pumpkin recipe

Pumpkin Mania: Cooking With Everyone’s Favorite Fall Fruit

Posted on by Charlotte Furman. This entry was posted in Eating Well and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Would it even be fall without pumpkin?

Not if you ask the food industry, which last year sold more than $360 million dollars of pumpkin-flavored products. You can now find anything from the infamous Starbucks pumpkin spice latte to pumpkin-flavored eggnog, marshmallows, Oreos, breakfast cereals, yogurts, sausages, and even beauty products.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of the pumpkin. It’s a delicious way to increase our intake of fruits and vegetables, which can help to protect against heart disease and certain types of cancers. In spite of what CNBC is now calling ‘pumpkin spice mania,’ there are many ways to embrace the season and enjoy a fresh-baked pumpkin muffin without the artificial and processed ‘pumpkin flavor.’ So, let’s first take a closer look at this wonderful fruit.

Yes, pumpkin is technically classified as a fruit and belongs to the same family as other winter squash, such as the acorn and butternut squash. It is low in fat and calories while providing high amounts of vitamin A and potassium, and notable amounts of immune-boosting vitamin C and fiber.

Pumpkin is quite versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It lends itself well to both breakfast (pancakes, waffles, muffins) and dinner. Many recipes use canned pumpkin puree, which saves some time from cutting and baking your own pumpkin from scratch. You can also find pre-cubed pumpkin, or for the real do-it-yourselfer, start with the whole pumpkin, which also allows you to bake and enjoy a healthy snack of fresh pumpkin seeds. If you’re buying a whole pumpkin, note that there are varieties: the sugar pumpkin is better for baking and cooking with than the typical carving/jack-o-lantern pumpkin.

For a quick and healthy dinner recipe, try this Pumpkin Chili, adapted from the Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook:


1 yellow onion

1 carrot

1 bell pepper

1 tsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno, minced

2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari

2 ½ T. mild chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes

1 ½ cups pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie puree)

2 C. water or vegetable broth

3 cups cooked beans, or 2 15 oz. cans (any variety you like is fine: black beans, pinto, kidney)

1 T. lime juice

Optional toppings: cilantro, chopped onion, jalapeno, avocado

  1. Chop onion, carrot, and bell pepper into small pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes, until they begin to brown.
  3. Add the garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce, and spices and mix together.
  4. Add the tomatoes, pumpkin, broth, and beans and stir to mix completely.
  5. Simmer all together for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. When it is done simmering, remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.
  7. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Do you have a pumpkin recipe you love? Please share in the comments!


Charlotte_FurmanCharlotte Furman, MS, RD, CD, has experience as a clinical dietitian at the University of Washington Medical Center where she is currently the Technology and Wellness Manager. In her free time Charlotte enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, cooking delicious meals, and playing with her new dog, Scout.

This post was originally published in the RD Blog. You can visit the RD Blog and see its archives if you have a UW Medicine ID.

2 Thoughts on “Pumpkin Mania: Cooking With Everyone’s Favorite Fall Fruit”

On October 22, 2015 at 9:28 AM, Tracey MacRae said:

I love pumpkin! This chili sounds terrific. Here is one of my favorite pumpkin recipes:
Yukon gold mashers with pumpkin, arugula and roasted garlic
2.5-3# Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1” chunks (I don’t peel, feel free to)
2 tsp salt
¼ cup roasted garlic (recipe follows)
15oz can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie blend or 2 cups fresh pumpkin, roasted until tender
2 cups packed baby arugula or spinach
½ cup half and half or unsweetened nut milk of your choice
2T whole butter or Earth Balance margarine
2 tsp salt
½-2 tsp fresh black pepper
½ tsp smoked paprika

If you are using fresh pumpkin, peel and seed the pumpkin. Cut it into ½” chunks and toss them with a touch of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast them in a preheated 375* oven for about 15 -25 minutes or until fork tender.

Get the prepped potatoes into a large pot and cover with cold water by an inch and the 2 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil then turn down to a gentle simmer and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 min. Drain very well in a colander and then lay a clean dish towel over them. While the potatoes are draining, add the half and half or nut milk, roasted garlic and pumpkin puree (or roasted chunks) to pot you cooked the potatoes in along with the butter or margarine and place back on the burner you cooked on, turned off.

Now, return the drained potatoes to the pot you cooked them in with the dairy and pumpkin. Toss the arugula over the top and season with the salt and pepper. Now mash this all together, I use a sturdy whisk, but a masher or hand mixer on low works too. Check for salt and serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

** to roast garlic:
Preheat your oven to 375°F (A toaster oven works great for this.)
Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
Place the garlic heads in a baking pan, cut side up. (A muffin pan works great for this, as it keeps the garlic bulbs from rolling around.) Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves. Cover the bulb with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F (205°C) for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.

To roast peeled garlic cloves: Heat oven to 375ºF. Line a pie pan or baking dish with foil. Put in a handful of garlic cloves in the center then drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Fold up the foil packet and seal tightly. Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until soft.

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