5 Powerfully Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020

This orange superstar isn’t just for jack-o’-lanterns: It’s full of beta-carotene, fiber, omega-3s, and five B vitamins, which are important in blood sugar regulation. And although it’s rich in carbs, it’s balanced by the excellent nutritional benefits, as found in these healthy pumpkin recipes.

Moroccan Style Pumpkin and Lima Beans
Reverse Diabetes Book/Reader's Digest

Moroccan-Style Pumpkin and Lima Beans Recipe

This hearty blend of vegetables, spiced with turmeric, cumin, and coriander, features a secret Moroccan-inspired ingredient: dried apricots.

Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

• 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

• 1/2 tsp. turmeric

• 1/2 tsp. coriander

• Pinch of cumin

• 1 cup leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced

• 1 cup parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

• 1 lb. piece of pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

• 2 cups yellow and/or green summer squash, sliced

• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

• 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

• 1 can (14 oz.) lima beans, rinsed and drained

• Pinch of crushed dried red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 2 tbsp. pine nuts for garnish

• Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

1. Combine vegetable stock, turmeric, coriander, cumin, leeks, and parsnips in Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Add pumpkin, squash, and red pepper to pot, then bring stock back to a boil. Stir in apricots, lima beans and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 10 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
3. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in nonstick frying pan over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until they just begin to brown and smell nutty. Remove pine nuts to cutting board and chop coarsely.
4. Ladle vegetables into 4 deep bowls. Sprinkle with chopped pine nuts and parsley and serve.

Per serving: 242 cal, 4 g fat (0 g sat), 48 g carbs, 9 g protein, 10 g fiber, 0 mg chol, 319 mg sodium, 109 mg calcium

Whole Wheat Honey Pumpkin Rolls
Reverse Diabetes Book/Reader's Digest

Whole Wheat Honey Pumpkin Rolls Recipe

The whole wheat flour and pumpkin puree add healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber to these delicious rolls; pumpkin seeds add minerals and a tasty crunch to every bite.

Makes 24 rolls

Prep Time: 30 minutes + 2 hours rising

Cook Time: 12 minutes

• 1 envelope active dry yeast

• 1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin puree

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 cup whole wheat flour

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 1/2 cups unsalted, shelled pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

1. In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in honey until dissolved. Stir in pumpkin and oil. Stir in 4 cups of all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and salt until dough forms.
2. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Work in pumpkin seeds. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Punch dough down. Form dough into 24 equal-size balls. Place on prepared baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Uncover rolls.
5. Bake until rolls are puffed and golden and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 12 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving (1 roll): 171 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 26 g carbs, 6 g protein, 2 g fiber, 0 mg chol, 99 mg sodium, 12 mg calcium

Pumpkin Streusel Bread
Reverse Diabetes Book/Reader's Digest

Pumpkin Streusel Bread Recipe

You’d never know this delicious quick bread offers so many health benefits. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are loaded with magnesium, and we’ve even added some flaxseed for omega-3s.

Makes 2 loaves
(16 servings each)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

For topping

• 1⁄3 cup pumpkin seeds

• 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar

• 2 tsp. canola oil

For bread

• 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin puree

• 1 cup soy milk

• 1/2 cup canola oil

• 4 large eggs

• 1 cup packed brown sugar

• 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

• 1/4 cup ground flaxseed

• 4 tsp. baking powder

• 2 tsp. cinnamon

• 1 tsp. ginger

• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

• 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 4-by-8-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.
2. To make the topping: In small bowl, stir together pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, and oil. Set aside.
3. To make the bread: In medium bowl, combine pumpkin, soy milk, oil, eggs, and brown sugar. In large bowl, combine flour, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
4. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add pumpkin mixture, and stir until just blended. Pour into pans and top with pumpkin-seed mixture, pressing seeds gently into batter.
5. Bake until wooden toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.

Per serving: 285 cal, 11 g fat (1 g sat), 41 g carbs, 7 g protein, 6 g fiber, 45 mg chol, 241 mg sodium, 75 mg calcium

spicy ginger pumpkin soup
Reverse Diabetes Book/Reader's Digest

Spicy Ginger Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Serve this thick, creamy soup as an appetizer, or pair it with a salad or sandwich for a light, healthy lunch.

Serves 6

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 cup diced onion

• 1/2 cup diced celery

• 1/2 cup sliced leeks

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ground ginger

• 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

• 3 cups peeled pumpkin chunks or 2 cups solid-pack pumpkin puree

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 2 tsp. light brown sugar

• 1⁄8 tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg

• 6 tbs. plain low-fat yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream, for garnish

1. In large heavy saucepan, heat butter and oil over moderately high heat. Add onion, celery, leeks, garlic, and ginger, and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender.

2. Add broth, pumpkin, and salt, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until soup has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3. In food processor or blender, puree soup, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return soup to saucepan, and stir in sugar and nutmeg. Reheat over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until heated through. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish each serving with yogurt.

Per serving (1 cup): 124 cal, 6 g fat (2 g sat), 15 g carbs, 6 g protein, 4 g fiber, 6 mg chol, 266 mg sodium, 63 mg calcium

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake
Reverse Diabetes Book/Reader's Digest

Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake Recipe

If you’re going to indulge in a slice of rich, creamy cheesecake, choose this one, and you’ll also get a huge helping of healthy beta-carotene.

Serves 16

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 1/4 hours + chilling

• Nonstick cooking spray

• 1 cup graham cracker crumbs

• 3 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 3 packages (8 oz. each) 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

• 1/2cup firmly packed light brown sugar

• 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin puree

• 1/2 cup maple syrup

• 3 large eggs

• 2 tbsp. cornstarch

• 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

• 1 tsp. vanilla

• 1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 9-inch springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and oil. Press mixture over bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan. Bake until crust just begins to color, about 10 minutes.
3. In large bowl, beat together cream cheese and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, maple syrup, eggs, cornstarch, pie spice, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Pour filling into crust.
4. Bake cheesecake until center is just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Per serving: 231 cal, 13 g fat (7 g sat), 22 g carbs, 7 g protein, 1 g fiber, 64 mg chol, 297 mg sodium, 58 mg calcium

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest