20 Savory Pumpkin Dishes You’ll Want to Make for the Holidays
Move over, pumpkin spice! There's a new kid on the block. Nutritionists share their savory recipes with the popular squash you're sure to love.
Harvest Pumpkin Soup
There’s nothing better than hot soup on a chilly fall day! Diane Norwood, MS, RD, CDE of The Wandering RD, has a pick: “This Harvest Pumpkin Soup has become a family favorite in the fall!” Norwood loves how the flavors and aromas of seasonal and holiday foods transport us back in time to special moments, every year, almost as if no time has passed. Bonus—this soup is super easy and ready in about 30 minutes. Make sure you know the secret ingredient for perfect pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin-Spiced Pork Tenderloin
In this stuffed pork tenderloin recipe, warm pumpkin pie spice (the perfect blend of ginger, cinnamon, and clove) comes together with pumpkin puree. It checks off all the boxes—it’s comforting nourishing, low-carb, and deliciously healthy. This recipe was created by dietitian and diabetes educator, Lori Zanini, RD, CDE , author of the free seven-day diabetes meal plan. Here are some other creative ways to use leftover pumpkin puree.
Developed by chef and culinary nutritionist, Abbie Gellman, MS, RDN, CDN, these pumpkin muffins will be a family favorite in no time. With a fiber boost from whole wheat pastry flour, and naturally sweetened with maple syrup, Gellman’s muffin creations are practically perfect for snacks or breakfast. Try the batter as a pumpkin bread, too. Looking for other ideas? Check out these fresh pumpkin recipes you’ve never tried before.
Pumpkin Chicken Crock-Pot Chili
Loaded with health benefits, the orange squash is a perfect way to pump up old standards. Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, from Bucket List Tummy, loves this fall-inspired pumpkin dish because it uses pumpkin in a totally different way. Rather than baking something sweet, this recipe uses canned pumpkin puree to provide a natural sweetness that goes perfectly with the spice in this healthy, protein and fiber-rich fall chili. Furthermore, there’s minimal prep and clean up needed, as the crockpot does most of the work for you! Use it as an appetizer for a dinner party, an entree at a tailgate, or as a dinner option to wind down from a busy day.
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Your nutritional day can go careening off the rails without the right breakfast. Get things started right with these unique pumpkin breakfast quesadillas: They’re a delicious, filling, healthy meal you can actually make any time of the day. The savory flavors of goat cheese and cumin will ignite your taste buds and bring the homemade breakfast quesadilla to a whole new level. Enjoy these tasty handheld meals from Phoenix-based dietitian Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, blogger behind the healthy living blog Hungry Hobby.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
“I love this soup because it’s ready to eat in 30 minutes, the coconut milk and curry make this soup really delicious and burst with flavor,” shares dietitian Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN. Pair it with a whole wheat baguette for a light fall dinner. Ready in less than 30 minutes and freezable, so make a double batch and save half for later this winter. Make sure you know these 10 ways to get your pumpkin spice fix that don’t include a Starbucks run.
Black Bean Enchilada with Pumpkin Sauce
These Southwestern-inspired enchiladas with pumpkin sauce were developed by Liz Weiss, MS, RDN, host of the Liz’s Healthy Table podcast and blog. Versatile pumpkin is packed with vitamin A and fiber, and it’s the secret ingredient in this easy rib-sticking vegetarian recipe. Instead of using plain enchilada sauce and Weiss mixes in canned pumpkin puree. It adds a subtle sweetness to the sauce and a burst of good nutrition.
Pumpkin Alfredo Penne Pasta
If you pick your own pumpkins this fall, make sure you know the best pumpkin patch in every state. When you’re ready for dinner, check out Molly Cleary, MS, RD, CDN, the blogger behind MollyCleary.com. She offers a lightened up Alfredo pasta with beta-carotene-rich pumpkin. Fiber and antioxidants are boosted from the whole wheat pasta, spinach, and onions. Protein provided by soy milk, lean chicken, and pumpkin seeds.
Beef and Bean Pumpkin Chili
A pumpkin chili that’s incredibly filling and the most delicious taste of ‘rustic’ you ever had, compliments of Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD. Easy to make and ready to please a crowd, this chili is loaded with meat, beans, veggies, and the perfect zing of spice. The subtle pumpkin adds a smooth, rich mouthfeel and thick texture while giving a boost of potassium and a hefty dose of vitamin A. This fast family-friendly meal does not disappoint and will bring the crowd back to the dinner table for leftovers! Don’t miss these easy and unexpected ways to decorate your home with pumpkins.
