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The Benefits of Pumpkins with Four Recipes

The fall season brings along beautiful warm colored leaves, cozy flannel, trips to apple orchards and of course – pumpkins. Belonging to the same family as squashes, pumpkins pack in a plethora of nutrients.

A single cup of pumpkin provides 7 grams of fiber to aid in digestion and a third of the daily need for vitamin K. Its bright orange color brings beta carotene to the mix which acts as an antioxidant fighting inflammation and is great for eye health. Pumpkin seeds offer healthy fats while packing in folate, an important nutrient for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects.

From pumpkin pancakes to baked oats, there are diverse ways to use this nutrient-dense fall crop. Try these recipes:

Pumpkin Baked Oats – Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Spray oil
  • Optional – 1 tbsp chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray rammekins or baking dish with spray oil.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into rammekin or baking dish and top with chocolate chips if using. Bake for ~20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes ou clean from the middle. Enjoy

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread – Serves 8-10

tasteofhome.com/recipes/pumpkin-zucchini-bread

Substitute half the butter for apple sauce.

Fall Spiced Pumpkin Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old–fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Ground cloves, a pinch
  • Optional: stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips to make it a treat

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients and slowly incorporate with dry ingredients.
  4. Place mixture on lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Optional: stir in ¼ cup chocolate chips

Pumpkin Pancakes – Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cup milk of choice
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Spray oil

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients except milk and spray oil together.
  2. Slowly add milk while whisking, allowing for a smooth batter. The mixture is ready to pour when there are very few small bubbles left.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and spray with oil.
  4. Once the pan is heated, pour ~1/3 cup pancake mixture into pan and spread into an even layer on the pan by moving the pan in different directions.
  5. Cook for ~2-3 minutes or until bottom has a golden brown color and easily loosens from the pan, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family.