16 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Every Meal

16 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Every Meal

When it comes to ways to eat it, pumpkin has been pigeonholed ― and it’s time to put that to an end! The winter squash, normally relegated to pies and the occasional ravioli, is packed with essential nutrients and filling fiber. For a mere 49 calories a cup, pumpkin provides 200 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A, nearly 20 percent RDI of vitamin C and three grams of fiber. And pumpkin’s orange color isn’t just good for jack-o’-lanterns, the unique hue comes from carotenoids, including beta-carotene, known for improving eye health. Read on for 16 recipes that will put pumpkin on your plate in exciting new ways.

RELATED: 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin

16 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes for Every Meal

Delicious Pumpkin-Based Breakfasts

Mini Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

1. Mini Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Greek yogurt keeps these mini muffins moist and ups the health factor. The pumpkin flavor is top notch, while the cranberry gives a dose of sweet tanginess. Have two if you like a little more substance for your morning meal, or make a bigger version — just double the baking time. Photo and recipe: Emily Miller / Life by Daily Burn

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
2. Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
Your Sunday pancake tradition just turned seasonal — and better for you. Less than 200 calories and two grams of fat for a three stack, these flapjacks make any morning mealtime extra enjoyable. Top ‘em with Greek yogurt or maple syrup for even more deliciousness. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
 Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
Cheers to good health, muscle recovery…and pumpkin pie! Whip up this shake for 27 grams of protein, plus fiber, antioxidants and immunity-boosting nutrients like iron. You’ll get your sugar fix, without all that actual sugar. And it only calls for five ingredients. Photo and recipe / Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn

Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte
4. Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte
Skip the high-fat, high-sugar drink you’d pick up at a coffee shop and make your own PSL at home. It takes a mere five minutes to make and has just two grams of fat and only 85 calories. In other words, it’s a pick-me-up that’ll slim you down. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn

Pumpkin Lunches You’ll Love

Baked Pumpkin Falafel Bowl
5. Baked Pumpkin Falafel Bowl with Maple Tahini Dressing
Mediterranean-style pumpkin! This homemade falafel tastes so good and satisfies your cravings for fall flavors. The maple dressing enhances the sweetness and a side of greens, tomatoes and cucumbers provides another serving of vitamin- and mineral-packed produce. Photo and recipe: Alissa / Connoisseurus Veg

Simple Pumpkin Soup with Sesame Kale Topping
6. Simple Pumpkin Soup
Make this easy, delicious bowl of soup entirely from scratch — even the puree. The secret: little sugar pumpkins. (Of course to save some time, choose the canned kind.) The mix of coconut milk, cinnamon and nutmeg create a comfort food-like dish, while the garlic kale sesame topping adds a dash of green goodness. Photo and recipe: Dana / Minimalist Baker

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Cheesy Pumpkin Lentil Pot Pies
7. Cheesy Pumpkin Lentil Pot Pies
Put healthy and pot pie in the same sentence and we’re in. Lentils provide tons of fiber and protein, which will leave you feeling full. Plus, you still get the essence of pumpkin and a cheesy finish. The pastry crust just puts it over the edge on the scrumptious scale. Photo and recipe: Becca / Amuse Your Bouche

Pumpkin Grilled Cheese with Apples and Cheddar
8. Pumpkin Grilled Cheese with Apples and Cheddar
Your co-workers will be eying this sandwich. Made with just five ingredients, it’s oh-so-easy to make, but oh-so-yummy. The apple provides some juiciness and crunch, while the pumpkin and cheese deliver the creaminess. Go for 100 percent whole-grain bread to up the nutrition. Recipe and photo: Melinda Strauss / Kitchen Tested

Savory Pumpkin Dinners Done Right 

Veggies Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce
9. Veggie Enchiladas with Pumpkin Enchilada Sauce
Blend a traditional Mexican dish with one of the best flavors of the fall and you have a mouth-watering weeknight dinner. The pumpkin enchilada sauce puts the cheesy, black bean, brown rice and vegetable-packed meal on a whole new level of awesome. Photo and recipe: Isadora / She Likes Food

Moroccan Pumpkin Chickpea Stew
10. Moroccan Pumpkin & Chickpea Stew
Comfort food at its finest. The stew includes nutrient-dense carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and tomatoes — plus a hearty helping of chickpeas. A mix of spices amps up the flavor and raisins (or a dried fruit of your choice) also enhance the sweetness. Photo and recipe: Julie / Simple Veganista

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Pumpkin Sage Baked Ziti
11. Pumpkin Sage Baked Ziti
Pumpkin makes a velvety sauce for whole-wheat penne pasta, while parmesan and sharp white cheddar cheese make it feel super indulgent. (Shocker: Yes, it’s still healthy!) Now that’s a mac and cheese we can get behind. Photo and recipe: Kiersten / Oh My Veggies

Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto
 Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto
Typically, brown rice doesn’t make a great risotto because it doesn’t release as much starch as short-grained white rice, which helps it achieve that creamy texture. But thanks to pumpkin, that’s not a problem here! Pumpkin actually removes the need for the constant stirring normally required to make risotto creamy thanks to its natural velvety texture. Less work and an extra dose of veggies? This recipe is a win-win. Photo and Recipe: Katie Webster / Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Creative Desserts That Don’t Break the Calorie Bank

Frozen Pumpkin Pie Parfait
13. Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfait
Layer a frozen pumpkin pie smoothie with coconut cool whip and granola and you have a super tasty fall treat, sans soy and gluten. Blend it up in just 20 minutes. Sweet tooth — satisfied! (Check out this recipe for making your own pumpkin spice granola, too.) Photo and recipe: Brittany Mueller / I Love Vegan

Low-Fat Pumpkin Cheesecake Pops
14. Low-Fat Pumpkin Cheesecake Pops
Your favorite fall dessert, found. These cheesecake bites are perfect for serving at a Halloween party or as a treat for the kids and they only have 90 calories and five grams of fat. Guilt-free dessert, done right. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn

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Mini Pumpkin Pie Bites
15. Mini Pumpkin Pie Bites
Portion control in a cinch. This slimmed-down dessert cures your sugar craving, but you’ll still get nutrients like potassium, vitamin A and carotenoids. Plus, at just 92 calories a piece, you don’t have to feel bad about munching on one — or even two. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by Daily Burn

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
16. Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bread
What’s autumn without pumpkin bread? This recipe swaps yogurt for butter to slash fat, and calls for white whole-wheat flour instead of regular, so you get some whole grains. Drizzle it with a little maple syrup for a post-dinner treat. Photo and recipe: Emily Miller / Life by Daily Burn

Original story published October 2013. Updated September 2016. Karen Borsari also contributed to this article.