5 Healthy Pumpkin Dishes That Are Absolutely Delicious

Pumpkin is a food often considered as nothing more than an ingredient used in pumpkin pie and something to carve spooky faces into during October. Pumpkins have so much more to offer. It’s time to give this food the credit it deserves. These orange beauties are one of the best things a person can eat for a number of different reasons. Pumpkins contain many vitamins and minerals that are vital in a healthy diet. They are high in vitamin A, folate, magnesium, dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin C and potassium. That’s a lot of goodness packed into one food. Pumpkin also adds a unique and special flavor to many different dishes.

Vitamin A assists in bone growth and strengthens the immune system. It also contributes to reproductive health. Folate has been proven to aid in heart health, keep the brain functioning properly and even fighting off depression. Magnesium is a natural energy booster, aids in digestion and has even been shown to assist in preventing migraine headaches. Dietary fiber is great for keeping things regular while phosphorus assists in keeping bones and teeth strong and healthy. Vitamin C is another immune system booster that is also great for lowering hypertension and the risk of stroke. Potassium enhances muscle strength, contributes to heart health and regulates metabolism.

Not only are pumpkins packed with good-for-you nutrients, but they are also low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. Did we mention they taste divine when used in the right recipes? The following healthy pumpkin recipes are sure to please the taste buds of everyone at the table. Pass the pumpkin.

Homemade pumpkin cream soup with garlic croutons. A rustic style. Selective focus

 

Pumpkin Soup With Parmesan Croutons

There aren’t many things more satisfying than a bowl of hot soup on a chilly day. When the weather outside is bone-chilling, a piping hot pumpkin dish can be quite a delightful reprieve. This soup is hearty, creamy and as good for the body as it is for the soul.

Serve with seasonal fruit or warm whole-grain bread for an extra satisfying meal everyone in the family is sure to savor. This soup is quick, easy and as healthy as can be. Make this soup for dinner tonight to fight off pesky fall colds and enjoy a meal for the books.

INGREDIENTS

Soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash, rind and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
  • 1-inch piece ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground or fresh turmeric
  • 3 sage leaves

Parmesan Croutons

  • 3 pieces day-old whole-grain or gluten-free bread, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place pumpkin chunks onto a baking tray and drizzle with coconut oil, salt and black pepper. Roast for 40 minutes. In the last 20 minutes, add the onion and garlic to the baking tray. Cook until pumpkin is soft, and onions and garlic have caramelized.
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, make the croutons. Toss all ingredients for the croutons together in a bowl.
  4. Place on baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes, until crispy.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables and the remaining ingredients of the soup into a large pot on low-medium heat. Using a stick blender, puree until smooth. If soup is too thick, add a dash of water or stock to thin and blend again. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Once soup has been heated through, serve among four to six bowls, topped with the Parmesan croutons.

SERVES 4-6

Total time: 55 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Prep time: 15 minutes

Vegetarian food: pumpkin curry on a plate close-up. Horizontal top view

Pumpkin Curry

There’s something about a good curry that’s just plain intoxicating in the best of ways. It could be the spices that come together in curry, performing a dance perfectly choreographed for eager taste buds. Maybe it’s the healthy vegetables often packed inside. It could also come from the satisfying delight of consuming a stellar meal that’s also doing good things for one’s health.

Whatever it is that makes curry so scrumptious, this popular dinner dish is made even better when pumpkin is added. The following recipe is one of those that will quickly become a favorite. It is quick, easy, filling and oh-so-good for you. Make it tonight for a meal that won’t disappoint.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt (divided)
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cubed into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade broth
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups packed greens, chopped (spinach, bok choy, tatsoi and chard work best as they cook fast)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, 1 teaspoon salt and ginger in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt over the chopped chicken pieces and toss to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat and saute chicken until no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle on half of the spice mixture and cook another minute, until fragrant. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. Saute chopped onion until translucent. Add the remaining spices and cook another minute until spices are fragrant. Add pumpkin and carrots and toss to coat, and then pour in broth and coconut milk. Bring to boil, then turn down heat and allow to simmer until pumpkin is fork tender but not mushy: about 18 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add chopped greens and cooked chicken and cook another 2 or 3 minutes, or until greens are wilted. Turn off heat and add lemon juice. Adjust for salt, black pepper and lemon to taste.
  5. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

SERVES 4-6

Total time: 40 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Prep time: 20 minutes

 

Pumpkin Protein Pancake

Pancakes have long been a breakfast staple. Not only are they satisfying and relatively easy to make, but they are also one of those foods that can be dressed up in so many different ways. It’s always an adventure to decide what to top pancakes with. These pancakes are great paired with nuts, fat-free yogurt and honey, carob chips and are even scrumptious when eaten plain.

