Every fall, we line Greatist’s pantries with can after can of pumpkin purée in the hopes of creating the season’s perfect pie. It’s a noble goal, to be sure, but there are endless ways to use canned pumpkin, from the fairly common (like risotto or pasta) to the less expected (or downright weird). Canned pumpkin is a surprisingly versatile product packed with vitamins A, C, K, and fiber, so we thought it best to spread the word: pumpkin makes almost anything delicious. Here’s a list of the more unconventional ways to use up pumpkin purée so that your cans are never wasted—eat up!
Photo: Kate / Cookie and Kate
1. Pumpkin Pineapple Cocktail
Pumpkin has a smooth, warming quality that typically lends itself to creamier dishes, but it also works well in this sweet, citrusy cocktail terrific for any season.
2. Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
Get jacked-o’-lantern (… sorry) with this muscle-building shake—the perfect end to a brisk outdoor workout.
3. Pumpkin Smoothie
For a practically guilt-free dessert, this terrific vegan recipe tastes just like a pie without the pastry. Bottoms up!
4. Pumpkin Egg Nog
An awesome twist on the holiday staple, this is how to start a December morning—and the sugar-free version has far fewer calories than your typical nog.
5. Pumpkin Chai Latte
What could be better to sip on in front of a crackling fireplace? This no-frills recipe simply adds pumpkin to chai tea, but it bestows a depth and smoothness that’s perfectly warming.
Photo: Gina Homolka / Skinny Taste
6. Pumpkin Butter
Like a regular bit of butter, but better! To get the morning feeling extra seasonal, try this pretty healthy, cinnamon-spiced spread (there’s not that much sugar) on a muffin, pancake, or some freshly-baked bread.
7. Pumpkin and Sage Savory Muffins
Savory muffins just don’t get enough play, but this is a super simple, delicious way to bring them to the table. Made with oats, olive oil, herbs, and apple cider vinegar, they’ve got no added sugar but can still warm from head to toe.
8. Pumpkin Pie Brown Rice Krispies
Half a cup of maple syrup might seem like a lot, but when it’s spread among sixteen servings it makes for a healthy, delicious cereal square—without all the marshmallows.
9. Gluten-Free Pumpkin and Coconut Squares
Packed with coconut, ginger, and cinnamon, these bars are melt-in-your mouth delicious and contain no wheat, butter, or sugar.
10. Pumpkin Scones
Perfect with cinnamon and peanut butter, fresh berries, or some Greek yogurt and honey, this American twist on the British staple is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea and a good book.
11. Savory Pumpkin Hummus
The recipe for this unusual dip has just one step: throw everything in a food processor. The mixture of chickpeas, pumpkin, cumin, and cayenne creates a rich, Middle Eastern flavor well suited to pita and antipasto.
Photo: Kelli Dunn / The Corner Kitchen Blog
12. Pumpkin Granola
Roasting granola has to be one of the best ways to spend a fall afternoon. The smell alone is worth the effort, and cooking up a big batch for the week ahead can make anyone look forward to waking up in the morning.
13. Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
With just one tablespoon of sugar between four servings these rich, intoxicating pancakes are a healthier option for kids and adults alike. They also pair beautifully with preserves, yogurt, nuts—you name it!
14. Crockpot Pumpkin Oatmeal
There’s something magical about the way crockpots make healthy food even more delicious. This recipe uses extra healthy steel-cut oats. Put everything in the crockpot before heading to bed, and you’ll wake to a luxurious (and bright orange) breakfast that will keep you full until the afternoon.
15. Healthy Spiced Yogurt Parfaits
This parfait takes only take ten minutes to prepare and makes breakfast feel like dessert. Full of Greek yogurt, granola, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this dish is so simple and delicious that it’s sure to become a staple.
16. Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Breakfast Casserole
The name might sound like a game of Madlibs, but this gluten-free and protein-rich breakfast is no joke. Flawlessly melding the flavors of coconut, pecans, maple, and vanilla, it’s hard to believe how healthy this breakfast is—just make sure you have an hour to prepare it!
17. Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Yeast Waffles
The batter can be made the night before, and with less than half a tablespoon of brown sugar per waffle, it’s easy for this tasty, crispy breakfast to become a morning mainstay. Try them topped with fresh berries and Greek yogurt!
Photo: Sweet Miscellany
18. Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers
Pumpkin has never really found a home between bread, but these gluten-free patties will change the way you think about burgers. Be sure to remember the cilantro-lemon crema to add a zesty tang to this Mexican-inspired main.
19. Pumpkin Meatloaf with Pumpkin BBQ Sauce
This smoky, flavorful loaf is just right on a chilly Fall evening. The BBQ sauce adds an extra dimension to the savory/sweet dynamic—just don’t go overboard on the sugar!
20. Pumpkin, Black Bean, and Jalapeño Quesadilla
Pumpkin tastes so smooth and creamy that it’s amazing we don’t mix it with cheese more often. These quesadillas are a terrific “level-up” for you standard Mexican fare, and the substitution of Greek yogurt for sour cream is an especially nice touch.
21. Pumpkin and Cashew Ricotta-Stuffed Pasta Shells
This innovative vegan recipe uses cashews as a base for the “ricotta” stuffing and the sage “cream” sauce. Cashews are so high in fat that you certainly won’t miss the dairy—and your guests won’t know what hit ‘em!
22. Chickpea Pumpkin Patties
For a high-fiber patty, try this spicy, deep orange concoction that comes alive with fresh basil and parsley. The recipe already contains breadcrumbs, so try serving the “burger” on a bed of vegetables with some tahini or mustard.
23. Pumpkin Shrimp Curry
To many of us, pumpkin is synonymous with fall, chilly breezes, and Thanksgiving fare, but this dish drops a can into a traditional, South Asian curry to great effect. The coconut, ginger, and lime add an unusual dimension to the vegetable, but it works beautifully.
Photo: Christal Sczebel / Nutritionist in the Kitch
24. Pumpkin Protein Fudge
Smooth, decadent, and protein-packed, nobody will guess this is a healthy dessert! The coconut oil and almond butter provide filling fats to help give this treat an unmistakeable melt-in-your-mouth quality.
25. Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
It’s neither cheesecake nor ice cream — it’s better. This high-protein mixture of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almond milk, and pumpkin will satisfy any late night ice cream craving without piling on the calories.
26. Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yoghurt
Fro-yo gets a bad wrap for being more or less ice cream in disguise, but this vegan recipe uses vanilla-flavored coconut yogurt to create an innovative and healthy dessert — just make sure you have four hours to freeze the stuff!
27. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
Sweetened only with raisins and a little agave, baking these vegan cookies is a great way to spend an autumn afternoon. It’s wise to cook in small batches, though — it’s a little too easy to eat an entire tray!
28. Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts
Made from a lengthy but delicious list of ingredients that includes oats, ground flaxseed, banana, and yogurt, these donuts are filling, healthy, and a lot of fun to serve. Feel free to omit the dusting of cinnamon sugar, or substitute plain cinnamon or nutmeg instead.
29. Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding
Jam-packed with the holy trinity of protein, fiber, and omega-3s, chia also forms a goopy gel when it’s added to liquid. This makes it’s perfect for making healthy puddings, and this coconut-based variation is an amazing example.
30. Pumpkin Custard
If you can get your hands on some stevia, this recipe makes a super healthy, sugar-free dessert that can be enjoyed morning, noon, or night.
For the dog
31. Chicken Liver and Pumpkin Ice Cream... for Dogs
We said “weird” recipes, didn’t we? It turns out pumpkin purée is a great way to help with canine constipation, but even healthy pooches love this liver-stuffed ice cream. Why should Fido be the only one without a holiday treat?