If the day that you walk into your go-to coffee shop and see that the pumpkin-flavored drinks have finally returned is your favorite day of the year, you’re not alone—we live for pumpkin-flavored anything (and everything).
Unfortunately, many pumpkin goodies that are oh-so-popular during this time of year are super high in calories, fat and sugar, which means your obsession can quickly turn into an unhealthy one. Plain pumpkins, however, are actually low-calorie, nutritional powerhouses loaded with fiber and key vitamins, so there are plenty of good-for-you ways to get your pumpkin fix! These seven healthy recipes are a good place to start. From sweet breakfast dishes to savory dinner meals, you can take care of your pumpkin cravings while also taking care of yourself!
1. Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie
There’s nothing better than warm oatmeal on a crisp fall morning—especially when that oatmeal is paired with pumpkin. Oatmeal and pumpkin are a match made in health heaven because both are packed with fiber, so you’ll stay satisfied well until lunchtime rolls around. This low-fat recipe can be made vegan and is only 180 calories. Top it with your favorite nut butter for a punch of protein!
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg, or just use pumpkin pie spice
- Sweetener, such as 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp maple syrup or 1 to 2 packs stevia
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup milk of choice, or nondairy creamer, or water (scale back by a tbsp if using liquid sweetener)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Optional: raisins, walnuts, brown sugar to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 380 degrees.
- Combine raw oats, spices, pumpkin and milk in bowl.
- Pour into a greased 1-cup ramekin (or two 1/2-cup ramekins) or a mini-loaf pan.
- Cook for 20 minutes or more, until it gets firm. Finally, set your oven to “high broil” for three more minutes, or until it reaches desired crispiness (or simply just bake longer, but broiling gives it a nice crust).
2. Pumpkin Pancakes
Recipe from Health
If you’re more of a pancake person in the morning, this is the recipe for you. While homemade pancakes may sound like a production, they’re actually a lot easier and quicker to make than you may think. And these ones have half the calories of those made with buttermilk. If you want more of a pumpkin pie taste, feel free to add pumpkin pie spice to the batter. The recipe makes about eight pancakes, so share them with your housemates!
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ cup cake flour (or use ½ tbsp less if using all-purpose flour)
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ tsp salt
- Cooking spray
- Maple syrup or honey for serving
- Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, baking soda, egg yolk and flour.
- Whisk egg whites with salt; fold into pumpkin mixture.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
- Spoon in 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Flip when tops are covered with bubbles and edges are slightly brown (about three minutes per side).
- Drizzle with syrup or honey.
3. Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe from Kitchen Stewardship
Need an on-the-go snack in between classes or a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth after dinner? These moist muffins can be made using only one mixing bowl, so you won’t make a mess of your kitchen. You could also pour the batter into a loaf pan if you’d prefer pumpkin bread to muffins.
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 2/3 cups whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup melted butter coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 cup pumpkin (about half a 15-oz can)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 tbsp molasses (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Put in greased loaf pan or muffin tin. Bake at 325 degrees (Bread [one loaf] = 65-80 minutes; 12 muffins = 35-40 minutes; 24 mini muffins = 25 minutes).
4. Skinny Pumpkin Latte
Recipe from Dashing Dish
Those pumpkin-flavored drinks that we look forward to making a comeback every fall are not the healthiest options on the menu, sadly. To get that sweet pumpkin pie flavor, the drinks are often loaded with sugar and fat, bringing the container to a total of 300 to 470 calories, depending on the size. But before you swear off pumpkin drinks for the rest of the season (as if that were even possible), we found a recipe that has only 2 grams of sugar and 71 calories per serving.
- 2 tbsp instant espresso power (or 2 packets Starbucks Instant Via Coffee)
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup sugar-free maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
- 2 cups vanilla almond milk or skim milk
- 3-5 packets stevia (or sweetener to taste)
- Optional: 2 tbsp half and half (to make it even more rich and creamy) and/or fat free whipped topping for garnish
- Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan, stir to combine everything and heat over medium heat for about one to three minutes, or until very hot (but be careful not to bring to a boil).
- Remove from heat and add to a blender to get the milk nice and frothy. Blend on high until the milk begins to form small bubbles, about one to two minutes.
