November: the month of colorful leaves, the month where the scarves, boots, and jackets come out of the closet, the month of Thanksgiving, and the month of pumpkin—everything pumpkin. For about two months out of the year, the beautiful orange squash (I sometimes forget that pumpkin is actually a squash!) makes its appearance in every aisle of the grocery store, every holiday gathering, and every Thanksgiving advertisement. However, as fantastic as those two months of pumpkin goodness can be, it’s such a shame that pumpkin isn’t used more throughout the year! Pumpkins are packed with carotenoids (shown to play an important role in disease prevention in humans), protein (in the seeds), essential fatty acids, vitamins A and C, magnesium, zinc, and fiber! Pumpkin is also sweet and great for making moist and yummy baked goods that are naturally sweet and require less added sugar! In honor of Thanksgiving this Thursday, I’ve found seven delicious and healthy pumpkin recipes to share today— from breakfast, to snacks, to sweet treats, to even dinner, make sure to stock up on some pumpkin!
1. Pumpkin Waffles, from Health.com:
Ingredients: 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 1 pinch ground cloves, 1 large egg, 1 large egg white, 1 ½ cups buttermilk, ¾ cup canned pumpkin, ¼ cup dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons canola oil.
Direction: Combine wet ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another. Slowly mix the two bowls of ingredients together just until all dry ingredients are moistened, and then pour your homemade batter into a waffle maker or if you don’t have a waffle maker, go ahead and make pancakes! What better way to start a chilly Saturday morning than with steaming pumpkin pancakes/waffles and warm maple syrup?
2. Pumpkin Dip!
Ingredients: 6 oz. cream cheese, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup canned pumpkin, 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional), ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
Directions: Easy enough—just combine all ingredients together using a mixer to make the dip well combined and fluffy! Add some marshmallow fluff if you want to make it even fluffier, and try dipping a variety of healthy snacks in your delicious pumpkin dip, such as pretzels, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps, or apple slices!
3. Pumpkin-Honey Beer Quick Bread:
Ingredients: (quite a long list, but worth it, and just remember– when you make your own recipes from scratch, you know exactly what you’re eating!) 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ½ cup water, 1/3 cup flaxseed, 2 ½ cups sugar, 2/3 canola oil, 2/3 cup room temperature honey beer, 4 eggs (the original recipe calls for ½ cup egg substitute and 2 eggs, but I’m not into egg substitute), 1 can pumpkin, and cooking spray for the pan.
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl. Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and blend until everything is well incorporated. This amount of batter will make enough to fill two small loaf pans (9 x 5 inches) and you can bake them both at the same time for 1 hour and ten minutes. Enjoy a loaf for yourself and give the other to a friend, or simply wrap the extra loaf in plastic wrap and freeze it until you’re ready to enjoy it later!
4. Pumpkin Pie Pudding! (This is one I made up on my own a couple of years ago and now I love it as a snack or even as dessert! )
Ingredients: Instant vanilla pudding mix, milk, whipped cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, canned pumpkin.
Directions: Make the instant vanilla pudding as directed on the box, and put in the refrigerator until it sets. Once the pudding has thickened, mix in as much canned pumpkin as you like and add a small pinch of each of the spices, everything really just depends on how you want it to taste. Fold whipped cream into the pumpkin pudding if you want it to be sweeter and fluffier, or just put the pumpkin pudding back in the refrigerator and then when you’re ready to eat it, put a spoonful of whipped cream on top, just like pumpkin pie! This one could easily be made in a dorm!
5. Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits:
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 ¼ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, ½ teaspoon salt, 5 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup buttermilk, ¾ cup canned pumpkin, and 3 tablespoons of honey.
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl and slowly combine the cold butter. Even though it will be hard to combine the butter if it is cold, using cold butter makes the biscuits flakier and much more delicious. The dough will be crumbly, but get it as combined as you can and then put it in the refrigerator for ten minutes to keep it cold. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, honey, and canned pumpkin. Then add this mixture to your chilled dough when you get it back out of the refrigerator until you have a nice cool biscuit dough! Roll out your dough and use an upside-down cup or a biscuit cutter to make your thick circles of dough, place them on baking sheet, and bake for 14 minutes or until the biscuits are fluffy and golden brown. Try them with some delicious apple butter!
6. Pumpkin Ravioli: That’s right, pumpkin isn’t just for baking!
Ingredients: 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, wonton wrappers, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian), 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter.
Directions: Combine the pumpkin, Parmesan, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Put a spoonful of pumpkin filling in the center of each wonton wrapper and then moisten the edges of the wonton before folding the dough over diagonally to form a triangle-shaped ravioli, pinching the edges to seal the dough. Boil the ravioli for 7 minutes and drain. Serve with your favorite sauce or toss in a frying pan of warm chicken broth and butter.
7. Whole-Wheat Bread with Walnuts, Sesame, and Pumpkin Seeds!
Ingredients: 1 package dry yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ cup warm water, 1 ½ cups plain low-fat yogurt, 6 tablespoons honey, ¼ cup melted butter (that’s ½ stick), 2 ½ cups whole-week flour, ¾ cup chopped walnuts (or any of your favorite nuts, or even chocolate chips!), ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds (divided), ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (divided), 1 tablespoon salt, 2 ¼ cups all purpose flower, cooking spray, 1 large egg white. (You could also experiment with substituting the yogurt for actual canned pumpkin if you want the bread itself to taste more pumpkin-y, which I always do.)
Directions: Dissolve your yeast and sugar in warm water in a bowl and let this sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir in the yogurt, honey, and butter. Add your whole-wheat flour, nuts, ½ cup each pumpkin and sesame seeds, and salt—mix well. Add 1 ½ cups all purpose flour until a soft dough is formed, and knead the dough until smooth and stretchy. Put the bread in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, then let the bowl sit in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours until it rises to twice its original size. Separate the risen dough into two halves and place in two separate loaf pans. Let the dough rise again in the pans for 40 minutes before brushing the tops of the loaves with egg white and sprinkling the leftover nuts and seeds on the top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Roasted pumpkin seeds with the shells still on.
Roasted shell-less pumpkin seeds.
Ben and I will be taking a short Thanksgiving hiatus for the rest of the week, so we hope that you do the same! Enjoy the holidays and your time with friends and family, and who knows, maybe you’ll even have the chance to try out a new pumpkin recipe on them!
Images from freedigitalphotos.net