Did You Know Pumpkin Is a Superfood? Here are 4 Easy Ways to Include It in Your Meals

Pumpkin is such an impressive food, it’s a shame we don’t eat this fall favorite throughout the year. 

Pumpkins pack a punch, filled with tons of nutrients and antioxidants that the body craves such as vitamins A and C. These vitamins are proven to boost immunity, help with eyesight, promote healthy skin, and contribute to strong heart health among other benefits. Pumpkins also have tons of iron, zinc, and fiber. Not only is pumpkin really good for you, but its flavorful taste makes it easy to fit into your diet. From sweet baked goods to savory soups and stews, there’s no shortage of ways to consume pumpkin while it’s in season. Here’s how you and your family can enjoy the benefits of this superfood:

 

1. Added to your favorite baked goods

From waffles and pancakes to cookies and muffins, a little pumpkin puree goes a long way when added to your family’s favorite sweets. Looking for a spin on a boring old breakfast? Consider pumpkin granola or oatmeal instead of your go-to flavors. Amp up the health benefits of chocolate chip cookies or scones by finding a recipe with pumpkin in the dough. Here’s my favorite one-bowl pumpkin breakfast:

 

 

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • a pinch of nutmeg and allspice 

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees in muffin or mini bread tins for 18-20 minutes depending on pan size. You can also bake them in an 8×8 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be springy but firm to touch.

 

2. Roasted alongside (or instead of) other squash & root veggies

If you typically enjoy potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or any other variety of squash or root vegetable as a dinner side dish, consider swapping in pumpkin. It might seem crazy if the only time you’ve cut into a pumpkin in the past is to make a jack-o-lantern, but you can roast cubed pumpkin just as you would a potato, skin, and all!

 

 

Maple Honey Roasted Pumpkin 

  • 1 small pumpkin (about 2-3 cups when cut and cubed)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper 

Toss cubed pumpkin (with skin) with olive oil, maple syrup, honey, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Serve with your favorite roast chicken, beef, or pork dinners or toss into a fall-inspired salad with cranberries, nuts, and a simple balsamic dressing. 

 

3. In savory soups, stews & chili

Pumpkin has such a unique flavor profile in that it can be combined with tons of spices and herbs. While it works well in sweet dishes, it also pairs so well in savory dishes like curries, chili, and soups. You can find tons of already made options at your grocery store, but it’s also so easy to make pumpkin-filled soups at home. 

 

 

Easy Pumpkin Stovetop Chili 

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans 
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

In a large pot, add olive oil, green peppers, and onion. Cook over medium-high heat until veggies are soft. Add ground beef and continue cooking, breaking apart beef. Once cooked through, add in remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Turn stove to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes, up to two hours. The longer you cook, the more the flavors will meld! Makes an awesome weekday lunch. 

 

4. As a flavorful addition to creamy pasta sauces

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids to eat more pumpkin, consider adding some to their favorite pasta dishes. If they love tomato sauce, stirring in a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree will probably go unnoticed. Mac and cheese lovers (whether adults or kids) will love this creamy pumpkin macaroni and cheese that comes together in 15 minutes. 

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Macaroni & Cheese

  • ½ lb shredded cheddar or gruyere (or a combination of the two!)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper 
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta (*pictured is the seasonal butternut squash pasta from Trader Joe’s)

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks add butter to skillet over medium heat and melt. Add in flour, forming a roux and combine. Slowly add in milk, whisking continuously. Once combined, simmer over low heat until sauce begins to thicken (approximately five minutes). Turn heat to low, add in cheese and pumpkin, whisking to combine. Add in cooked pasta and serve. 

 

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