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30 Unexpected But Awesome Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin

By October 23, 2015No Comments

Every fall, we line Greatist’s pantries with can after can of pumpkin purée in the hopes of creating the season’s perfect pie. It’s a noble goal, to be sure, but there are endless ways to use canned pumpkin, from the fairly common (like risotto or pasta) to the less expected (or downright weird).

Canned pumpkin is a surprisingly versatile product packed with vitamins A, C, K, and fiber, so we thought it best to spread the word: Pumpkin makes almost anything delicious. Here’s a list of the more unconventional ways to it use up so that your cans are never wasted.


1. Pumpkin Pineapple Cocktail
Photo: Cookie + Kate

1. Pumpkin Pineapple Cocktail

Pumpkin has a smooth, warming quality that typically lends itself to creamier dishes, but it also works well in this sweet, citrusy cocktail terrific for any season.

2. Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Get jacked-o’-lantern with this muscle-building shake—the perfect end to a brisk outdoor workout.

3. Pumpkin Smoothie

For the same taste of a pie but only five minutes of work, blend up this super creamy vegan drink.

4. Pumpkin Egg Nog

An awesome twist on the holiday staple, this is how to start a December morning. Or if it's later in the day, feel free to add rum, brandy, or bourbon.

5. Pumpkin Chai Latte

What could be better to sip on in front of a crackling fireplace? This no-frills recipe simply adds pumpkin to chai tea, but it bestows a depth and smoothness that’s perfectly warming.


6. Pumpkin and Sage Savory Muffins
Photo: Love Food Eat

6. Pumpkin and Sage Savory Muffins

Savory muffins just don’t get enough play, but this is a super simple, delicious way to bring them to the table. Made with oats, olive oil, herbs, and apple cider vinegar, they’ve got no added sugar but can still warm from head to toe.

7. Pumpkin Butter

To get the morning feeling extra seasonal, try this pretty healthy, cinnamon-spiced spread on a muffin, pancake, or some freshly-baked bread.

8. Gluten-Free Pumpkin and Coconut Squares

Packed with coconut, ginger, and cinnamon, these bars are melt-in-your mouth delicious and contain no wheat or butter.

9. Pumpkin Scones

Perfect with cinnamon and peanut butter, fresh berries, or some Greek yogurt and honey, this American twist on the British staple is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea and a good book.

10. Savory Pumpkin Hummus

The recipe for this unusual dip has just one step: throw everything in a food processor. The mixture of chickpeas, pumpkin, cumin, and cayenne creates a rich, Middle Eastern flavor well suited to pita and antipasto.


11. Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Photo: Just a Taste

11. Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

With just one tablespoon of sugar between four servings, these rich, intoxicating pancakes are a healthier option for kids and adults alike. They also pair beautifully with preserves, yogurt, nuts—you name it!

12. Pumpkin Granola

Roasting granola has to be one of the best ways to spend a fall afternoon. The smell alone is worth the effort, and cooking up a big batch for the week ahead can make anyone look forward to waking up in the morning.

13. Crock-Pot Pumpkin Oatmeal

There’s something magical about the way Crock-Pots make healthy food even more delicious. Put everything in the crockpot before heading to bed, and you’ll wake to a luxurious (and bright orange) breakfast that will keep you full until the afternoon.

14. Healthy Spiced Yogurt Parfaits

This parfait takes only take 10 minutes to prepare and makes breakfast feel like dessert. Full of Greek yogurt, granola, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this dish is so simple and delicious that it’s sure to become a staple.

15. Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Breakfast Casserole

The name might sound like a game of Madlibs, but this gluten-free breakfast is no joke. Flawlessly melding the flavors of coconut, pecans, maple, and vanilla, it’s hard to believe how healthy this breakfast is—just make sure you have an hour to prepare it!


16. Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Yeast Waffles

The batter can be made the night before, so it’s easy for this tasty, crispy breakfast to become a morning mainstay. Try them topped with fresh berries and Greek yogurt!


17. Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers
Photo: Sweet Miscellany

17. Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers

Pumpkin has never really found a home between bread, but these gluten-free patties will change the way you think about burgers. Be sure to remember the cilantro-lemon crema to add a zesty tang to this Mexican-inspired main.

18. Pumpkin Meatloaf With Pumpkin BBQ Sauce

This smoky, flavorful loaf is just right on a chilly fall evening. The pumpkin BBQ sauce adds an extra dimension to the savory/sweet dynamic.

19. Pumpkin, Black Bean, and Jalapeño Quesadilla

Pumpkin tastes so smooth and creamy that it’s amazing we don’t mix it with cheese more often. These quesadillas are a terrific “level-up” for you standard Mexican fare, and the substitution of Greek yogurt for sour cream is an especially nice touch.

20. Pumpkin and Cashew Ricotta-Stuffed Pasta Shells

This innovative vegan recipe uses cashews as a base for the “ricotta” stuffing and the sage “cream” sauce. Cashews are so rich and smooth that you certainly won’t miss the dairy—and your guests won’t know what hit ‘em!

21. Chickpea Pumpkin Patties

For a high-fiber patty, try this spicy, deep orange concoction that comes alive with fresh basil and parsley. The recipe already contains breadcrumbs, so try serving the “burger” on a bed of vegetables with some tahini or mustard.

22. Pumpkin Shrimp Curry

To many of us, pumpkin is synonymous with fall, chilly breezes, and Thanksgiving fare, but this dish drops a can into a traditional South Asian curry to great effect. The coconut, ginger, and lime add an unusual dimension to the vegetable, but it works beautifully.


23. Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream
Photo: Dashing Dish

23. Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

It’s neither cheesecake nor ice cream—it’s better. This high-protein mixture of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almond milk, and pumpkin will satisfy any late night ice cream craving.

24. Pumpkin Protein Fudge

Smooth, decadent, and protein-packed, nobody will guess this is a healthy dessert! The coconut oil and almond butter provide filling fats to help give this treat a super satisfying consistency.

25. Pumpkin Pie Frozen Yoghurt

Fro-yo gets a bad wrap for being more or less ice cream in disguise, but this vegan recipe uses vanilla-flavored coconut yogurt to create an innovative and healthy dessert—just make sure you have four hours to freeze the stuff!

26. Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies

Sweetened only with raisins and a little agave, baking these vegan cookies is a great way to spend an autumn afternoon. It’s wise to cook in small batches, though—it’s a little too easy to eat an entire tray!

27. Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

Made from a lengthy but delicious list of ingredients that includes oats, ground flaxseed, banana, and yogurt, these donuts are filling, healthy, and a lot of fun to serve. A dusting of cinnamon sugar makes them perfection.

28. Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding

Packing the holy trinity of protein, fiber, and omega-3s, chia also forms a goopy gel when combined with a liquid. This makes it’s perfect for making healthy puddings, and this coconut-based variation is an amazing example.

29. Pumpkin Custard

Whip it good. Eggs, that is. Then add them to some pumpkin purée, milk, and spices, bake, and you've got a rich yet healthy dessert.

For the Dog

30. Chicken Liver and Pumpkin Ice Cream

We said “weird” recipes, didn’t we? It turns out pumpkin purée is a great way to help with canine constipation, but even healthy pooches love this liver-stuffed ice cream. Why should Fido be the only one without a holiday treat?

Originally published October 2013. Updated October 2015.

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Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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