The fall season officially starts in a few days and I am too excited for spooky movies, seasonal candles, Halloween decor, and pumpkin-flavored everything! This is my favorite time of the year and I love to take advantage by adding as many fall-inspired dishes to my recipe rotation as possible.
I love the warm flavors of pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, and maple this time of year. To celebrate the start of fall, we’ve rounded 24 of our favorite healthy pumpkin recipes including healthy breakfast options, snacks, hearty dinners, and desserts. But first a little background info!
Did you know that the pumpkins you buy for carving are not the same ones you’d buy for recipes? Recipes typically call for canned pumpkin puree as it’s more convenient, but you can hit up your local farmers market or grocery store and look for sugar pumpkins if you prefer fresh. Get tips on how to pick, prep, & store sugar pumpkins.
Carving vs. Sugar Pumpkins
Sugar or pie pumpkins are smaller, rounder, sweeter, and packed with flesh as opposed to their Halloween counterpart, the carving pumpkin. Carving pumpkins tend to be much larger in size, have a thinner shell, grainier texture, and less flesh making them easier to carve.
How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Making pumpkin puree at home is as easy as 1, 2, 3… Here’s how:
- Prep your sugar pumpkin: Remember, sugar pumpkins are not the same as the pumpkin you carve for Halloween. Grab a few of these smaller baking pumpkins for roasting. Make sure to wash them thoroughly before cutting in half and scooping out the seeds (save those for roasting!)
- Roast your pumpkin: Place pumpkin halves on baking sheet and roast at 350F for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, you can easily remove the skin or scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- Puree! Add pumpkin to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You can also use a potato ricer and simply mash it up like you would mashed potatoes!
Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
Did you save all those pumpkin seeds (either from the sugar pumpkins or those you carved for Halloween)? Time to roast them for a healthy snack!
Make sure to seperate your seeds from the rest of the pulpy insides of the pumpkin and give them a good rinse. Then, spread seeds on a baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil, season as desired and roast at 250F for 45 minutes. Stir the seends occassionally throughout the cooking time to avoid burning.
What to do with leftover canned pumpkin puree?
If you have leftover canned pumpkin puree, store it in a glass or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Besides finding other delicious ways to add pumpkin to your go-to recipes (see list below for tons of ideas!) your best bet is to freeze it for later.
Simply add leftovers to a freezer-safe container or bag to freeze. Thaw overnight or in cold water when you’re ready to use it again. Frozen pumpkin puree will keep for several months in the freezer.