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Healthy Pumpkin Recipe Roundup

‘Tis the season for pumpkin-everything. I much prefer mine in its whole form as opposed to its pseudo form, and so I give an annual “no thank you” to the kind that’s making appearances in places it shouldn’t be. No thank you “pumpkin” cream cheese. No thank you high fat “pumpkin” lattes. Yes please, pumpkin curry, pumpkin soup, pumpkin dessert, and everything else you’ll find down below.

Pumpkin does have its place, and I can certainly jump on the October pumpkin bandwagon, as long as it’s showing up on the right spoon. Are you with me?

If so, great. Let’s be friends. Let’s also dive into this pumpkin recipe roundup together containing some of my all-time favorite pumpkin creations. Here, you’ll find a little something for everyone (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan), all meals, and occasions. You’ll also find a few pumpkin-y desserts, which are for sure worth the annual indulgence. That vegan pumpkin custard might be one of my favorite recipes of my repertoire, and it takes just 20 minutes and one pan to make! So come on already, pass over the pumpkin, please.

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Breakfast made easy-peasy, creamy and delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

 Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Breakfast, lunch, snack-time, dessert…you name it. These half-whole-wheat, part-pumpkin-filled muffins, will make you feel good about the pastry in your hands.

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

 I love flavor variations of hummus. This one speaks of a harvest fall. Throw some toasted pita by its side and you have a wonderful appetizer for any gathering of the season.

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Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

I’ve been doing a ton of cooking with friends lately, which I love. There’s something special about gathering around cutting boards and cookbooks, and creating something from scratch. Especially when it means spending time with people who make you laugh and forget all your worries. Nights of food and laughter will always be my favorite.

This month has been filled with lots of those, making it feel as if Christmas came early. Minus all the Christmas cookies. I have yet to bake one holiday treat this year! Gasp. Throw me some ideas, friends. This weekend, I  shall bake. And get down with some DIY gifting.

Because all that free time spent cooking lately means I have lots and lots of gifting to catch up on this weekend. Cue morning yoga and evening wine to keep my sanity. And some of this leftover pumpkin coconut curry from an earlier silliness-filled cooking sesh with the help of Louie, my new sous chef. (Every food blogger needs a sous chef, right? My mom likes to think I need a dishwasher, too…but that’s another story.)

Pumpkin Coconut Veggie Curry over Black Rice

Coconut curry holds a sweet spot in my life. As of lately, black rice does too. Combine the two, and you’re in for a treat. Not only does the orange pumpkin in this recipe look beautifully with the rice, but it compliments its nuttiness as well.

Creamy and slightly rich, but packed full of so many healthy ingredients, this is the kind of meal to bring out when dining with company. Want to show the world vegan food can taste great? Make coconut curry. And add pumpkin, cashews, veggies and cilantro.

This is not faint on flavor. Add it to your dinner rotation and it too will feel like Christmas came early, all times of the year.

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Creamy Kale and Rice Soup

Is it really 2013? This marks my 613 post on this blog. That’s 500+ published recipes I’ve created or made in the last three years. Holy mise en place, that’s a lot of onion chopping.

It’s crazy how much this little blog has shaped my life. Launched at a time when my personality was quickly shifting and evolving, my passions forming and cementing, this early college venture has become a huge part of who I am. From my potential career goals (who wouldn’t want to be a full-time, food blogging Smitten Kitchen? Or food journalist. Or photographer…among other things), to the reputation among my friends as the constant cook, I probably wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t started this blog.

I wouldn’t be pitching to food magazines. I wouldn’t be writing a seasonal veggie column. I wouldn’t be networking among other bloggers. Likely I wouldn’t be the photography enthusiast I’ve become today. There are so many doors this blog has opened, and so many people it has brought to my life, and so on this first day of January, I just want to give thanks to all that the hard work has brought.

As much as I would still love my mom to pack the occasional lunch or be at my apartment to whip up dinner after work, I have learned to absolutely love cooking on my own through this experience. And writing too. I’m finally secure in my desire to be a journalist, food-related or not, and know that one day I will do so on a full-time basis.

I hope you too are looking back on the year with a positive reflection, and with that, I say Happy New Year. Let me leave you with this recipe, a perfect start to 2013. Let’s lighten things up after the holidays with this warm, nutrient-packed soup. The creamy kale recipe was inspired by callaloo, a green soup I once ate daily on a trip to Grenada. Whether feasting in the Caribbean or dining on the version below, this will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the year ahead.

Flourless Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin dessert on Thanksgiving is a must. Generally, I’d say there has to be pie, however, no one said you shouldn’t have options – or two desserts on your plate. These pumpkin cookies make a rather fine second choice for the table, especially for vegans and gluten-free’s.

I came upon this recipe and the chickpeas immediately caught my eye. A cookie made of beans and pumpkin? That sounds almost too healthy to be true – and tasty – an inclination I generally get when reading dessert recipes (though not entrees). Luckily, curiosity got the best of me and I went for it…chickpeas, chocolate, pumpkin and peanut butter all piled into my food processor.

Following a previous recipe for disaster that called for black beans in brownies, I had my doubts. After those results, I vowed to stick to sinfully indulgent brownie recipes from there on out. However, it’s possible the success of this one may’ve changed my opinion on health-altered desserts.

Unlike black beans, chickpeas are fairly bland, and you’d certainly never pick up on them in this pumpkin recipe. They give these cookies their oomph while keeping them moist, but it’s the maple, spices and chocolate that lend these their flavor. The results – a nutritious, protein-packed cookie, that while addicting, I wouldn’t feel guilty eating for breakfast.

For a holiday packed with more than enough indulgences, these make a great option that likely no one would ever guess is actually even healthy. On the whole, I’m all about making sacrifices in terms of nutrition when it comes to desserts, because if I’m going to indulge, I want it to be amazing. But sometimes you get lucky and find a recipe like this, where those kind of sacrifices truly aren’t needed for pumpkin perfection.

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Sage Pumpkin Hummus

One more pumpkin recipe, then I promise I’ll chill on the pumpkin. With all these recipes, I’m quickly running out of the stockpile I bought – although, I am waiting on my first order of green coffee beans, and I’m totally dreaming of homemade pumpkin lattes after they’re roasted.

Regardless of whether more pumpkin recipes go up anytime soon, I’m sure I’ll be buying more. And you probably should, too.

One cup’s got 7 g’s of fiber and a percentage that’s over 100 times that in terms of your daily needs of vitamin A (760%). Plus, 17% vitamin C and nearly 20% of iron, all for under 85 calories. All that health in one cup feels virtually unheard of during the cold-weathered holidays, the ones that generally mean calories upon calories upon fat upon eggnog upon other canned food you probably don’t want to be eating.

What you do want to be eating is this. Hummus and pumpkin and sage, oh my. I made a spiced pumpkin hummus last year and brought it to some friends who ended up raving about the recipe…Not a surprise given it’s one bowl containing both creamy hummus AND pumpkin.

This version’s a little different, instead inspired by how well the combination of butternut squash and sage turned out in my soup last week. You’ll find the Sage Pumpkin Hummus to be more savory. It tastes exceptionally well on pita with spinach and maybe some crunchy sprouts.

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