Pumpkins are so much more than colorful decorations–they offer big benefits for your health.
- Randy Mayor Cooking Light
Superfood: PumpkinRaw pumpkin has only 15 calories per 1/2 cup, and is full of iron, zinc, and fiber. It's high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Canned pumpkin has a similar nutrient profile with slightly less fiber than fresh, but more bioavailable beta carotene due to heat used in the canning process. And don't forget the seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Grilled Sweet Potato and Napa Cabbage Salad with Lime VinaigretteTo save time, you could also cook the pumpkin seeds in a skillet directly on the grill.
Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato PilauPilau (or pilaf), typically consists of meats or vegetables added to a grain, and is an ideal way to add more fiber to your diet with whole grains like wild rice, brown rice, or bulgur. Serve with pork chops and green beans. This hearty side's squash, potato, and brown rice offer about 10 percent of your daily fiber needs.
Pumpkin-Black Bean SoupThis Caribbean-inspired soup combines pumpkin, black beans, tomatoes, and sherry. It's topped with a tangy shower of queso fresco. Use vegetable broth to make this a meatless meal.
Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Toasted CoconutGinger and coconut add warm, flavorful accents to this Thanksgiving classic. If you'd like a dollop of something creamy, top with fat-free whipped topping.
Pasta with Mushrooms and Pumpkin-Gorgonzola SauceServe a light pasta dish with a luscious cream sauce. Chopped sage, Gorgonzola cheese, and canned pumpkin add robust flavor to the meatless main dish.
Pumpkin-Cranberry MuffinsCanned pumpkin offers the same health benefits as fresh, but is a little more convenient. It contributes both color and moistness to these fruit-filled muffins.
Pumpkin-Walnut Focaccia with GruyèreHearty focaccia is enhanced by the addition of canned pumpkin, brown sugar, nutty Gruyere cheese and chopped walnuts. Use the slightly sweet bread for sandwiches or as an accompaniment for soup.
Pumpkin and Yellow Pepper Soup with Smoked Paprika"Mildly sweet, creamy, with a touch of smokiness" describes this luscious soup that's made with pumpkin puree, yellow bell peppers, carrot, and onion, and topped with toasted pumpkin seed kernels.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola SauceUse wonton wrappers to make the ravioli and fill them with a mixture of canned pumpkin, fresh Parmesan and sage. Spoon the creamy cheese sauce over the ravioli and top with toasted hazelnuts.
Pork Stew with PumpkinBoneless pork loin and fresh pumpkin make perfect partners in this hearty stew. Simmering over low heat for an hour allows the flavors of the pork, pumpkin, tomato, onion, and sage to blend into a mellow richness.
Pumpkin Risotto CakesStart with a hearty and creamy risotto flavored with cubed fresh pumpkin, shallots, and cremini mushrooms. Chill the risotto overnight, shape into patties, and brown in a skillet. They're perfect for a light, meat-free supper.
Pumpkin Pudding with Candied PecansThis simple no-cook pudding is made with silken tofu, fat-free sweetened condensed milk, and canned pumpkin. The rich autumn-like flavor comes from the pumpkin plus cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup and the crunchy sugared pecans that are sprinkled on the top.
Pumpkin Bread PuddingWhen you can't decide between pumpkin pie and bread pudding for your holiday dessert, have both in one dish. This rich bread pudding is made with challah bread and canned pumpkin and accented with pumpkin pie spice. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.
Pumpkin CheesecakePerfect for holiday entertaining, this creamy pumpkin cheesecake with a vanilla wafer crust can be made up to three days ahead. Another bonus is that each slice has only 256 calories, less than half the calories of a traditional cheesecake.
Spiced Pumpkin BiscuitsA light hand with the dough will help to ensure tender biscuits. This method of folding the dough creates irresistible flaky layers. To maximize the number of biscuits you get from the recipe, gather the dough scraps after cutting and gently pat or reroll to a 3/4-inch thickness.