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By Jamie Miller, Village Dietitian

Pumpkin takes center stage on our plates from the crisp days of fall through the festive holiday season. This versatile winter squash deserves the spotlight not only for its nostalgic flavor but also for its impressive nutritional profile. Packed with fiber, vitamins A, B2, C, and E, copper, potassium, and manganese, pumpkin offers a bounty of health benefits. But did you know it’s also a beauty secret? Its salicylic acid can help reduce acne, vitamin A minimizes scars, and beta-carotene promotes collagen while diminishing wrinkles and dark spots. It’s time to go beyond the traditional pumpkin pie and explore these delectable recipes that showcase the pumpkin’s true culinary potential.

Light Pumpkin Spice Creamer

  • 1 ½ cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tbsp granulated monk fruit, or sweetener of choice to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. Always shake the creamer before using. Creamer will keep in a sealed jar or container for 1-2 weeks. 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

  • 1.5 cups pumpkin puree
  • 8 oz light cream cheese or greek yogurt cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup monk fruit
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Top with chopped pecans, if desired, and serve with apples or graham crackers. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Protein Muffins

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup monk fruit, sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 2 cups peanut flour
  • 2 cups peanut flour
  • 2 cups peanut flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix again until smooth. Divide muffins among muffin pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Chicken Curry

  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil, split
  • 2 large chicken breast or tenders, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk
  • 1 (14 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 lb cauliflower florets, cut into small pieces
  • 1 (15 oz.) can low sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt, split, plus more to taste
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup, sugar, or sweetener of choice (optional), to taste
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Cooked rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for serving
  • Cilantro for garlic, option
Cooking Details: In a large skillet, heat ½ tbsp of oil. Add chicken pieces and season with ½ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper….

Cook undisturbed until the bottoms are opaque with golden brown patches. Flip and cook for an additional 3 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Removed from pan and set aside. Add ½ tbsp oil into the same large skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the onion and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, garlic, and ginger, and stir for 1 more minute, until fragrant. Add in the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir well, then add in the cauliflower and drained chickpeas. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover the pan to let the cauliflower cook until it’s fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes. When the cauliflower is tender, add the lemon juice and sweetener of choice maple syrup, starting with 1 tablespoon. Fold in the fresh spinach, last, if using. It will wilt quickly in the hot curry sauce. Add in the chicken pieces. Taste and adjust salt and maple syrup as needed to your preference. Serve the curry warm, with cooked rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Leftover pumpkin curry will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Pancakes

  • 2/3 cup oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: 4 tablespoons granulated monk fruit, maple syrup, or sweetener of choice to taste
  • Optional: ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped

Put all of the ingredients other than the walnuts in a blender and blend until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto hot griddle greased with coconut or avocado oil. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look firm and close to done; about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for additional 1-2 minutes or until pancakes are done. Serve warm topped with your favorite topping such as a small amount of pure maple syrup, dollop of coconut whip, drizzle of nut butter, sprinkle of cinnamon, etc. To make ahead, freeze in an airtight container with parchment paper separating each pancake. To reheat, pop in toaster and cook until warmed through.

Pumpkin Chili

  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey or chicken (93-99%)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or monk fruit sweetener (for sugar free option)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste, no salt added
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 (15 oz) can black or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • To garnish: cilantro, plain greek yogurt, diced avocado, 2% shredded cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeos, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground meat and cook until browned. Add all of the spices, sweetener of choice, diced tomatoes, pumpkin puree, and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add the beans and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Taste and adjust as needed for salt and sweetness to your liking. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings of choice. This also can be made in the slow cooker. After sauteeing the vegetables and ground meat, transfer to a slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.

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