Posted on by Neal Barnard, MD, FACC
It’s not quite autumn, but it’s already that time of year: pumpkin spice season!
From a pumpkin spice smoothie to spiced pumpkin oatmeal to pumpkin spice muffins, there are so many recipes to satisfy your pumpkin spice cravings! The recipes below are packed with actual pumpkin – a nutrition powerhouse loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can boost your health!
Pumpkins get their bright orange color from beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system, promotes healthy skin, and may even reduce cancer risk. That’s because beta-carotene inhibits oxidation and protects the body from free radicals, which can damage the cells and lead to cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Ready to add pumpkin to your menu?
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Makes 6 Servings
- 1 15-oz. can pumpkin purée
- 2 cups plant milk of your choice, or to taste
- 2 cups ice
- 2 Tbsp aple syrup, or to taste
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, or to taste
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice, or use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (or to taste)
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes until everything is incorporated.
Lentil Pumpkin Curry
Makes 5 Servings
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp mild curry powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree or sweet potato puree
- 2 3/4 cups water
- 2 cups chopped apples
- 1 1/2 Tbsp squeezed lemon juice, optional
In a large pot, combine 2 tablespoons water, onion, curry powder, coriander, cinnamon, garam masala and salt. Cover and cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring once, for 4 to 5 minutes, until onion starts to soften. If the onion sticks, add another splash of water.
Add the lentils and stir for a few minutes, then add the pumpkin and the water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the apples, cover, and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes (or longer), until the lentils are tender and the water is absorbed.
If the curry is too liquid for your taste, you can reduce it (uncovered) for another 15 minutes or so. Add the lemon juice, stir to incorporate, and serve.
If you'd like some heat, add 1/4 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes or a spicier curry powder along with the other spices when sautéing the onions.
Sweet Potato Pumpkin Seed Casserole
Makes 10 Servings
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp orange juice
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (1/2 tsp.)
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/3 cup chopped unsweetened apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped pumpkin seeds, raw or roasted
- 3 Tbsp thinly sliced green onions (green and/or white parts)
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork and bake in a baking dish for 50 to 60 minutes, until the potatoes are tender to the touch.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. Scoop the ﬂesh from the sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl, discarding the peels. Gently mash with a potato masher until smooth yet slightly lumpy. Add the syrup, orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, orange zest, and apricots to the sweet potatoes and stir.
Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish or 9" x13" baking dish and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the seeds are golden.
Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle with the sliced green onions. Serve immediately.
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Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.