- Divide the mixture between two mugs (or save half for later in the fridge). Add a splash of half and half if desired, and/or a squirt of whipped cream, a drizzle of sugar-free caramel and a dash of cinnamon on top.
5. Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie
The average slice of pumpkin pie is aloaded with calories and fats. By digging your spoon into this dip instead, you’ll eliminate the added sugar and cut down on the amount of fat (pie crusts are loaded with saturated fat). Get double the pumpkin deliciousness by spreading this dip on your pumpkin pancakes!
- 1 can pumpkin (15 oz)
- 1 container cream cheese-style spread, like Tofutti (if vegan), or low-fat cream cheese
- 2 tsp cinnamon (more if desired)
- 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Sweetener of choice to taste (Amount will depend on whether you’re making this as a dip or a spread. Use up to 1/3 cup for a dip, but you might not even need a tablespoon of sugar or a packet of stevia for a spread. Note that liquid sweeteners will yield a much thinner dip, so either powdered sugar or stevia are recommended.)
- Combine all ingredients and mix very well (A food processor is best, but this can be done by hand with a lot of stirring).
- Serve as a dip, with graham crackers or gingersnaps or fresh fruit. Or use as a festive cream cheese spread on bagels, toast or pancakes.
6. Sweet & Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Recipe from POPSUGAR
According to World’s Healthiest Foods, pumpkin seeds are loaded with vitamins and are a rich source of the minerals zinc, magnesium and iron, making them a nutritious snack to munch on throughout the day. Added bonus: this recipe will satisfy your sweet and your salty tooth at the same time.
- 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds, washed and patted dry (or whatever yields from a pumpkin you carve)
- 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- Remove seeds from pumpkin, wash in colander, remove bits of pulp and pat dry.
- In a small bowl, toss seeds, coconut oil (you may have to heat it on the stovetop to get it to liquefy), cinnamon and salt
- Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.
7. Roasted Pumpkin Quinoa Salad
Recipe from Feed Your Awesome Machine
Pumpkin treats don’t have to be sweet—this savory dinner dish will get you your pumpkin fix just as deliciously. This warm grain salad blends the health benefits of pumpkin with protein- and fiber-packed quinoa. The recipe takes a little longer than the rest to make, so try it on a weekend night when you have more time. We promise it’s worth it!
- ½ medium pumpkin
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 very generous handful of chopped broccoli
- 2 cubic inches of feta cheese or crumbled goat cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp of smooth tahini (you can find a jar of this at your local supermarket or health foods store)
- 1 small clove garlic
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ a lemon
For the salad:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare quinoa according to package instructions.
- Wash and chop the broccoli into rough florets and put a pot on the stove over medium-high heat.
- Add 1-2 cm of water (about the width of a finger) to the bottom and bring to the boil.
- Throw the broccoli in, stick the lid on and leave to cook for about three minutes, or until it’s bright green and cooked through but still retains a little bite.
- Scrub pumpkin under running water and cut it open with large knife. Using a metal spoon, scoop out seeds of the pumpkin.
- Dice the flesh (leave the skin on) into small cubes and throw them onto a flat baking tray that’s large enough to fit all your pumpkin cubes without any overlap. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with salt and pepper. Toss well, put into oven and set timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pull the pumpkin from the oven and, using a spatula, gently turn all the cubes over. They should be beginning to turn golden brown on the undersides. Pop them back in the oven and set your timer for another 15 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, take tray out of the oven, take a piece and cut it open. It should be slightly caramelized on the outside and soft and succulent in the center. If it’s not quite there, pop it back in the oven for another five minutes while you finish off everything else.
- Toss everything together and top with sauce.
For the sauce:
- Crush the garlic and place into a smallish bowl.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice, add the other sauce ingredients and stir. It should be slightly thicker than whipping cream. If you need to, add a little more water or lemon juice to thin it out, or a little more tahini to thicken things up.
- Season with a little salt and taste it. Add more salt if it needs it, and if you want a little more kick, add a little extra lemon juice.
Get into the fall spirit with these recipes—you can thank us later. Happy eating, collegiettes!