Ah, the cooler weather is upon us! While we’re still muddling through those few unusually warm days, the end is near. This means quite a few things: cooler temperatures in the gym, sweaters and boots, apple-picking, bonfires, and well… pumpkin. The culinary possibilities of pumpkin lie far beyond pie and lattes, though. As soon as mid-September hits, pumpkin is a staple in my meals. I buy ’em whole and roast chunks with loads of cinnamon. I puree leftovers to make pancakes, muffins, sauce, and blend into my coffee. I eat it straight out of the can! This superfood is packed with vitamins and minerals, and it’s a perfectly healthy, whole-food source of starch. If you’re looking for a recipe to entertain or enjoy on your own, I’ve rounded up the best of the best. Here are twelve healthy options that will help you stay on track throughout all that fall feasting ahead of us.
Is it pie or is it a cupcake? Does it matter? The short answer is no. Pumpkin and banana comprise the base of this moist and chewy bite-sized treat. A simple whipped coconut cream on top make these a 100% real-food indulgence, so treat yo’self. Store these in the fridge for the best results since the “dough” doesn’t include any flour at all.
2. Pumpkin Ice Cream from Empowered Sustenance
Pumpkin ice cream. It’s for that random 80 degree day that lurks into late September and early October. You know, when you walk outside all dressed for that breeze that never comes. Indulge the heat and the need for pumpkin food with this two-ingredient ice cream. You don’t even need a machine! Bananas sweeten the scoop with no sugar necessary. In that instance, it’s ay-okay to add a few chocolate chips.
3. Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls from Paleo Grubs
Reaching for healthy snacks is a struggle for many of us, especially as the aisles of the store turn into bright orange pumpkin-flavored everything. Oreos, snack cakes, ice cream, and candy – the world knows what we want, and it’s MORE PUMPKIN. If you have healthy snacks on hand, you won’t be so tempted to stray from your healthy lifestyle. Pack a few of these for the road. Throw ’em in the freezer to store throughout the season.
4. Low-Carb Pumpkin Bagels from Beauty and the Foodie
Pumpkin bagels are tempting, especially if you can get ’em in the drive-thru. Skip the lines and make a batch of these for your morning commute. These are grain-free and low-carb, so this on-the-go breakfast won’t sabotage your diet. The coconut flour base will give you that chewy center and crunchy outside everyone looks for when they take that first bite. Spread with grass-fed butter, pumpkin butter (below), or turn it into a sandwich.
5. Crock-Pot Pumpkin Butter from Tasty Yummies
Spread it on the bagel we mentioned above, dip those fresh apples in the jar, or use it as a spread for poultry. It’s a versatile condiment for everything from sweet to savory. Pumpkin butter is good on just about anything. This recipe uses honey and apple juice to make it sweet so you’re not dishing out spoonfuls of refined sugar every time you open the jar. Better yet? Hands off! This is one for the busy folks who want a taste of fall, but don’t have much time for the kitchen. Set it and forget it.
6. Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte from The Nourishing Gourmet
The beginning of autumn marks the beginning of Starbucks’ peak season with their signature PSL. The problem? Well, it’s sugary coffee with a bunch of fake flavor and empty calories. It might taste good, but it’s certainly not going to help you stay on track during the holiday season. This frothy cup of joe is a healthy alternative featuring real pumpkin, natural sweeteners, and dairy-free milk. Skip the coffee shop this AM, and test your barista skills at home instead.
7. Curried Pumpkin and Coconut Soup from Naturally Ella
Pumpkin curry is a staple at most Thai restaurants, so get your takeout fix at home with this pumpkin soup. With just six ingredients, this flavorful starter dish couldn’t be simpler to make at home. Coconut milk takes the creaminess factor up a notch while keeping it dairy-free for those who are sensitive. Sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds and drizzle with a little olive oil. Voila! Double the recipe and keep a batch in the freezer for later.
8. Paleo Pumpkin Chili from In Sonnet’s Kitchen
Soup is good, but chili is better. It simply has more substance, and I don’t just mean meat. With the addition of zucchini, this bowl of comfort food will provide you with a pretty hefty serving of veggies. Chili is an easy dish to prepare and keep warm on the stove until everyone’s ready to eat. Even better? The aroma of the simmering pumpkin will make the house smell better than any of those seasonal candles you’re burning. Trust me.
9. Last Minute Pumpkin Gnocchi from Peachy Palate
As this dish’s name suggests, this one comes together last minute. When you’ve got pumpkin on the brain and no dinner plans, turn to this super simple gnocchi recipe. Pumpkin puree, flax meal, and chickpea flour come together to form a gluten-free and vegan dough. Most other gluten-free flour substitutions will work as well if you can’t find chickpea flour. Top with sage and toasted pecans for optimal results.
10. Paleo Pumpkin Quiche from The Tomato Tart
Pumpkin for breakfast? Yessir. If Thanksgiving brunch is your jam, this is your recipe. The crust is inherently gluten-free since it’s comprised of almond meal. Sage makes its way into the bottom and top of this dish which is the perfect companion to creamy pumpkin. Eggs and bleu cheese give this little quiche its fluff, and the protein content will help keep you full until it’s time for Thanksgiving dinner… or maybe just until that sneaky slice of pie in-between cooking shifts.
11. Healthy Roasted Pumpkin Salad from Pop Sugar
Roasted pumpkin is one of the easiest ways to prepare this squash from scratch. Pre-packaged pumpkin puree is a quick fix for a stand-in, but using the whole vegetable has its benefits. For one, you get to roast the seeds that you’ll be topping this gorgeous, warm salad with. Beets add another layer of sweetness and color to this cozy dish while the chickpeas pack a plant-based protein punch. Last but not least, a drizzle of maple and thyme dressing hold it down in the flavor department. This is a great main dish or side salad for the vegetarian or clean-eater alike.
12. Paleo Pumpkin Pie from Primally Inspired
You know I would never leave you hangin’ without a healthy, nourishing recipe for the most coveted of all pumpkin recipes – pie! Kelly from Primally Inspired boasts that you can serve this to your dinner guests, and they won’t even know it’s good for ’em. Take your chances, folks! Her easy pumpkin pie crust is grain-free with an arrowroot base for a moist, chewy crust reminiscent of the real deal. Top with regular ol’ whipped cream or dairy-free coconut cream for a 100% paleo indulgence.