Cooking up some good pumpkin recipes is pretty much the quintessential fall experience—but you don’t have to stick to the standard pie to make the most of the surprisingly versatile winter squash.
Pumpkin is actually an all-star ingredient in lots of dishes for a few reasons: The squash provides sweetness and creaminess as well as a splash of vibrant color. It also packs some solid wellness perks, Rhyan Geiger, RDN, founder of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, tells SELF. For one, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A, which supports your eye health, she says. Eat just a half cup of purée, and you’ll meet your recommended daily allowance for it, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The squash brings a bunch of fiber, too, which helps keep your poop regular and even plays a role in lowering cholesterol, Geiger explains.
So whether you were a pumpkin stan already—or just became one after hearing all its health benefits—we’re here to help you find some awesome ways to add it into your diet. Sure, mixing it into pies or lattes can get the job done, but there are lots of other ways to enjoy the ingredient (both in savory and sweet dishes). Read on for some cooking tips from Geiger on how to get started, plus 33 canned pumpkin recipes to put it all into practice. Say goodbye to tomato girl summer—and welcome in pumpkin spice fall.
1. Toss a scoop into some overnight oats.
If you’re tired of your traditional overnight oats recipe, try mixing some pumpkin purée into your next batch, Geiger says. It’ll provide a sweet and seasonal spin to your breakfast dish. Add a dash of instant espresso to your oats recipe if you’re really looking for that PSL vibe.
2. Mix it into a creamy pasta sauce.
If you want to amp up your pasta recipe, mix a few scoops of pumpkin purée into the sauce, Geiger says. The squash pairs really well with heavy cream or coconut milk and provides a sweet and savory flavor. Then simply add protein, like grilled chicken or roasted chickpeas, to make it a heartier meal.
3. Stew it into a curry.
Adding a few scoops of pumpkin purée will give your next curry some sweetness and help thicken up your sauce, Geiger says. The squash pairs well with spices typically found in these stews, like turmeric and cumin.
4. Blend it into a beverage.
A scoop of pumpkin lends a seasonal twist to your beverage, Geiger says. Toss it into an apple or banana smoothie for a quick and tasty breakfast. Or throw it into a shake with ice cream or almond milk for a creamy and delicious dessert.
5. Use it as an egg replacement when baking.
If you love making muffins, cakes, or breads from scratch, try swapping the eggs in the recipe for pumpkin purée—it yields nearly the same result, Geiger says, and can help you turn your recipe vegan-friendly. Subbing an egg for one fourth cup of pumpkin purée should do the trick.
Okay, now that you’ve got the general idea on how to use up your canned pumpkin, read on to the seasonal recipes for more deets!