53 Ways to Sneak Pumpkin Into Any Meal

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Sure, you can carve a pumpkin. But did you know you could also enjoy it in a bowl of oats, between the bun, or in a fancy cocktail? We’ve rounded up 53 ways to enjoy this super-fruit that comes with as much versatility as it does protein, fiber, and everyone’s favorite fall flavor.

Photo: Bigstock
Morning Mealtime

1. Quick breads. Fresh out of the oven, pumpkin bread is a delicious morning treat that makes getting out of bed a breeze. Now, if only eating the whole loaf in one sitting was a good idea…

2. Scones. For a healthified breakfast baked good with a little more crunch than a muffin, try a pumpkin scone with that cup of tea. With a little spice, this morning treat is nothing but nice. Plus, the pumpkin puree adds moisture to these typically dry and crumbly treats.

3. Pancakes. Our favorite Sunday morning tradition got better. Stir some pumpkin puree in pancake batter for an autumnal spin on breakfast. Try some pumpkin protein pancakes to really fill you up with the good stuff.

4. Waffles. Le’go my ego and give me the pumpkin! For a crispier (and healthier) morning meal, one cup of pumpkin puree will spice up any ordinary waffle.

5. Oatmeal. Pumpkin pie for breakfast? We went there. For a creamy bowl of oats, simply add some pumpkin puree. Topped with graham crackers, pecans, and a touch of maple syrup, and it’s basically (almost) pumpkin pie.

6. Yogurt. It may be hard to find pumpkin flavored yogurt in the dairy section, but luckily it’s easy to make at home. Simply combine ½ cup of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with about ¼ cup canned pumpkin, and add any desired sweeteners and toppings of choice (we’re fans of cinnamon and pecans!).

7. Muffins. Blueberry muffins are so two weeks ago. Pumpkin puree perks up any ordinary breakfast treat. Swap in whole-wheat flour and sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top for a healthy start to the day!

8. Granola. Pumpkin seeds take center stage in this recipe, packing an extra crunch to an already healthy mix of whole-grains, nuts, and spices. Serve it atop some pumpkin yogurt for one big pumpkin party in your mouth.

9. French toast. Pumpkin puree, plus peanut butter, plus whole-grain bread equals probably the best French toast ever.

10. Biscuits. Skip the gravy and enjoy these biscuits all on their own. Light, fluffy, and oh, filled with pumpkin, it’s near impossible not to resist seconds (or thirds…).

11. Sandwich bread. There’s whole-wheat, multi-grain, 7-seed, and…pumpkin bread! Toast it up, add some jam, or even go crazy and use it to make French toast or in a classic sandwich. (Editor’s note: Try the classic “Thanksgiving” sandwich on this bread! The combo of turkey and cranberry with the pumpkin is perfect!)

 

Photo: Angela Liddon / OhSheGlows.com

 

Spreads, Snacks, and Sides

12. Mashed potatoes. Potatoes mashed with pumpkin, stirred with spinach, and mixed with almond milk? Yes, please. This out-of-the-box mashed potato recipe is as unique as it is nutritious and damn delicious. (Recipe pictured above.)

13. Hummus. For a slightly sweeter dip that’s still filled with tahini and chickpeas, just add pumpkin puree. With a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, this spin on the classic Middle Eastern spread will knock your (fall-themed) socks off.

14. “Butter.” Not to be confused with that stuff in the dairy section, pumpkin butter is a great sweet treat to spread on toast or a piece of fresh fruit. Just some stirring over the pan will create a homemade spread that’s better than anything from the jar.

15. Frosting. Want a spread with some staying power? Try mixing canned pumpkin with almond butter, protein powder, and a dash of cinnamon. Perfect on a pita, cupcake, or banana.

16. Dessert dip. For a little indulgence, try this pumpkin dip with Greek yogurt, brown sugar, and of course, pumpkin! Slice up an apple and you’ve got yourself the perfect afternoon snack.

17. Bruschetta. For a snack, appetizer, or side dish, give pumpkin bruschetta a try. Sauté sweet pumpkin, top with goat cheese, and serve on a thinly sliced piece of multi-grain bread for the perfect autumn bite.

18. Party dip. Take a dinner cheese dip up a notch by using pumpkin instead. This recipe is both party-approved and vegan, and is great smothered on whole-grain bread.

19. Pickles. No cucumbers are necessary for this savory, autumn treat! Pickle thick slices of pumpkin instead for a salty, tangy side to any sandwich.

20. Roasted seeds. Pumpkin seeds are another great way to enjoy all this fruit has to offer. Simply roast them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt (or other spices!) for a crunchy snack.

21. Guacamole. If avocados with some cilantro and lime isn’t good enough, how bout’ adding some pumpkin, too? Those tortilla chips won’t know what hit them!

22. Dinner rolls. Sometimes, there’s nothing like a warm roll straight from oven with a drizzle of olive oil! To amp up our favorite carb-treat even more, pumpkin puree does the trick.

23. Pesto. There’s no need for basil in this pesto recipe. (Trust us!) With pumpkin puree, pecans, garlic, and some parm cheese, you’ll end up with a sweet and savory spread that goes great on pasta, crackers, or straight up with a spoon.

24. Garlic knots. Better believe it. Adding some canned pumpkin to homemade dough makes the knots nice and moist, while adding some extra fiber and protein.

Photo: Lauren / HealthyFoodforLiving.com

 

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

25. Mac n’ cheese. Our favorite comfort food just got creamier (and tastier!). Add pumpkin puree to the pan and those elbows won’t know what hit it. (Recipe pictured above.)

26. Soups. For a creamy soup without the cream, head to the pumpkin patch! Cozy up with a bowl-full of pumpkin-apple or Thai-spiced soup — it’s perfect as the weather cools down.

27. Salads. The main crux of a salad doesn’t have to be greens. Adding chopped and roasted pumpkin to the bowl of arugula makes the perfect base for a salad with all the right fixin’s. (Our favorites? Dried cranberries, pecans, and roasted chicken.)

28. Chili. To add some extra spice to a comforting bowl of chili, just add pumpkin. It will add a sweet, nutty flavor to the bowl to satisfy any autumn taste bud.

29. Panini. Skip the mayo and add pumpkin spread to build a perfect fall Panini!  A mixture of pumpkin puree, garlic, salt, and pepper compliments an array of veggies and adds a sweet, robust flavor in every bite.

30. Pizza. No pepperoni needed for this killer pie. Making a sweet, tangy pizza sauce with pumpkin is the perfect base for our favorite Italian meal. (Bonus points for impressing dinner guests!)

31. Pasta. Who doesn’t like to occasionally indulge in a bowl of pasta with a comforting creamy sauce? Get that velvety sauce texture without the excess calories by using pumpkin puree as the base combined with chicken stock, almond milk, and seasonal spices.

32. Risotto. This dish is thick and velvety to begin with, so adding pumpkin only intensifies its creamy deliciousness. Top the risotto with roasted pumpkin to really feel like fall! Or, add some pumpkin puree to the simmering mixture.

33. Raviolis. This is a true autumn meal. Wrapping up creamy pumpkin and cheese filling with a pasta shell results in a sweet, comforting dish that makes sure nobody goes home hungry. Go extra healthy and swap the pasta for wonton wrappers.

34. Burgers. To bulk up that veggie burger and add a touch of sweetness, pumpkin is the way to go. This simple recipe combines canned pumpkin with black beans to make a mean burger without the meat.

35. Savory bake. For some baked, autumn goodness, stick a pumpkin in the oven. Baked alongside sweet potatoes and brown sugar, and you’ve got a sweet meal anyone will enjoy.

36. Quesadillas. For a filling Mexican treat, put some chopped, sauteed pumpkin (along with some jalapeños and cheese for good measure) between the tortillas. No sour cream necessary!

Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft

 

Sweet Treats

37. Custard. For a cool and creamy autumn treat, pumpkin custard is the answer. Go the no-bake route to save some time, and mix the pumpkin with Greek yogurt for good measure.

38. Cheesecakes. It’s no Cheesecake Factory, but you will save some calories and still get that pumpkin fix. Mixed with low-fat cream cheese on top of a vanilla wafer crust, there’s no way this pumpkin puree-based dessert will be anything short of a crowd pleaser.

39. Pudding. For a spin on a classic kid’s treat, add pumpkin puree to an instant vanilla pudding mix and throw some fall spices in for good measure. It’s that simple. And delicious.

40. Cookies. Move over snicker doodle, tis’ the season for pumpkin oatmeal cranberry chocolate chip cookies. (We’re stoked, too.) Make em for your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or simply yourself.

41. Pies. Pumpkin pie is a classic, and for good reason: It’s delicious. For a healthier spin, use rolled oats for the crust, and add applesauce and coconut oil to the pumpkin mix.

42. Popsicles. Yep, pumpkin can come on a stick, too! Surprise your friends with this icy treat that’s still great to chow down during the fall.

43. Cakes. Don’t let them eat just any cake, Queen Marie-Antoinette. Pumpkin cake is the way to go for a moist and sweet cake with just the right touch of spice.

44. Whoopie pies. This Maine-born treat needs some pumpkin love. Add a can of pumpkin puree to the pie mix and have yourself an autumn indulgence we all deserve.

45. Brittle. To bring pumpkin seeds back in the forefront, try this pumpkin seed brittle for a salty and sweet treat. With only a few simple ingredients, this is a dessert that’s both easy to make and devour.

46. Sherbet. If you were to take the filling of a pumpkin pie and freeze it, it’d taste just like this pumpkin sherbet. Creamy (without the fat!) and perfectly spiced, we can eat this straight from the tub.

Photo: Marleigh Riggins Miller / Sloshed.hyperkinetic.org

 

Drinks

47. Hard cider. Cider drinks, don’t sweat it! Now you can have a share of the pumpkin brew fun, too. Try your hand at making it yourself or give one of the newer bottled versions a go. (Recipe pictured above.)

48. Milkshakes. Pumpkin pie in a glass just happened. Try this pumpkin pie milkshake filled with frozen bananas, low-fat pumpkin fro-yo or pumpkin puree, and a touch of maple syrup, and try not to slurp it down in one gulp.

49. Protein shakes. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a post-workout snack, whip up a pumpkin pie smoothie that’s packed with protein (thanks to protein powder!) for staying power.

50. Coffee drinks. For a cheaper and healthier latte option, make some DIY pumpkin spice syrup to flavor any cup of coffee or latte. You’ll never want to leave home after wrapping your hands around this coffee mug.

51. Hot chocolate. Canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice is all you need to take hot chocolate up a notch. So give pumpkin spice hot chocolate a whirl to warm up your hands and heart.

52. Beer. Beer lovers, unite! With autumn comes the arrival of pumpkin ales on every store aisle, and for good reason. To go DIY, brew your own pumpkin beer for a non-stop stash.

53. Cocktails. Who says you can’t put pumpkin in that martini glass? Just add a little pumpkin puree to rum, milk, spices, and ice — and blend or shake!

Have some more pumpkin ideas not on this list?  Let us know in the comments below, or tweet the author @lschwech.

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About the Author
Laura Schwecherl
I'm the marketing director at Greatist, and when I'm not hanging at HQ with my best buds (aka co-workers...) you can find me training for...

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