The following recipe contains plenty of pumpkin to make these pancakes an ideal choice for a fall or winter breakfast. These hotcakes are also full of protein, making them a terrific way to start a busy day. Protein has staying power and helps keep the body full longer, preventing the urge to grab an unhealthy snack midday or overdo it at lunch. This recipe is a complete meal that would even work for lunch or dinner. Another reason this recipe takes the cake? The spices in these babies will make any kitchen smell like a little slice of heaven.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until mixed thoroughly.
  3. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet to form a pancake.
  4. Cook until small bubbles begin to appear. Use a small spatula to flip. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes.
  5. Remove promptly from the skillet and place on a cooling rack while repeating the process for remaining batter.
  6. Store in the refrigerator up to a week or freeze up to a month if not using immediately.

MAKES 18-20 PANCAKES

Total time: 30 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Prep time: 15 minutes

 

 

Seafood Pumpkin Spaghetti Squash Pasta

The fact has now been firmly established that pumpkin is good for the body as well as the soul. Two other foods that are packed with amazing flavors, along with a long list of vitamins and minerals are scallops and spaghetti squash. These three power-foods come together in the following recipe for a seafood pasta that will quite possibly become an instant favorite of all who partake.

Scallops are a wonderful protein that are low in calories and fat. In fact, one 3-ounce serving of scallops is only 95 calories. They are also full of potassium and magnesium. Not only are they super-healthy, but they have a dynamite flavor and unbelievable texture that make them the stars of any dish you use them in.

Spaghetti squash is high in fiber and contains plenty of the vitamins A and C. It also contains potassium and calcium. One using this superfood in place of traditional pasta may find it even more satisfying and satiating than its carb-heavy alternative. Savor this dish on a crisp fall or winter evening. This recipe is sure to warm anyone who consumes it from the inside out.

INGREDIENTS

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Asian Pumpkin Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoon gluten-free miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons broth
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Herbs of your choice, for garnish

Scallops

  • 8 medium scallops, thawed and cleaned.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash horizontally into small ringlets, about 1-2 inches in width.
  3. Scoop out the seeds. Salt squash (generously) and wait 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse off the salt.
  5. Place squash rings on baking tray and drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil. Roast in oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until skin is more tender.
  6. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool and make the sauce.
  7. Place garlic and oil in a saucepan on medium-low until it starts to pop, around 2 or 3 minutes.
  8. Add in pumpkin, coconut cream, miso and spices. If too thick, add in a few tablespoons of broth to thin out.
  9. Mix and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Add black pepper to taste.
  11. While sauce is simmering, make the scallops.
  12. Place 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee in a frying pan on medium heat.
  13. Add cleaned scallops.
  14. Sear for 5 to 6 minutes on medium to medium-high, flipping a few times.
  15. Remove the peel from each spaghetti squash ringlet and pull out the strings from center. Place into a bowl. Separate the strands into pasta strands.
  16. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to bowl and toss together. If pasta is cold, place in microwave-safe dish and reheat for 45 seconds.
  17. Place spaghetti squash pasta into bowls.
  18. Spoon 1/3 cup or more pumpkin sauce on top, then add scallops.
  19. Garnish with herbs of choice, such as basil or parsley.

SERVES 3

Total time: 50 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Prep time: 10 minutes

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Noshing on cookies is one of those pastimes that brings people together. When the cookies contain pumpkin, the experience is bound to be even sweeter. Those making an effort to avoid foods that aren’t exceptionally healthy in every way will be delighted to find the following recipe is a delectable one that can be enjoyed sans guilt. No need to sabotage a healthy diet to munch on some sensational treats that rival any other dessert recipe.

Not only are these cookies low in calories and free of ingredients that could be detrimental to one’s health, but they contain a hearty helping of powerful pumpkin. Taking a bite of these cookies is great for your health. Dig in and then have another. They’re for your own good.

Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin or squash pulp, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups natural chicory root sweetener or 1 1/2 cups raw honey
  • 1 cup coconut butter, softened
  • 1 cup almond meal or flour
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped nuts of choice (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen cacao organic dark chocolate baking chips, unsweetened

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a food processor or mixing bowl, add the eggs, pumpkin, maple, vanilla and sweetener. Mix well to liquefy completely. Add coconut butter and mix well again until smooth.
  4. Add the almond meal, arrowroot, salt and pumpkin pie spice to the food processor and blend again. If the dough starts to fall apart, add a bit more arrowroot or almond meal until the dough is cohesive. Pulse in the chopped nuts briefly so they’re in large pieces.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl and chill to firm up for about 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the frozen chips.
  6. Spoon 1-inch rounds on the cookie sheets. Grease palms with coconut oil and press balls of batter flat with hands. Try to place the chips on the insides of the cookies, so they don’t melt all over the tray.
  7. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until just barely brown on the edges. Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan and enjoy.

SERVES 3

Total time: 45 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Prep time: 25 minutes

 

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