I may be the only person who feels this way, but fall? Meh.
While everyone else is swooning over the crisp air and colorful leaves, I’m getting more crotchety with each minute of daylight we lose.
Luckily, there’s one thing that redeems the season for me: pumpkin!
I mean, what other vegetable can you stick in a pie and still want to eat it? (With the exception of cauliflower. 😉 ) What’s more, pumpkin is absurdly good for you.
4 Reasons your body will love you if you eat pumpkin:
- Lower breast cancer risk thanks to pumpkin carotenoids¹
- Easier weight loss from hunger-fighting fiber
- Healthier eyes, thanks to lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that can help protect vision
- Supercharged immunity from vitamins A and C (See ya later, back-to-school colds!)²
Did you know your jack-o-lantern could do all that? No wonder it’s smiling. 🙂
Given how tasty, healthy, and easy pumpkin is—just open a can and voila!—it’d be downright unfair to relegate it to a life of pie. But what to do with it?
I’m so glad you asked! From cakes to curries, pumpkin is a kitchen superstar. Here are 6 easy ways to enjoy pumpkin—that don’t involve pie.
6 Fast and healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin
I could happily eat a pumpkin pie parfait for breakfast every single day, and some weeks I do!
To make them, simply combine a container of vanilla almond-milk yogurt with canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and a touch of sweetener. Then layer with healthy granola—and a sprinkle of chocolate chips, if you’re feeling scandalous. (Click here for instructions.)
Now, I’m going to put a warning on this one, because I haven’t tried it! But multiple reliable internet sources (including Hungry Girl) say you can combine a 15-oz can of pumpkin with a standard-size box of cake mix and bake according to package directions. Supposedly you’ll end up with a decent cake.
However, you should stick to chocolate or spice cake mix, and I’m guessing this trick won’t work for gluten free mixes. Also, this “recipe” clearly isn’t whole-food based. But if you’re going to make a cake from a box, this is the way to do it.
I take apple slices and pumpkin dip to pretty much every party I go to in the fall, and it’s always a hit! I usually make my pumpkin dip from scratch without any added sugar following the recipe here. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can just use the pumpkin & yogurt combo from the pumpkin pie parfaits in #1. (Bonus points if you serve it in a mini-pumpkin.)
This baked oatmeal from my friend Mary Ellen at VNutrition falls somewhere between oatmeal, banana bread, and pumpkin bread. (Are you drooling?) Yet it’s super healthy, made with wholesome 100% plant-based ingredients! Mary Ellen will be guest posting on Veggie Quest next Monday, so be sure to check back for more of her fabulous recipes and tips.
Creamy, sweet, and savory, pumpkin makes a tasty curry sauce. And curry sauce is delicious with pretty much everything.
My favorite pumpkin curry is Lindsay Nixon’s Pumpkin-Cauliflower Curry from her fantastic cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore. I highly recommend the cookbook if you don’t have it! However, you can also snag a close approximation of her pumpkin-cauliflower curry recipe on the Vegan Sisters Blog. See what I served with mine with in my reader-favorite post, Not So Hard: 2 Pounds of Veggies a Day.
Not just a shameless plug for last week’s recipe (okay, maybe a little bit?), pumpkin makes hot chocolate extra thick and creamy. This 62-calorie version made with almond milk includes cinnamon for a warm spice note.
So, whether you love fall or just wish you did, hopefully these pumpkin recipes will make the longer nights a little brighter!
- What’s your favorite way to enjoy pumpkin?
- What do you love (or hate) most about fall?
- Eliassen AH, Hendrickson SJ, Brinton LA, et al. Circulating Carotenoids and Risk of Breast Cancer: Pooled Analysis of Eight Prospective Studies. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2012;104(24):1905-1916. doi:10.1093/jnci/djs461.
- Obenschain C. 6 Surprising health benefits of pumpkin. CNN website. http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/21/health/health-benefits-of-pumpkin/. Accessed September 18, 2016.