By Carrie Havranek
If you’ve got pumpkin on the brain, and already have had your fill of pumpkin spice lattes, and it’s still too early for a pumpkin pie, it’s time to take another look at that can of pumpkin puree lurking in your cabinet. Canned pumpkin is such a game changer when it comes to switching up the flavor profile of things you’re probably already making from energy balls to gnocchi. It lends a bit of an earthiness to both sweet and savory dishes bringing with it a hefty dose of fiber, along with vitamins C and A.
Pro tip: Buy extra! Sometimes, depending on the nature of each year’s crop, it can be hard to find canned pumpkin after the New Year. I’ve gotten into the proactive habit of a few cans at a time, especially when they are on sale around the holidays.
Look no further for a plant-based soup that comes together fast with the best of your pantry — coconut milk and pumpkin puree — along with an onion and lots of good spices from the cabinet. Plus it’ll make your kitchen smell fantastic and give you quality leftovers for lunch.
This is one of those sneaky-good uses of pumpkin puree: energy balls. You get double your pumpkin with seeds, too. Dates add sweetness, coconut and oats help bind the whole thing, and the usual spice suspects add lots of flavor.
You gotta love a smoothie with a chopped nut garnish. Plain Greek yogurt keeps the sugar low and adds protein, and banana offers a creamy consistency. The nut butter, nut milk, and spices give you the taste of pie, but without — you know — all the work of pie.
Here’s an inside tip: Pumpkin gnocchi like this aren’t hard to make at all; a little prep is all you need. Sure, you could skip the butter and use olive oil for the sauce with sage, but it just won’t taste the same. Every once in a while you need a meal like this, because it’s good for the soul.
To your basic awesome fall chili, just add pumpkin. This recipe is great because it’s not only loaded with protein from the beans and ground beef, it’s also what makes it also highly adaptable. Ditch the ground turkey or beef and make it vegan; take out the beans and add more veggies and meat to turn this paleo. There are even directions for your slow cooker, too.
These pancakes are the definition of hearty. Between the whole wheat flour and the pumpkin puree, you’ll get a good dose of whole grain and fiber to fill you up because let’s face it, sometimes regular pancakes don’t sustain some of us as well as the likes of these. Use our milk of choice, dairy or nondairy, an egg, and just a smidge of sugar.
This vegetarian recipe is loaded with veggies in the likes of broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms, cooked together and then the sauce is made from the pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, spices and chipotle powder or chopped canned pepper. Adapt the recipe by reducing the cheese, using a vegan substitute, or swapping out the flour tortillas for corn ones.