The Power of Pumpkin – Healthy Recipes That Taste Great

by Jaclyn Holtzman

Thanksgiving has come and gone, you fed yourself silly, and you are moving onward and upward to the heart of the holiday season. The winter holidays bring about a whole new genre of food replacing the sweet potatoes and pumpkin with cookies and candy canes. If you are like me, you stocked up on canned pumpkin during the Thanksgiving season fearing a repeat of the horrific “canned pumpkin shortage of 2009-2010”. The question of the hour- “What do I do with all my leftover canned pumpkin?” Well, friends, you can save it until next year or (in my opinion the better choice) use it! I have some great pumpkin recipes for you, one for each meal. I share this with you because after opening a can of pumpkin, I find myself frantically looking for other ways to use it so as not to waste the rest of the can. (Pumpkin does freeze well, though, so that is another option).

 I have a confession: The only reason I ran out to buy canned pumpkin in early November was because all of my favorite bloggers were doing so. Call me a sheep; go ahead. My first hundred attempts at cooking with pumpkin were failures. Only recently have I mastered the art of pumpkin cooking, and I feel it only fair to share my expertise with you.

 Pumpkin does lose some of its nutrients in the canning process, as most foods do, but fear not! Canned pumpkin is still a nutrition powerhouse, and it is available in stores year round! It provides you with an enormous amount of beta-carotenes along with other essential vitamins and minerals. It is also worlds more convenient to cook with than plain ole pumpkin. Dig in!

 I buy Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin, which can be found at nearly every grocery store; and it is oh so cheap (about $3 for a 29 oz can). I feel it necessary to mention that Libby’s started in Chicago and produced in the Midwest (the weather was the cause of the pumpkin shortage). As a native Chicagoan I feel it necessary to both apologize for the shortage and accept thank you notes for the canned pumpkin.

 The Promised Pumpkin Procedures:


 Pumpkin Pancakes


2/3 c old-fashioned oats

¼ c low fat cottage cheese

¼ c canned pumpkin

1 egg

1 egg white

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp agave

  1. Preheat griddle to about 250/medium heat.
  2. Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Take ¼ c of batter and pour onto griddle. Better to make large, thin pancakes.
  4. Wait until you can easily slide spatula under pancake to flip; usually about 3 minutes. If batter sticks at all, it is not ready to flip.
  5. Once flipped, allow other side to cook for another 3 minutes. If it sticks at all, it is not ready. Remove from heat once ready.
  6. Repeat steps 3,4 and 5 with the rest of the batter.
  7. Serve with 100% maple syrup



Pumpkin Protein Smoothie


 1 banana

¼ c pumpkin (adjust amount depending on how strong you want the pumpkin taste)

½ c unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk variety you enjoy)

¼ c non-fat Greek yogurt (or whatever yogurt variety you enjoy)

1 scoop of protein powder (if you’d like)

1 handful of spinach (added nutrients without any taste!)

4-5 ice cubes

¼ tsp cinnamon


  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. (You can adjust measurements based upon which tastes you would like to be the strongest!)
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy! 



Baked Pumpkin Sauce Pasta with Shrimp

Makes 2 servings, adjust as necessary


2 servings of whole wheat pasta (I used Market Pantry-112g)

1 c of frozen shrimp

3/4 tbsp butter, divided (I used Smart Balance light original with Flax)

½ onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic

½ c canned pumpkin

¾ c chicken broth

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

½ c wheat germ (if desired, to be used as mock breadcrumbs)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 if you are going to bake the pasta dish.
  2. Place pasta and enough cold water to cover the pasta in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Continue letting it boil for about 5 minutes. Check to see if pasta is cooked. Cook additional time if necessary (every variety of pasta cooks differently).
  3. Defrost shrimp by placing in a bowl of cold water for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Once pasta is done, pour pasta into a strainer and put aside.
  5. Place separate pot on medium heat and add ¼ tbsp. of butter.
  6. Once butter is melted, add chopped onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent.
  7. Add broth, pumpkin, milk, nutmeg, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove pot from heat and add pasta. Stir until all pasta is covered.
  9. You can either serve it now by adding the shrimp, or leave out shrimp if you would like to bake pasta and sauce.
  10. Place wheat germ on tinfoil and toast lightly.
  11. Pour sauce-covered pasta into a small glass dish and sprinkle wheat germ so that the entire top of the dish is covered.
  12. Place dish in oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until wheat germ is browned to your liking.
  13. Add shrimp to the pasta once it is served onto plates

Enjoy your day full of pumpkin meals! 





5 Responses to The Power of Pumpkin – Healthy Recipes That Taste Great

  1. A wife and mom of 3

    Delicious pasta recipe!! Can’t wait to try the pancakes…

  2. Neat and complete. Right alright. A delight to read. And healthy so we’re told.

  3. Love pumpkin! Thanks for 3 great ideas…

  4. Loved the baked pumpkin pasta! Thanks for a great healthy recipe….

  5. Just tried pumpkin pancakes…delicious! Looking forward to trying the pasta recipe…

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