Pumpkin Spice is here!
Every year at this time, our obsession turns to pumpkin spice everything. Every Starbucks and Coffee Bean in the nation unfurls their banners and shouts it to the world, and we come running.
But a medium (excuse me, Grande) sized Pumpkin Spice Latte boasts a whopping 380 calories, 120 of those being fat, 50 grams of sugar, 52 carbohydrate grams, 10% of your daily sodium allowance and 18% of the recommended daily cholesterol intake. Yikes!
So, how do we enjoy the fall season in all its pumpkin-y splendor and still manage to get through without a vast increase in our waistlines?
We have combed the internet for all the yummy pumpkin treats you crave that are just as delicious but even more enjoyable as you can feel good eating and drinking them. We are talking sugar-free, healthier sweeteners, gluten-free or grain-free, whole wheat and even some fantastic recipes for enjoying the great pumpkin’s heartier side in some wonderful soups, stews, salads and more. Scroll down for the recipes – both savory and sweet!
Before we dive in, I’d like to share with you a little secret. Not all pumpkin purées are created equal. There are several canned pumpkin brands out there that are not made of 100% pumpkin. Some brands are a blend of pumpkin and other winter squash such as acorn or butternut squash mash. That is why I always look for Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin. This is a classic and tried and true. I’ve been using it decade after decade to create pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and other pumpkin treats. You also want to watch that you don’t get pumpkin pie mix. This is pumpkin purée that comes pre-spiced with pumpkin pie spice. I personally like to control my own spicing so I steer clear of this.
You can also roast your own pumpkin. Many markets these days sell sugar pumpkins, which are small, round and dark orange and the most commonly used for mashed pumpkin. You can follow these instructions from Alton Brown to learn how to roast your own. Have fun!
Now, a few other tips and tricks before we get on with it. Some recipes you will find around the web will call for using pumpkin pie spice. While you can buy pumpkin pie spice at the store, I prefer to have all of the spices on hand and to create my own. Here is a great recipe for creating your own pumpkin pie spice mix.
If you don’t have mace, as the recipe calls for, just leave it out. I don’t tend to use it in my recipes and it is not included in many pumpkin pie spice recipes.
Lastly, what goes better with pumpkin lattes and pie than a fluffy dollop of whipped cream? Here is a quick and easy way to make a dairy-free, healthier coconut whipped cream at home. You’ll love how simple this is! You can even get creative and add a little pumpkin pie spice or other flavoring to the mix for an extra special topping.
And now, to the main event!
- Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte
This version uses grass-fed butter and your blender to churn out a hot, frothy, delicious drink in minutes. We love the maple syrup option for a touch of sweetness but it is still amazing without. You can also try this recipe without the butter or with grass-fed ghee for a casein and lactose free version.
- Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
Vanilla Greek yogurt adds protein and creaminess. Be sure to avoid yogurts high in sugar. If a healthy vanilla yogurt choice is not available, plain Greek yogurt is just as delicious. A great way to start the day!
- Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Good morning, autumn! This pumpkin spice smoothie is easy to make and the touch of maple syrup makes it extra special.
- Maple-Sweetened Pumpkin Muffins with Oats
Whole wheat flour and old-fashioned oats make these muffins hearty and healthy enough to enjoy at breakfast time, guilt-free. Have some with your morning joe!
- Paleo Pumpkin Bread
Classic moist pumpkin bread gets a protein boost with almond flour and whey protein (optional). Plus you’ll love the clever mix-in ideas given. I’d add chocolate chunks to that list. Mmm…
- Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes (Gluten-Free)
These delicious, fluffy pumpkin pancakes are gluten-free, grain-free and sugar-free. Did we also mention they’re delicious?
- Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Butter
Pumpkin butter is a seasonal favorite and delicious atop biscuits and scones or stirred into a cup of plain Greek yogurt for a snack. This version is cane sugar free and gets its delicious sweetness from maple syrup. Make up a batch this weekend and enjoy it for weeks to come. If you can make it last that long!
- Clean Eating Pumpkin Ice Cream
This dairy-free version uses creamy, ripe, frozen bananas as a base. Looks and tastes delicious – and only 4 ingredients! Just blend and freeze!
- Coconut Pumpkin Ice Cream
This vegan-friendly pumpkin-y delicious frozen treat uses organic full-fat coconut milk and a touch of vanilla. Use maple syrup or honey in place of suggested agave as it has been found to contain very high amounts of fructose. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with crunchy pepitas. Yum!
- Healthy Pumpkin Pie Recipe
This dairy-free recipe gets its creaminess from coconut milk and uses coconut sugar, which we love! There is also ground flax seed for extra omegas. Who’d say no to that! The crust even offers a whole wheat option. Thumbs up to that!
- Grain-free Pumpkin Pie
We love when we can find anything grain-free as we always do better off of grains. During the holidays, grain-free dessert recipes are even more vital. This one offers a grain-free almond flour crust – we buy our almond flour at Nuts.com or Honeyville brand for best texture. Now you can’t enjoy the classic pumpkin pie without the guilty conscience. Happy holidays, indeed!
- Healthier Pumpkin Pie with Whole Wheat Crust
Whole wheat crust and stevia sweetener make a delicious custardy pie that your entire family will love and you’ll be happy they’re eating. Whole new healthy could taste so good?
- Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake! Need we say more? Oh yes. Chocolate! But how? Almond milk, Greek yogurt, whole wheat flour. A creamy, dreamy delight you will shock your friends with when saying it is healthy. Go rock your next holiday party. It’s our little secret!
- Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Yes, please! On a crisp fall weekend morning, steaming cup of coffee, this is the fabulous clean cheat you want. Oh, yes! Naughty and nice all rolled into one. Grain and gluten-free, cane sugar free with all the winter spices you crave. This is what awaits you. Enjoy the season.
…AND THE SAVORY
- Simple Pumpkin Soup
This recipe by Minimalist Baker delivers on its promise. A 7-ingredient soup that requires just 15 minutes of prep time. I’ll give a high-five to that! We opt for the maple syrup version of this one as agave has been found to not be the best option in sweeteners. You can read a little about that here.
- Healthy Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup
This creamy Thai-Spiced Pumpkin Soup by Food Babe is spiked with red curry powder and coconut milk for a delicious spin on an autumn classic.
- Chicken Pumpkin Stew
This hearty stew hits the spot. Juicy chicken, meaty squash and fresh, healthy green beans. Great for a cool night inside a warm house with loved ones. We use olive or coconut oil in place of canola since 90% of canola oil is genetically modified thanks to companies like Monsanto (link). Use tapioca starch in place of the cornstarch for a grain-free option. Enjoy!
- Lentil Stew with Pumpkin
Packed full of hearty plant proteins, this lentil stew has so much to offer. Great flavor with chunks of pumpkin and little jewels of carrots dotting your bowl. You will love the exotic spice of turmeric and ginger. Both great immune boosters for the winter season.
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili
Turkey Pumpkin Chili – sign me up. This is a great Thanksgiving leftovers idea for all that extra turkey you’ll have lying around. But don’t wait until then to enjoy this one. Mix up a batch of cornbread and dig in!
- 7-Spice Pumpkin Turkey Soup
If classic turkey soup and creamy pumpkin soup had a baby, this would be it! The best of both worlds. Add in some earthy sautéed mushroom flavor this one has it all!
- Roasted Pumpkin with Shallots & Sage
What’s more perfect than pumpkin and sage? I can’t think of much. This easy roasted side dish is perfect beside a roast chicken or a juicy pork loin, to name a few things! Serve atop a bed of brown rice an you’ve got yourself one heck of an autumn rice bowl. Yum!
- Roasted Pumpkin Sweet Potato Pilau
Another word for pilaf, this scrumptious rice dish is healthy and hearty to boot. Brown rice and winter herbs with a blend of fresh pumpkin and sweet potato. Talk about a winning combination!
- Roast Beetroot & Pumpkin Salad
This one is just beautiful! Garnet red beet, deeply orange pumpkin and sweet potato, bright bed of arugula (rocket is the UK/Aussie name for it) and feta and walnut, all dancing on your plate – and right into your mouth. Healthy never tasted so good!
- Roasted Pumpkin & Red Quinoa Salad
This recipe uses what they call butternut pumpkin, but we suggest giving a sugar pumpkin a try! We couldn’t resist the red quinoa and winter squash combination. Delicious!
- Healthy Roasted Pumpkin Salad
Chickpeas, barley, fresh green beans, pumpkin, beets… oh, my! All in a maple thyme dressing and topped with goat cheese and toasted pepitas! Git in ma belly!
- Roasted Pumpkin Pomegranate Salad
A golden treasure trove – the addition of the little pomegranate jewels is a spark of brilliance in this one. Bright pops of color and flavor. Makes mouth definitely We like this one with our Champagne Vinaigrette too!
- Roast Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna
We just died with this one! Gluten-free, grain-free ooey, gooey lasagna. But how? This recipe uses thinly sliced, tender-cooked pumpkin in place of the carb-filled pasta noodles you know and avoid. Genius! Lasagna is back on the menu!
- Pumpkin Kale Lasagna Roll Ups
And for a bit of a healthy splurge – go for the pasta! With all the creamy pumpkin, fresh basil and kale, you will certainly be getting your fill of healthy goodness. Plus, these roll-ups are fun to make and fun to eat. Great way to get your greens!
- Crockpot Pumpkin Lentil Stew
We couldn’t end off our list without a few crockpot specials. With all the madnesss of the holidays, who has time for a home-cooked meal? You do! With your handy dandy crockpot and these fantastic recipes, you can come home to a ready-made meal. This one is a toss together and hit start sort of recipe, because who has time for 15 minutes of crockpot prep before you’re out the door? Not you! Flavors of ginger, cumin and lime make this recipe one you’ll use for years to come.
- Crockpot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
A ground turkey, white bean version of your classic chili – you’ll enjoy the lighter side of this classic dish. Pumpkin purée adds creaminess and delicious flavor. This one takes a bit more work – but prep the night before and you are golden for a morning toss and go. It’s well worth it. Welcome to fall!
Enjoy all of these recipes and be sure to leave your comments below. What are your favorite fall tricks and treats? What do you look forward to? Autumn is a wonderful season. Stay happy! Stay healthy!