Pumpkin season has started. So, if you’re a lover of pumpkins but hate the hassle of removing the seeds and roasting one whole, pick up some canned pumpkin.
One cup has just 80 calories and 10 grams of fiber. What is more, it has more potassium than a banana. And what’s even better is the magical ability of the pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) to instantly transform bland foods into fall favorites. Here are six of our favorite super-simple ways to use a can of pumpkin. You will only need 15 minutes or less.
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or sauce pan. Add some diced garlic and onion, and sauté until it becomes golden and soft. Add 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock, 1 can of pumpkin, and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Simmer for 5 minutes, and whisk until smooth. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs or spices. In order to make a curried pepo version, simply swap the pumpkin pie spice for curry powder. A dollop of Greek yogurt on top will make things even tastier.
Take fresh whole-wheat pizza dough from your local market (we love Trader Joe’s) and roll it out to fit your pizza pan or stone. Combine 1 cup of pepo puree with 1 tsp of pepo pie spice and 1 tsp of maple syrup.This will be your pizza sauce. After adding the sauce, dot the pie with 1/2 cup of mascarpone, goat cheese, or part-skim ricotta along with a sprinkle of your favorite sautéed veggies: onions, garlic, kale, spinach — whatever you have on hand. For a little extra sweetness, add a few dried or fresh figs.
Waffles and Pancakes
Add 3/4 cup of canned pepo and 1 tsp of pepo pie spice to your favorite whole-grain pancake and waffle mix. (We like Baker Mills Kodiak Cakes mixes, which are 100% whole grain and have no added fat, sugar, or cholesterol.) Follow the directions on the package, but add the puree first and adjust the amount of water so the batter isn’t too runny.
Spread 1/2 cup of pureed pepo on one whole-grain tortilla. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Cotija or cheddar cheese, shredded chicken, chopped cilantro, and a few shakes of chipotle or adobe sauce, top with another tortilla. Grill in a cast iron pan with a little bit of olive oil spray until cheese is melted and gooey.
Pumpkin Pie Parfait
Mix a cup of pepo puree with 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice and 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup. In a small mason jar, alternate layers of low-fat Greek yogurt with the pumpkin mix. Top with a few sprinkles of pepitas, chopped walnuts, or almonds for some added crunch and flavour.
Whisk two tablespoons of pepo puree and apple cider vinegar with 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and a 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme. This dressing is delicious on fall salads and roasted root vegetables.
When shopping for puree, look for cans or cartons of 100% pumpkin. Don’t buy the pepo pie filling, as it contains sugar and additives.