October Brings Great Weather and Pumpkins!!

— Written By and last updated by

It’s a shame that pumpkin is really only popular for two months out of the year. Besides being great for decorating, and the only vegetable that is carved and lit up, this low-calorie squash is rich in potassium and loaded with beta-carotene (a powerful antioxidant), and its natural sweetness brings flavor to baked goods without any added guilt.

Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. This aids in weight loss as well because a fiber-rich diet seems to help people eat less, and thereby shed pounds.

As much as I hate to admit it, the canned pumpkin retains most of the fiber and nutrients therefore making it almost equally nutritious to the fresh pumpkin. One note to remember is that when making your own fresh pumpkin puree it can be thinner than canned, so you may need to strain.

Give these healthy pumpkin recipes a try. You may enjoy pumpkin a whole lot longer this season!

Pumpkin, Bean, and Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1½ to 1¾ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup no-salt-added red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
  • 8 6-inch white corn tortillas, softened
  • Pico de Gallo or salsa (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and chile pepper; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in pumpkin, 1½ cups of the water, the chili powder, cumin, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until heated through. If necessary, stir in enough of the remaining ¼ cup water to reach desired consistency.
  2. In a large bowl, slightly mash beans. Stir in half of the pumpkin mixture, the cooked chicken, and ¼ cup of the cheese.
  3. Spoon a generous ⅓ cup of the bean mixture onto each tortilla. Roll up tortillas; place, seam sides down, in the prepared baking dish. Pour the remaining pumpkin mixture over tortilla roll-ups.
  4. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes more or until heated through. If desired, serve with Pico de Gallo.

Serves 4. Each serving contains: 357 calories, 8 g fat, 54 mg cholesterol, 465 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate (12 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 28 g protein.

Frozen Pumpkin Slices

Ingredients

  • 4 2½-inch squares cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or sugar substitute, equivalent to 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons dried egg whites, such as Just Whites brand
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 5.3-6 ounce carton plain fat-free Greek yogurt, drained
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 8-ounce container frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl stir together crushed graham crackers, pecans, flour, sugar, salt, and the ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon; stir in melted butter. Spread in a 9 x 9 x 2-inch square baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl stir dried egg whites into the warm water; whisk with a fork. Let stand for 2 minutes. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the dried egg whites are dissolved and mixture is frothy. Add lemon juice and cream of tartar. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
  3. In a medium bowl stir together pumpkin, yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, and the ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Gently fold egg white mixture into pumpkin mixture. Fold in the whipped topping.
  4. Lightly coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle ⅓ cup of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of the loaf pan. Spread 4 cups of the pumpkin mixture evenly over the graham cracker mixture. Evenly sprinkle the remaining graham cracker mixture over the pumpkin mixture in loaf pan, pressing in slightly. Top with the remaining pumpkin mixture, spreading evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  5. To serve, invert onto a chilled serving platter. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before cutting into slices.

Serves 12. Each serving contains: 133 calories, 6 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate (1 g fiber, 10 g sugars), 3 g protein.

Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or tub-style vegetable oil spread
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground sage
  • ¼ cup fat-free milk
  • 1 recipe Miniature Pumpkin Bowls (optional)
  • Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Directions

  1. In a covered large saucepan, cook potatoes and garlic in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain.
  2. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed until nearly smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cream cheese, butter, ground sage, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Gradually add milk, beating until light and fluffy. Return to saucepan; heat through.
  3. If desired, spoon mashed potatoes into Miniature Pumpkin Bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Makes 4 servings (¾ cup each)
  4. Miniature Pumpkin Bowls: Preheat oven to 325°F. Cut off ½ inch from the tops of 4 miniature pumpkins (6 to 8 ounces each); discard tops. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and membranes and discard. Place pumpkins; cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until pumpkins are easily pierced with a fork.

Serves 4. Each serving contains: 159 calories, 5 g fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 206 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate (4 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 4 g protein.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • ½ cup 60% to 70% tub-style vegetable oil spread, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ⅓ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
  • 1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine vegetable oil spread, brown sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Beat in pumpkin and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
  3. Spread dough into prepared pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in half of the dessert topping. Fold in remaining dessert topping. Spread over cooled pumpkin layer. If desired, sprinkle with nutmeg. Cut into bars.

Serves 25. Each serving contains: 90 calories, 4 g fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate (5 g sugars), 1 g protein.