you.
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Pumpkin Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
- Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies
Healthy Pumpkin Muffin Recipes
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’re certainly aware of my deep love and appreciation for delicious, fluffy, and moist homemade muffins (check out my complete list of healthy muffin recipes for the full assortment). These healthy pumpkin muffin recipes are some of my favorites, and they’re freezer friendly too.
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins
- Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
- You can also bake many of the below healthy pumpkin bread recipes in a muffin tin.
Healthy Pumpkin Bread
This list is a testament to just how much I adore healthy pumpkin bread recipes. Pumpkin lends itself so naturally to healthy baking, so you’ll never notice that these are lightened up. Each of these recipes produces a pumpkin bread that is irresistibly moist and flavorful, and they will make your house smell incredible while they bake.
Enjoy a slice (or several) for breakfast, a yummy snack, or even dessert. I like to spread my pumpkin bread with almond butter at breakfast to make it even more filling it. Try a slice with Nutella for dessert!
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Paleo Pumpkin Bread
- Healthy Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- Homemade Pumpkin Monkey Bread
Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Breakfast
You can have pumpkin for breakfast! Skip the cost and calories of a pumpkin spice latte, and enjoy one of these healthy pumpkin breakfast recipes that are good for you and taste sublime.
- Pumpkin Maple Coffee Cake
- Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Pumpkin French Toast
- Pumpkin Granola
Healthy Pumpkin Snacks
Don’t go hangry. These healthy pumpkin snack recipes always hit the spot!
It’s PUMPKIN TIME. Stock up on the pumpkin puree (or try your hand at making your own!), and enjoy these healthy pumpkin recipes. I hope you find some new favorites!
If you do try a recipe from this list, please let me know how it goes in the comments below! I love hearing from you.
*Health benefits of pumpkin mentioned in this article were sourced from Healthline and are meant to be for general information, not any kind of specific medical advice. For specific dietary needs, I always recommend contacting your doctor or seeking professional advice.
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