Mushroom Ravioli with Pumpkin and Browned Sage Butter
Dietitian Judy Barbe, RD, author of Your 6-Week Guide to Live Best, came up with a quick semi-homemade dish. Pumpkin’s powerful plant compounds shine. ‘Heat and eat’ refrigerated mushroom ravioli topped with pumpkin and sage brown butter. Flavored butter is so simple. As you melt butter in a pan over low heat, add herbs. Easy, economical, and elegant, too!
Pumpkin Sage Risotto
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, developed this decadent blend of flavors that are perfect for the cooler months. Creamy risotto marries fresh sage, fresh pumpkin, and two types of cheese. Newgent renovated a classic risotto recipe to improve the fiber content while slashing to total fat to less than half. Use this Thanksgiving timeline to get ready for the big day.
Pumpkin Cauliflower Mash
Move over, boring mashed potatoes! Cauliflower is a trending superfood! Pump up your traditional side dish with pumpkin and cauliflower for a nutritious boost your guests will love. Dietitian Kristen Smith, MS, RDN, LD lowered the carbohydrate content of the side dish, and streamlined the steps so it’s ready in about 20 minutes.
Pumpkin Pizza Crust
Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, the dietitian behind CitNutritionally.com, created this fun take for your Friday family pizza night. Boost the nutrition of your pizzas with a pumpkin pizza crust. It’s allergy friendly, free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and eggs – so, you can serve it at a children’s party and feel good about it. Let the kiddos top it with their favorite cheese and veggies! Aside from using pumpkin year after year, try cooking one of these 23 delicious Thanksgiving side dishes all your guests will love.
Pumpkin Hummus with Black Sesame Seeds
Super popular hummus dip takes a pumpkin-style twist in this recipe from dietitian Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD. Add some fresh ginger and orange, and topped with black sesame seeds, this appetizer is perfect for any party. And, it’s ready in just a few minutes!
Pumpkin Miso Tahini Sauce
Because it’s a bit high in sodium, a little pumpkin miso tahini sauce goes a long way, but that little bit adds satisfying umami taste to all kinds of foods—chicken, fish, meat, baked potatoes, sliced vegetables, and toast. Dietitian blogger Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, likes to serve it with jicama sticks at parties. Three ingredients and it’s done! Check out this list of 15 Thanksgiving foods ranked from best to worst for your weight.
Rigatoni with Sweet Turkey Sausage and Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
Pumpkin puree meets sweet Italian spices and decadent Gorgonzola cheese to make the ultimate comfort meal. Anne Dahany, MS, RDN, the blogger behind Craving Something Healthy, created this elegantly simple dish.
Buttermilk Pumpkin Cornbread
Take your cornbread up a notch by infusing vitamin-A packed pumpkin. Arizona-based dietitian Dahany thinks this is the perfect bread for your holiday table. Serve it warm with maple butter and your family will devour it. This is ranked as America’s favorite Thanksgiving pie and it’s not pumpkin!
You can’t go wrong with the Mediterranean approach to eating—here are 9 ways to make your diet more Mediterranean. One way could be adding falafel: Seasonal pumpkin merges with Greek flavors for these tasty and versatile falafel patties from Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN, owner of Nutrition to Fit Coaching and Consulting. Perfect dairy-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly weeknight dinner that’s fiber-rich.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Stew
A hearty pumpkin soup perfect for chilly fall days, courtesy of dietitian and diabetes educator, Brittany Poulson, MDA, RDN, CD, CDE. Throw the ingredients in the slow cooker and come back later for a robust high-fiber meal. Vegan and gluten-free, and ready in six hours. Just be sure you’re not making these 15 slow cooker mistakes.
Sorghum Chicken Veggie Lettuce Wraps with Pumpkin Vinaigrette
Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, shares this unique recipe. Sorghum Chicken Veggie Lettuce Wraps with Pumpkin Vinaigrette make an easy, protein and fiber filled lunch or dinner. The trick is using pre-made sorghum and rotisserie chicken for quick assembly. Pumpkin is a fantastic add-in for dressings because it pumps up the nutrition as well as keeping a vinaigrette from separating. Here are the 8 other canned foods nutritionists love to buy besides just pumpkin.