Sure, pumpkins can seem spooky in their Jack-o'-lantern state, but don’t be fooled: They’re actually one of the most nutritious fruits out there. Loaded with antioxidants and disease-fighting vitamins, these gourds aren’t just for carving — they’re a bona fide superfood.
Pumpkins’ bright orange color may make them a good substitute for traffic cones, but the real power behind their hue is beta carotene, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immunity-boosting powers, beta carotene is essential for eye health and has been linked to preventing coronary heart disease.
But there’s no need to choose fresh to get the benefits of pumpkin. One cup of canned pumpkin has 7 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein (even more than the fresh stuff) and contains only 80 calories and 1 gram of fat. Canned pumpkin is packed with vitamins and provides over 50 percent of the daily value of vitamin K, which may reduce your risk for some types of cancer.
The real treasure is in the seeds.
One Ounce (about 140 seeds) is packed with protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Studies suggest pumpkin seeds provide a number of health benefits, such as blocking the enlargement of the prostate gland, lowering the risk of bladder stones, and helping to prevent depression. Plus, the seeds contain high levels of phytosterols, which research suggests can reduce cholesterol and even help prevent some types of cancer. So get scooping!
- 2 cups peeled, seeded and diced baking pumpkin or butternut squash
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 8 7-inch corn tortillas
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp chile powder
- 2 cups canned black beans, drained
- 1/3 cup water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ avocados, peeled and pitted
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ lime, juiced
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Prepare taco filling: In a large bowl, toss pumpkin with oil and cayenne
and spread on baking sheet; bake 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring every
3. Prepare refried beans: In a skillet over medium, heat oil. Add onion
and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and chile powder
and sauté 1 minute. Add beans and sauté 4 minutes. Stir in water, salt and
pepper. Using the back of a spatula or a potato masher, mash the beans to
desired texture and heat and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes more.
4. Prepare guacamole: In a medium bowl, mash together avocado, minced
garlic and lime juice.
5. Assemble tacos: To make 1 serving, spread ¼ of the refried beans across
2 tortillas; top with ¼ each of the roasted pumpkin, diced tomato, cilantro and guacamole. Serve with lime wedges.
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
- 2½ cups large-flake rolled oats
- 1¼ cups creamy natural almond butter or peanut butter
- ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- ½ cup chopped unsweetened dried apple
- ½ cup raw honey
- ⅓ cup chopped raw unsalted almonds
- ⅓ cup ground flaxseeds
- 2 tbsp whole flaxseeds
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined and crumbly.
2. With wet hands, press mixture evenly into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours.
3. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut into 24 bars. Refrigerate bars in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper for up to 1 week.
Try Them as Balls! No baking dish? No problem! Skip Steps 2 and 3 and roll the oat mixture into 24 1½-inch balls.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
- ½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk
- 1 scoop plant-based protein powder
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin purée
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp. ground golden flaxseed
- ½ tbsp. pure maple syrup
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground ginger
- Pinch cloves
- Pinch nutmeg
- whipped coconut cream, for garnish, optional
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with coconut cream (if using).