As the chill of autumn sets in and Halloween approaches, it’s time to prepare a frightfully delicious (and healthy) fall feast for your friends and family.
And what better way to embrace the spirit of the season than with pumpkins?
Pumpkins aren’t just carved into spooky faces or transformed into delicious pies—they also serve as a nutritious and versatile base for a wide array of taste bud tantalizing recipes.
Here, we embark on a journey through the enchanting world of pumpkins, where health and flavor intertwine to create an unforgettable Halloween buffet.
The Spooky Superfood
Before we dive into the recipes, let’s take a moment to appreciate the nutritional prowess of pumpkins.
These sweet orange orbs of delight are low in calories and packed with nutrients, making them a dietary powerhouse. Not to mention, they bring a burst of vibrant color to any table setting.
According to recent studies, pumpkins are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
In fact, just one cup of cooked pumpkin provides a whopping 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. An eye-watering statistic (get it?)
Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy vision, so munching on some pumpkin recipes can be a real feast for your eyes (last one, I promise).
Not only that, but pumpkins also boast a high fiber content. Fiber is the unsung hero of our digestive system—it keeps things running smoothly, helps us maintain a healthy weight, and controls blood sugar levels.
So when you feast on a slice of pumpkin, you’re not just satiating your taste buds—you’re also giving your body a reason to give you a nod of appreciation.
Did you know? Arnold Schwazenegger’s secret to his bulging muscles and enjoying an elite career was eating pumpkin every day. Okay, that’s a lie. But we bet you’re intrigued.
FACT: Surprisingly, pumpkins aid in muscle recovery.
Yes, pumpkins contain magnesium, which regulates muscle function and the nervous system, making it an ideal post-workout snack.
One cup of pumpkin covers 14% of the daily recommended magnesium intake, and additional magnesium can be obtained from pumpkin seeds, providing 37% of the daily intake.
Plus, pumpkin serves as an excellent source of potassium. This mineral is necessary for muscle contraction, digestion, and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
With over 500 milligrams of potassium per cup, canned pumpkin surpasses the potassium content of bananas, which are renowned for their potassium benefits.
Due to its versatility, weaving pumpkin into your diet is effortless.
Pumpkin bread and butter, pumpkin pie filling, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin seeds make delicious and nutritious snacks—while you can enjoy pumpkin soup or pumpkin-filled pastas as satisfying meals.
The Best Healthy Pumpkin Recipes Around
Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach, and Feta Salad
For a vibrant and refreshing pumpkin side to your Halloween dinner buffet, say hello to the Roasted Pumpkin Salad.
It’s a blend of sweet pumpkin and chunks roasted until they are golden and slightly caramelized, tossed with mixed greens, tangy feta cheese, and a smattering of toasted nuts.
A symphony of textures and flavors that will have your taste buds doing the Monster Mash, or that dance from the Thriller music video. You know the one.
600 g / 1.2 lb pumpkin (after peeling), cut into 3cm / 1.25″ cubes
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2.5 tbsp / 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup / 35g pine nuts
150 g / 5 oz baby spinach leaves
60 g / 2 oz feta, crumbled
Preheat your oven to 220C/430F (standard) or 200C/390F (fan/convection).
Toss the pumpkin with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread it out evenly on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven, flip the pumpkin pieces over, and then bake for another 7-10 minutes until they are golden but not mushy.
Loosen the pumpkin pieces with an egg flip (as they can bind as they cool), and if you plan to serve pumpkin with the salad at room temperature, allow the pumpkin to cool down.
In a small jar, shake together the dressing ingredients. Taste the dressing and adjust the flavors to your preference. Making the dressing sharp can balance out the flavors in the salad.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over a medium heat until they’re light golden brown and have a nutty smell. Remove them from the skillet as soon as they are ready. vg676
Place the spinach in a bowl and drizzle it with a bit of the prepared dressing. Toss the spinach gently to coat it.
Add the cooled pumpkin, a small amount of crumbled feta, and the pine nuts to the bowl. GENTLY and BRIEFLY toss the ingredients together to disperse the feta (avoid vigorous tossing, as the feta can make the salad look messy).
Transfer the salad to a serving plate. Sprinkle the remaining feta and pine nuts on top.
Just before serving, drizzle the remaining dressing over the top of the salad. Note that the dressing may not stay on baby spinach well, so drizzling it at the end is recommended.
Serve the salad immediately, and enjoy. Yum.
Your kitchen outshines even the finest Italian restaurant in town with this exquisite pumpkin risotto.
This recipe is a testament to your dedication, and the end result is truly delightful: a creamy risotto with the most savory pumpkin recipes. The perfect combination of smoky bacon, and aromatic sage.
You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to fry the sage leaves in the bacon drippings—it adds an extra layer of flavor to the dish and acts as a beautiful garnish.
Add this recipe to your Halloween and fall recipes this season. It’s filling enough to make a meal on its own, but you can also serve it as a seasonal side dish for when Thanksgiving rolls around.
5 c.low-sodium chicken broth
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 fresh sage leaves, plus 1 tbsp. chopped sage
1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
3/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/2 c. finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
Black pepper, to taste
Roasted and salted pepitas, to serve
Begin by heating the chicken broth over low heat in a small saucepan. Keep it warm.
In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until it becomes browned and crisp. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Once done, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, and reserve the drippings in the pot.
Return the pot with bacon drippings to medium heat. Add the whole sage leaves and fry them, turning occasionally, until they become crisp. This part of the process should take around 45-60 seconds.
