Did you know pumpkin is actually a fruit, not a vegetable! That said, it’s nutritionally more like vegetables than fruits. Beyond its delicious taste, pumpkin is extremely nutritious. Pumpkin is high in vitamin A which can help strengthen the immune system. A single serving (1 cup) provides over 200% the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. Pumpkin also contains lutein, an antioxidant that helps protect vision. It is also rich in potassium. And, this electrolyte can help regulate blood pressure.
While technically a fruit, it works in both savory and sweet recipes. A few ways to enjoy pumpkin
- Stir pumpkin puree into creamy sauces or soups.
- Add pumpkin puree to plain or vanilla Greek yogurt and top with pumpkin seeds for a high protein and filling snack.
- Add pumpkin puree to a smoothie.
- Roast pumpkin for a healthy side dish.
Here are two recipes using pumpkin to try that have no refined sugar!
Healthy Pumpkin Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (can substitute another cup of all-purpose flour if desired)
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda +1/2 tsp salt
1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a bread pan with cooking spray and flour (or line with parchment paper).
In a large bowl, combine the flour(s), pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, canola oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top if desired.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Pumpkin Energy Bites
2 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup canned pumpkin puree (100% pumpkin)
¼ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
½ cup honey or maple syrup
Pinch of salt
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until well-mixed. Scoop mixture and roll into balls. Freeze until solid and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Makes 25-30 small bites.
Forge is delighted to partner with Laura Rutledge, MA, RDN, CSO, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist who focuses on oncology nutrition for during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. For more information and recipes from Laura check out Nourishing Plate. You can find additional blogs from Laura on Forge’s blog!