My favorite part of the Thanksgiving season is, without a doubt, the pumpkin pie. But as wonderful as the pie is, there are also many other delicious (and nutritious) ways to incorporate pumpkin into your cooking this harvest season.
Did you know that adding pumpkin to some of your favorite recipes is a great way to boost their nutritional value? And many children who turn up their noses at carrots or sweet potatoes will gobble up pumpkin pancakes without ever realizing they're getting their daily dose of beta-carotene. Wondering what else you can cook with pumpkin? Try some of the following recipes!
Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
Pumpkin isn't only for dessert. Whip up a batch of Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal and you'll have an easy and incredibly nutritious breakfast that the whole family will love. Add a dash of pumpkin pie spice and the oatmeal will truly taste like pumpkin pie. And if you want to be really decadent, it is also delicious when topped with whipped cream.
Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
It may sound odd to add pumpkin to macaroni and cheese, but it actually works incredibly well. The orange color blends right in, and the flavor profile is subtle enough that most kids won't notice the addition. This sophisticated version of Baked Pumpkin Mac & Cheese from SheKnows is fancy enough to serve as a Thanksgiving side dish, though the combination of pumpkin, Gruyere cheese, and cayenne pepper may be more than picky eaters can tolerate.
For a recipe that is more likely to be "kid-friendly," check out this Creamy Stovetop Pumpkin Mac & Cheese that is sure to please.
Everyone loves a good dip, so why not sneak some pumpkin puree into the next one you make? Mix up this spicy pumpkin hummus, and serve it with assorted chips, crackers, and vegetables for dipping. It also makes a delicious and festively orange Thanksgiving appetizer!
If you will be serving the hummus to children, you may want to cut down on the amount of spices you use. Also consider using cookie cutters or a sharp knife to cut some fun shapes out of toast or apples to encourage kids to have a taste.
Pumpkin Pancakes (with Chocolate Filling)
What child (or adult) can refuse a Pumpkin Pancake Sandwich with Chocolate Filling? Pumpkin pancakes and waffles are typically a kid-friendly favorite, and when you make them from scratch with healthy ingredients, they are nutritious too. Add a filling made from cream cheese, honey, and cocoa powder, and this delicious sandwich takes breakfast (or dessert) to a whole new level.
"They're like Halloween whoopie pies, only without the gnarly ingredients or food dyes of the pre-packaged ones," says creator Catherine McCord of the popular website Weelicious.
You can add pumpkin to enchiladas in a variety of ways. Make a pumpkin enchilada sauce to top your family's favorite recipe, or use pumpkin as a vegetarian alternative to filling your enchiladas with beef or chicken. Although pumpkin is not a common ingredient in most American renditions of Mexican dishes, it is actually a staple in traditional Mexican cooking.
The ancient Aztecs routinely cooked with pumpkin, and it is frequently used in modern Mexican cuisine as well. Dishes such as Braised Pork With Pumpkin and Candied Pumpkin are popular in Mexico, particularly around Dia de los Muertos, otherwise known as Day of the Dead.
Do you cook with pumpkin? What do you make with it besides pie?