It’s a Google search I do every year – pumpkin recipes that look both tasty and healthy enough to hoard every last bit of orange flesh once Daddy and the kids have finished carving.
I do think it was wonderful team work between the founding Pagan’s and school Government advisors to make Halloween fall on or just after the Autumn school half term.
There are always spooky trails to visit in parks and zoos, apple bobbing and pumpkin carving holiday workshops we go to. And then of course culminating of an evening of begging and eating sweets, what kids do best most year round anyway.
I don’t think I’ve thrown the insides of a pumpkin away for years – I started making the usual soup, and a pumpkin-apple sponge cake one year.
Each year I’ve branched out and tried some new pumpkin recipes – I get bored too easily and like to experiment – and while some have been more successful than others, I’m definitely not going to stop finding uses for it.
After all pumpkin is
- free food if you consider most people throw it away,
- actually pretty nutritious, it is a vegetable after all, and
- can be quite tasty in the right recipe (it’s very bland alone)
If I really get stuck or short for time, I simply blend it to a puree and put it in the freezer in little bags, so that I can confuse everyone’s Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (I just had to look that up – it’s your body clock but for the four seasons).
Pumpkins are so versatile yet we rarely use them in England other than for aforementioned Halloween carving, but we really should take an autumn leaf from our American cousins and start making use of them other than to boost the compost heap.
Here are some of the health benefits you get with a pumpkin:
- They are low calorie – typically 26 calories per 100g.
- Rich in fibre, they are filling and aid digestion.
- Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including A, C and E, carotenoids and lutein, making it great for skin and eye health, protect against UV damage, and can protect against some cancers.
- Heart healthy, and help lower blood cholesterol
- B-group vitamins including Folate, Niacin, Thiamin, vitamin B6 and Pantothenic acid help convert food into energy.
- Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of fibre and monounsaturated fats, as well as iron and zinc.
- The seeds also contain the amino acid tryptophan which converts into GABA, relaxing you and aiding sleep.
There are bound to be an abundance of leftover pumpkins in shops going cheap even after Halloween is over. Alternatively you can buy tins of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree in Waitrose or online.
Pumpkin is a fairly bland vegetable by itself but add warming winter spices such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and chilli, and you have a golden autumn gem in your hands.
10 Easy Pumpkin Recipes for Tasty Autumn Meals & Snacks
- SNACK ON SEEDS – Bake the washed seeds in an oven preheated to 140°c for 15 minutes, or until they have dried out but not browning. Sprinkle with spices before baking if you like.
- PUMPKIN PUREE – peel and cook until soft enough to mash or puree. This can be used as an ingredient in all sorts of recipes.
- SOUP – blend with stock and some warming winter spices. Sprinkle some baked seeds on top for extra crunch.
- PUMPKIN PIE PROTEIN SMOOTHIE – blend 100g pumpkin puree with one scoop of vanilla protein powder, 200ml milk, and ¼ tsp. each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, plus a little stevia to taste. Or switch the milk for 100g fat-free Greek yoghurt and mix the ingredients in a bowl for a SPICED PUMKPIN PUDDING!
- BREAD, CAKES AND MUFFINS – pureed pumpkin adds moisture to baked goods, so you can get away with using less oil, or none at all in some recipes.
- ROAST– alone or with other veggies, with or without a little cooking oil, in a preheated (200°c) oven. Warming Winter spices such as chilli and nutmeg make a tasty addition. A good side dish to rich meat and game, or allow to cool and toss in a salad.
- PUMPKIN BUTTER – Roast and blend 1 kg pumpkin with 60ml apple juice, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt, along with the amount of stevia to your taste (25-50g is about right). Pour the mix into a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick. It will keep for about a month in a sealed jar in the fridge, and can be added to yoghurt or as a topping for pancakes, cakes and puddings or in smoothies.
- PANCAKES – for one hungry person mix together 25g coconut flour (or ground almonds), 75g pumpkin puree, 3 eggs, 3 tbsp. milk, ½ tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. nutmeg and 2-3 tsp. stevia to taste. Fry in a little coconut or other cooking oil on a low heat.
- OATBRAN or PORRIDGE – Stir some pumpkin puree and spices into your usual oat & water/milk mix, before warming through.
10. PUMPKIN PIE
Who could forget this American classic? You could forget the pastry case and just have the filling as a pumpkin pudding if you prefer.
115g ground almonds
100g wholemeal flour
100g coconut oil
25g granulated stevia, or to taste
¼ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. vanilla
425g pumpkin puree
4 tbsp. granulated stevia, to taste
4 egg whites
A good pinch of sea salt
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
375ml almond milk (or milk of choice)
Preheat the oven to 220°c.
Combine all pastry ingredients in bowl with your hands and mix well.
Press the pastry into a 23cm pie dish, including up the inner sides of the dish to hold the filling.
Mix the filling ingredients together in a large bowl using a whisk, then pour into the pastry base.
Bake for 15 minutes at 220°c then reduce the temperature to 180°c and bake for a further 45 minutes.
Have you any favourite pumpkin recipes? Comment below, I’m always looking for new inspiration! And your recipe could end up being part of a future blog!