Many people list autumn as their favorite time of the year. Cooler weather, beautiful fall leaves, favorite sweatshirts and sweaters, football season…there is a lot to like about this time of year.
A growing number of people also list pumpkin as one of the reasons they love fall. People have become crazy for pumpkin flavors—in everything! Forbes found the pumpkin and pumpkin flavoring industry earned more than $500 million a few years ago, and it’s been growing every year since.
But it’s not just the taste of pumpkin you should appreciate—pumpkins are full of important nutrients and health benefits as well.
We’re sharing three pumpkin recipes that are not only delicious, but healthy. One for breakfast, one for dinner, and one for a sweet treat.
First though, here are all the healthy benefits that pumpkins have:
Pumpkins are good for you
Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, pumpkin is incredibly healthy. It has nutrients and antioxidants that boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers, and promote heart and skin health. And it does all of this while being low in calories! Here are some of pumpkin’s healthy nutrients:
- Beta carotene: A powerful antioxidant
- Vitamin A: Protects you from certain cancers and other diseases. Also helps your eyesight stay sharp.
- Vitamin C: One serving of pumpkin has almost 20% of your daily Vitamin C needs.
- Potassium: One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin gives you more potassium than a banana which is known as a high-potassium food.
- Fiber: Pumpkin and pumpkins seeds are a great source of fiber.
- Iron and other important nutrients: Pumpkin is also a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, Vitamin B2, and Vitamin E, among others.
- Nutrient density: Pumpkin is a food that is low in calories while being high in nutrients. That makes it a weight-loss friendly food.
Here are three recipes using pumpkin that we think you’ll love:
Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup plain, 2% fat, Greek yogurt
- ½ cup canned pumpkin (don’t confuse with canned pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 TBSP maple syrup, (more for topping finished pancakes, if desired)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (white whole wheat flour is fine too)
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Optional: 20 pecan halves, chopped
1) In a bowl, beat eggs. Stir in yogurt, pumpkin, maple syrup, and vanilla.
2) In another bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
3) Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine.
4) Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium-low heat, and drop a heaping 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until underside is brown and bubbles on top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook about 3 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter.
5) Top with pecan halves and maple syrup, if desired.
Makes 6 large pancakes.
Notes: Cool leftover pancakes and then you can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Or store leftover batter in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
Nutrition per serving (3 large pancakes):
Calories 415, fat 16g, carbohydrates 49g, sugar 15g, fiber 7g, protein 22g
Slow Cooker Turkey and Pumpkin Chili
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups of cubed fresh pumpkin (Video of easy way to cube pumpkin here: https://youtu.be/9WqbRcF4DlY)
- 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
- 1 TBSP chili powder or chipotle chili powder (more if you want to kick up the flavor)
Optional topping: 3 parts sour cream to 1 part pumpkin puree with a little chipotle chili powder mixed in. Put a dollop on top of your bowl of chili.
1) Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; brown turkey and onion with salt and pepper, stirring often, until crumbly and no longer pink (about 10 minutes.) Drain and discard any fat.
2) Transfer turkey and onion to a slow cooker and stir in remaining ingredients. Set cooker to low and cook until pumpkin is tender and has started to break apart (at least three hours.)
Makes six servings.
Nutrition per serving: Calories 338, Fat, 9.1g, Carbohydrates 41.9g, fiber 10.6g, protein 25.1g, sugars 14g.