5 Easy, Healthy Dinners Start With A Can Of Pumpkin
A can of pumpkin puree is perhaps fall's most classic staple ingredient. While it shines, of course, in pumpkin pie, there are a ton of other ways to use this fiber and vitamin-A-packed food to make easy, healthy, seasonal dinners. Just be sure to look for a can that's BPA-free, with pumpkin as its only ingredient (some pumpkin pie fillings, which look deceptively similar, contain sugars and tons of spices that can muddle your finished dish)—then get going on one of the below, and enjoy a healthy meal on the table in under 20 minutes.
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
Pumpkin makes a delightfully silky base for a soup—plus, it turns it an eye-popping orange color. To make this five-ingredient wonder, just chop up 1 yellow onion and sauté it in a drizzle of avocado oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When the onion turns brown at the edges (about 5 to 7 minutes), add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and ¼ teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt. Cook until the paste is browning (this adds a rich, umami flavor super quickly!), then add in one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree and 1 cup of veggie stock. Stir and bring to a simmer, then add 1 can of drained, rinsed black beans. Cook until the beans are warmed through, then add additional salt to taste and serve. Makes about 2 servings.
Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce
Get ready to meet your new favorite pasta sauce! Sweet with just the right amount of savory notes, this blend is so creamy you'll never believe it's dairy-free. In a medium pot over medium heat, sauté 1 small yellow onion in a drizzle of avocado oil until it's translucent. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 5 chopped sage leaves, and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is just brown and the sage is crispy before adding 1½ cups of nondairy milk of choice, one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree, and ½ teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt, plus a pinch of nutmeg (optional, but a lovely note). Stir until well combined, then bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring to boil a medium pot of generously salted water. Add 4 servings of the pasta of your choice and cook until just al dente. Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water. Toss pasta in the pumpkin sauce, using a splash of the pasta water to make the sauce silky. Top with additional red pepper flakes, if desired. Makes about 4 servings.
Savory Pumpkin Rosemary Oatmeal
Oatmeal for dinner? Savory oatmeal is quickly becoming the dinner trend of choice for time-depleted people who want a nourishing, stick-to-their-ribs meal. To make this, just combine 1½ cups of nondairy milk, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, 1 cup canned pumpkin puree, 1 cup of rolled oats, and ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt to simmer in a medium pot over medium-high. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the oats are thickened and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Taste, and add additional salt if desired. Makes about 2 servings.
Vegetable Stir Fry With Pumpkin Curry Sauce
A classic stir-fry takes a decidedly autumnal turn with a bold pumpkin curry sauce that's surprisingly easy to make. In a medium pot over medium heat, sauté 1 small yellow onion in a drizzle of avocado oil until it's translucent. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of red curry paste, and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree, 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, ½ teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of tamari. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve over pan-fried veggies (we love using a frozen mix or grabbing whatever's seasonal from the local market!), and cooked rice or grain of choice. Makes about 4 servings.
This pumpkin hummus is a little sweeter and creamier than typical hummus and pairs well with crackers, pita, and all sorts of veggies. It has tons of protein, fiber, and healthy fat, and will keep you full for hours. To make it, just combine in a food processor fitted with the metal blade: 1 cup canned pumpkin puree; ½ cup tahini; one 13.5-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained; 4 cloves of garlic, peeled; ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil; 2 tablespoons maple syrup; ¼ teaspoon cumin; and ¼ teaspoon salt. Puree until smooth, then taste and add additional salt if desired. Use on sandwiches or as a dipper for your favorite crudités! Makes about 4 servings.
Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.