Transfer the sage leaves to the same plate as the bacon. Next, add the onions to the pot with bacon drippings and cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened, which should take around 3-4 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, for about 30 seconds.
Add the rice to the pot and stir it constantly until it’s very lightly toasted, this takes approximately one minute. Then add the wine and stir it constantly until almost all of it has evaporated, which should take around one minute.
Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the salt along with 1/2 cup of the warm chicken broth. Begin to simmer, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed almost all of the broth.
Continue adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and repeating each addition of broth as the rice fully absorbs the liquid. Total cooking time should be around 20-25 minutes. After about four cups of broth, taste the rice to see if it is tender with a slight bite. If not, continue cooking and adding broth.
Once the rice is tender and thickened to a creamy consistency, stir in the pumpkin, parmesan cheese, and one tablespoon of chopped sage. Adjust the consistency with additional broth, as needed. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
Finally, chop the reserved bacon into small pieces. Top the risotto with bacon, fried sage leaves, pepitas, and parmesan. Serve the risotto immediately to enjoy its flavors to the fullest.
Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry
Nothing screams ‘Halloween buffet’ like a punchy Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry. Pumpkins’ natural sweetness is the perfect dance partner for the spices in a curry, resulting in a match made in culinary heaven.
As BBC Good Food reports, pumpkins are loaded with fiber, keeping your digestive system happy and your taste buds begging for more. So go ahead, put some pumpkin pie spice back and sugar pumpkin in your life.
500g pumpkin, skin on and seeds intact
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into three pieces widthways
400g can of whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1-2 teaspoons sugar
2-3 teaspoons harissa
400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
Start by peeling the pumpkin, and removing any seeds or fibrous bits. Cut the pumpkin flesh into bite-sized pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the sliced onion for about 10 minutes, or until it turns golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in the ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and the chicken pieces. Cook for 3-5 minutes, turning the chicken to lightly brown it on all sides.
Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, and harissa to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine all the ingredients.
Next, add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, as well as the pumpkin pieces. Pour in 4-5 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken and pumpkin are tender.
The pumpkin will release its own moisture, but if the mixture becomes too dry during cooking, feel free to add a little more water to maintain a juicy sauce. Finally, stir in the chopped coriander just before serving.
A dip that will haunt your dreams with its deliciousness: Pumpkin Hummus. Boasting roasted pumpkin, blended with creamy chickpeas, tahini, and an alluring array of spices, this is sure to set the party alight.
It’s the perfect accompaniment for crackers, breadsticks, or fresh veggies. Just imagine the bewitching aroma that will fill your kitchen.
1 small pumpkin (about 500g)
olive oil, for roasting
2 garlic cloves, peeled
½ lemon, juiced
2 tbsp tahini paste
400g can chickpeas, drained
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
mini breadsticks and pitta chips, to serve
Kick things off by cutting off the top of the pumpkin about two-thirds of the way up. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin, and then proceed to scoop out the flesh from the bottom and lid.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the pumpkin flesh into manageable pieces and place them in a roasting tin along with the garlic and a generous amount of oil. Season with salt and bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Allow the roasted pumpkin to cool.
Transfer the cooled roasted pumpkin to a food processor, including any juices from the roasting tin, along with the garlic.
Add lemon juice, tahini paste, and chickpeas. Season with salt, and blend the ingredients together until it forms a smooth paste. If the mixture is too thick, feel free to add a little more oil. Once blended, spoon the hummus back into the hollowed-out roast pumpkin. Serve alongside peppers, breadsticks, and pita chips for a delicious and visually appealing presentation.
Pumpkin and Black Bean Enchiladas
These delectable enchiladas marry the smooth and velvety nature of creamy pumpkin, with the smoky goodness of black beans.
Wrapped in soft tortillas and smothered in a tangy tomato sauce, they’re a graveyard smash that will leave everyone in awe—mainly because pumpkins are delightfully versatile in savory dishes, adding a rich, velvety texture to the filling.
It’s a Halloween treat that will have your guests coming back for seconds, and then possibly thirds if there’s enough.
10 burrito-sized tortillas, gluten-free if needed
24 oz. green tomatillo salsa
¼ cup ground pistachios
1 green onion, sliced
15 ounces can black beans, drained and rinsed (one can)
¾ cup pumpkin (7 ½ oz or half a can)
½ cup corn, frozen or fresh
4 ounces green chiles (one small can)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Vegan Cashew Cream
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C).
If you haven’t already prepared the Cashew Walnut Cream Sauce, now is the time to do so. Mix in the smoked paprika and onion powder, and set it aside.
Take a medium-sized bowl and mix the black beans, pumpkin, corn, green chiles, garlic, chili powder, and salt.
In a baking dish, add about ¼ of your tomatillo salsa, making sure to cover the bottom with a thin layer.
To build the enchiladas, place a few spoonfuls of the filling and one spoonful of cream sauce in the middle of each tortilla. Roll the tortilla over the cream cheese filling, and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat this process until all the filling and tortillas are used.
Cover the rolled tortillas with the remainder of the tomatillo salsa, then thinly spread the remaining cream sauce over the top of the enchiladas, adding a little water if needed.
Cover the enchiladas with sliced green onions, and finally, sprinkle them with ground pistachios.
Bake the enchiladas for 25-30 minutes until they’re cooked through and the cheese is melted.