It's Fall! Celebrate With The 10 Healthiest (And Most Delicious) Ways To Eat Pumpkin

Contributing Food Editor By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
Expert review by Megan Fahey, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

Megan Fahey, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian, Functional Medicine Nutritionist and Registered Yoga Teacher. She holds her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Bastyr University, where she was trained to artfully blend eastern and western healing modalities.

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It's officially pumpkin season! While the orange fruit (yes, they're a fruit!) is ubiquitous this time of year, it can be hard to figure out interesting and healthy ways to incorporate it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. We reached out to some of the country's top nutrition experts to find out their favorite way to use pumpkin, and they had some genius ideas (who knew it'd work well in cheesy pasta?). Here's all the pumpkin inspo you need this fall.

1. Wholesome pumpkin pie 

Pie is the best way to eat pumpkin. Hands down. Topped with organic homemade maple whipped cream. To make a wholesome pumpkin pie, use organic eggs, maple syrup, and a whole grain crust. The swaps provide more nutrients, less environmental baggage, and you don't lose any of the flavor. 

—Aviva Romm, M.D., holistic women's hormone expert

2. In muffins

My favorite way to use pumpkin would definitely be in muffin form. I love the depth of flavor and satiety-promoting fiber that pumpkin brings to a muffin, not to mention the delicious taste of fall. Adding pumpkin to muffins gives a boost of nutrition such as beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, giving them a big nutritional boost compared to regular muffins. Because of the high fiber content in pumpkin, I'm not reaching for another snack 20 minutes later. You can find one of my favorite recipes for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Oat Muffins here

—Samantha Voor, R.D., founder of Fresh Plates Nutrition

3. Pumpkin muffins and pumpkin apple butter

Pumpkin for me is all about the pumpkin muffins and pumpkin apple butter made in the Instant Pot. Pumpkin purée is filled with antioxidants and gives baked goods the most amazing texture and flavor. Pumpkin apple butter tastes good on just about everything—stirred into oatmeal or slathered on whole grain bread.

 —Dana Angelo White, M.S., R.D., and multi-time cookbook author

4. As a binder in gluten-free baking

I do a lot of gluten-free vegan baking (especially in the fall and winter) and know that I need to make up for the absence of binders found in traditional recipes (eggs, cream, and butter, for example). Canned pumpkin purée (not the pumpkin pie mix) offers an amazing option for adding volume, texture, and moisture to muffins, cookies, breads, and other baked goods. Often this leads to having some left over, which I spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze for smoothies. I also love this pumpkin pudding for a delicious fall breakfast as well. 

Sara McGlothlin, holistic nutritionist, founder of SaraMcGlothlin.com

5. Stirred into yogurt

My favorite way to eat pumpkin is stirred into plain whole milk Greek yogurt or skyr with cinnamon and vanilla extract. I love that it's got so much fiber (3 to 4 grams per half-cup), which helps make it filling. Sometimes I'll also stir in some chia seeds or ground flax for more fiber and plant-based omega-3s. If I need more staying power, I'll also add a teaspoon of sunflower seed butter for some healthy fats. A drizzle of really dark maple syrup on top adds a nice touch of sweetness without being overpowering. 

—Jessica Cording, R.D., mbg Collective member and author of The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety

Many store-bought flavored yogurts have so many additives and added sugar. Combining puréed pumpkin and plain Greek yogurt is a great way to add flavor and still control the ingredients and added sugar in your food. Top with some berries and nuts, and you've got yourself a delicious breakfast that is sure to get you excited for fall. 

—Allison (Aaron) Gross, M.S., RDN, CDN, founder of Nutrition Curator

6. In savory sauces

My favorite way to eat pumpkin is by using organic pumpkin purée in sauces. Yep—pumpkin sauce in a green lentil pasta is one of my favorite fall meals. While I don't have a precise recipe that I consistently follow, I typically caramelize onions and garlic and add them to the purée in a blender or food processor. I also add spices like thyme and rosemary, and a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil before heating it over the stove. If you like your sauces very thin, consider adding a liquid like a nut milk or water. If you appreciate a thicker sauce, keep it as is! 

Leah Silberman, R.D., founder of Tovita Nutrition

7. To make pastas extra cheesy

The orange hue is a great hack for making plant-based baked pastas look extra cheesy. As a gluten-free chef, it's also my favorite trick for adding body to the sauce without having to make a floury béchamel or add any dairy. I love this recipe.

—Phoebe Lapine, mbg Collective member and founder of Feed Me Phoebe

8. A CBD-infused PSL 

My favorite way to enjoy pumpkin is in this easy-to-make CBD-Infused Pumpkin Spice Latte. This warm beverage combines the anti-inflammatory health benefits of warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg with the anti-anxiety benefits of CBD hemp oil for the ultimate comforting fall beverage. Each PSL includes 2 tablespoons of pumpkin purée, which helps to provide important nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, along with dietary fiber. You can use nondairy milk (coconut still froths great) and limit the sugar, leaving you with a lower sugar, higher nutrient drink you can enjoy all season long. This is my go-to recipe. 

—Emily Kyle, M.S., RDN, and founder of EmilyKyleNutrition.com

9. In veggie soup

There are so many ways to eat pumpkin, but honestly one of my favorites is as part of a veggie soup. I like to cook it until the pumpkin is so soft that it crumbles into pieces that combine with the broth. I remember that's how my mother used to make it.  

—Vincent Pedre, M.D., mbg Collective member and author of Happy Gut

10. A sub in baked goods

I LOVE pumpkin season, and especially when canned puréed pumpkin arrives on the shelves, I use in a number of things. I often take one can of pumpkin and combine with a healthy cupcake or muffin mix (like Simple Mills). The pumpkin purée takes the place of the eggs, oil, water, etc., and I bake per instructions on the box. It's brilliant, tasty, and super delicious! 

Isabel Smith, R.D., founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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