Pumpkin conjures up feelings of fall and all things warm, sweet and, yes, even spicy — PSLs are still very much still a thing.
But, much like other fruits and vegetables, you can actually enjoy pumpkin year-round by using canned pumpkin, or, at least what we call canned pumpkin. Canned pumpkin may include pumpkin, but it can also include (and it often does) a mixture of other squashes, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
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Canned pumpkin's unique flavor offers flexibility: You can go the sweeter route by making pies, pancakes, muffins and lattes or you can skew savory and create dishes by pairing the ingredient with vegetables, cheeses and meats.
The latter is a great way to reap the nutritional benefits of pumpkin (and there are many) without overdoing it on the sweet stuff, i.e. added sugar.
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A cup of canned pumpkin has 85 calories, almost zero fat, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 0 grams of added sugar (make sure you're not using canned pumpkin pie filling) and almost 3 grams of protein. The squash is also loaded with iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin E, vitamin K and beta-carotene.
To expand your range of pumpkin recipes, we've pulled together seven of our favorite savory dishes, all including canned pumpkin as an ingredient.
1. Turkey Pumpkin Soup
Pair a bowl of this soup with a piece of crusty bread to help soak up all of the goodness. Here, the canned pumpkin is added to the broth to give it a thicker, more filling, consistency.
The mix of vegetables — carrots, onion, celery and pumpkin — paired with a lean protein like turkey breast, gives this simple soup a hefty dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Even though it's on the lighter side, it still packs in 15 grams of satiating protein to help keep you satisfied.
Get the Turkey Pumpkin Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy
You've heard of cauliflower steak, right? Well, this is another meat-free take using a whole head of cauliflower in place of a roasted turkey or chicken.
The canned pumpkin helps make up the gravy. Traditional gravy is made using the drippings of the meat you're cooking, which is then combined with flour and sometimes vegetables that have been cooked down. It can be high in saturated fat — a cup of sausage gravy has about 9 grams of saturated fat.
And saturated fat is linked to a greater risk of heart disease, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine.
By using canned pumpkin as the gravy base, you're keeping it plant-based and the entire recipe has just 3 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Get the Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
A creamy Alfredo-like pasta sauce that's good for you? You're not dreaming — this pumpkin sauce is rich and creamy like Alfredo but much healthier. There are few (if any) redeeming nutritional qualities when it comes to Alfredo sauce but pumpkin sauce is another story.
We know canned pumpkin is high in fiber. This, in combination with using whole-wheat noodles in place of refined grain-based noodles, also helps to up the fiber content. Each serving has 11 grams of fiber, which is significant for a pasta dish.
About 95 percent of Americans don't eat enough fiber on a daily basis, as stated in a January 2017 paper in American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, so every little bit counts. You could add chopped broccoli to this dish to increase the servings of vegetables and add more fiber, too.
Get the Pumpkin Pasta Sauce recipe at Well Plated.
4. Pumpkin Hummus
Hummus on its own is creamy and delicious and, of course, nutritious. But by adding canned pumpkin, you're taking it to another level.
This hummus recipe also calls for pepitas, the tiny green seed found inside of a white shell, aka pumpkin seeds.
Pepitas contain phytosterols, a compound found in plants that have a similar structure to cholesterol, which is a type of fat found only in animal products.
Because they have similar structures, phytosterols actually block the absorption of cholesterol in the body, according to Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute.
Get the Pumpkin Hummus recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup
It's the canned pumpkin that adds "creamy" to this soup's name while still keeping it dairy-free. Soups may seem like you're eating less — you're sipping your food after all — but blended soups appear to have the goods when it comes to keeping you feeling full.
A clinical study published in October 2012 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effects of eating a solid meal versus a chunky soup versus a blended soup. The researchers found that the thicker blended soup provided the greatest feeling of satiety.
Get the Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Pumpkin Sage Risotto With Asparagus and Lemon
This risotto dish is pumpkin-based, making it an obvious choice for a savory fall dish — but the asparagus and lemon keep it light and perfect for the summertime, too.
Asparagus contains prebiotic fiber, a type of fiber that we can't directly digest. Instead, the fiber is broken down by the good bacteria in our guts.
When this happens, short-chain fatty acids are created, including a specific type called butyrate. Preliminary research, as described in a February 2018 review in Advances in Nutrition, links butyrate to promoting a healthy gut barrier, reducing inflammation and maintaining homeostasis through the gut-brain axis.
Get the Pumpkin Sage Risotto With Asparagus and Lemon recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Creamy Pumpkin Marinara
Marinara is great because it's an easy and delicious way to get more veggies in your diet. By adding canned pumpkin puree to the sauce, you're adding loads more nutrition (read: vitamin A, fiber, iron and more) but you're also adding a rich warmth to the dish as well.
A cup of this sauce provides all of the vitamin A you need in a day. This vitamin is crucial for healthy vision and supporting our immune system. It's also needed to keep our lungs, heart and kidneys working properly, as explained by the National Institutes of Health.
Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, the olive oil, butter and cheese all help your body better absorb it from the sauce.
Get the Creamy Pumpkin Marinara recipe from Cookie + Kate.
- Food and Drug Administration: "CPG Sec 585.725 "Pumpkin" - Labeling Articles Made from Certain Varieties of Squash"
- MyFoodData: "Canned Pumpkin"
- MyFoodData: "Sausage Gravy"
- ational Institutes of Health U.S National Library of Medicine: "Facts About Saturated Fats"
- American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine: "Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap"
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute: "Phytosterols"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Soups Increase Satiety Through Delayed Gastric Emptying Yet Increased Glycaemic Response"
- Advances in Nutrition: "Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health?"
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Consumers"