These healthy pumpkin recipes are total crowd pleasers: from dessert recipes like oatmeal cookies to main dishes like pumpkin gnocchi and stuffed shells!
Are you a pumpkin fan? Even if your answer is no, you might enjoy some of these healthy pumpkin recipes! Because pumpkin puree is doesn’t have a distinct flavor, it can be used in many different ways without tasting overly pumpkin-y. It makes a fantastic substitute for egg in our vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies, and a creamy, cheesy pasta sauce in our pumpkin penne. Of course, we’ve also got pumpkin dessert recipes: but not the traditional pumpkin pie! Try our healthy pumpkin parfaits with pecan granola or pumpkin mousse shooters. In all cases, healthy means made with real, whole food ingredients that are full of nutrients.
Related: Gifts for Vegetarians
Let’s start with these chewy pumpkin oatmeal cookies, one of our most popular pumpkin dessert recipes! The flavor is reminiscent of oatmeal cream pies, but a healthier spin. Though they might not qualify as a health food, they can fit into the healthy definition since they’re made with nutrient dense rolled oats and are plant based. Made with coconut oil instead of butter, they’re topped with a powdered sugar icing. Omit the icing if you’d prefer less sugar, and they’re just as good!
Here’s our personal favorite of these pumpkin recipes: our pumpkin gnocchi bake! It’s got a savory pumpkin sauce made creamy with a little Greek yogurt. Doughy gnocchi pillows are baked in the sauce along with gooey goat cheese. It’s probably one of the coziest comfort foods we’ve baked up, and it consistently gets rave reviews! Last year we served this as a vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe and it very quickly disappeared.
This one’s the simplest of the pumpkin recipes in this list: in just 5 minutes, you can make a killer fruit dip that’s pumpkin spiced! Just stir together Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and some pumpkin spices, and you’re in business! Served with sliced green apples, it’s a tangy and delicious snack. We’ve served it at fall parties and book clubs and it’s the perfect fall treat.
So remember that pumpkin gnocchi bake? This pasta uses the same pumpkin sauce, but this time pairs it with penne pasta and Parmesan cheese. It cooks up in just 30 minutes and tastes like a sophisticated take on mac and cheese. Said one reader: “You NAILED IT! The whole family loved this pasta dish. So creamy and flavorful!” That’s what we like to hear.
This one is our most popular of these healthy pumpkin recipes: pumpkin baked steel cut oatmeal! It tastes like pumpkin pie—really!—but is made of steel cut oats. Who doesn’t want to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast? It’s also fairly healthy, with a minimal amount of maple syrup as a natural sweetener, it’s a nice gluten-free whole grain option for mornings.
Vegetarian stuffed shells are always a crowd pleaser: especially when they’ve got pumpkin inside! This pumpkin recipe has pumpkin puree mixed with ricotta and fresh sage as the filling for these jumbo shells. Bake them, topped with gooey cheese, in a quick marinara sauce and you’re in business.
These vibrant pumpkin scones are made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices, making them the perfect flaky, cozy biscuit for cool mornings or tea times! The topping is a maple cream, maple that’s heated until it becomes creamy and concentrated. You can make them without the glaze for a healthier treat, or use the glaze from the pumpkin cookies above.
Instead of pumpkin pie, why not…a pumpkin shot glass dessert? This unique take on pumpkin pie makes the filling into vegan pumpkin mousse made by whipping coconut milk. And let’s just forget the crust: serving the pumpkin mousse in shot glasses topped with pumpkin seeds is cuter and easier!
In our list of pumpkin dessert recipes, this one’s a keeper! Greek yogurt that’s lightly sweetened with maple syrup is layered with a pumpkin filling made of pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices and mascarpone cheese. Add a bit of pecan skillet granola, whipped up in just 10 minutes in a skillet, and you’re in business. This one also works as a healthy breakfast or fall brunch recipe.
Have you tried pumpkin hummus? If you’re a pumpkin fan, this one’s worth a try. It takes just a few minutes to whip up, and adding pumpkin puree makes it extraordinarily creamy. Don’t worry, in contrast to some of the other pumpkin recipes this one’s got no pumpkin spices! It’s strictly savory: serve with pita chips for a tasty fall snack.
Speaking of snacks, these pumpkin spice fruit and nut bars are a healthy snack fit for fall. Made of Medjool dates, cashews, and pumpkin spices, they’re full of protein and flavor. Make up a batch and keep them handy for when a craving hits.
To round out our healthy pumpkin recipes are these pumpkin pancakes! When Alex and I breakfast, we like oat pancakes: they’re made almost fully of oat flour, they’re heartier and more filling than the typical pancake. These oat pancakes are made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices, and for a little flair: a dollop of mascarpone cheese mixed with maple syrup. You can omit the topping for a healthier take and go with just a drizzle of real maple syrup: these pumpkin pancakes can hold their own.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.