5 Healthy Ways to Pump Up the Fresh Pumpkin

This season, use a little elbow grease to break down fresh, in-season pumpkin so you can use it in some of fall's finest good-for-you recipes.
Preparing pumpkin

Preparing pumpkin

Mother and her little son preparing pumpkin

Though canned pumpkin puree stars in many of our favorite baked goods, fresh-picked pumpkin isn't as widely used, even when it's in season. As it turns out, fresh pumpkins have uses beyond jack-o'-lantern carving: Cooking with this tender-when-roasted squash variety brings a hearty, mildly sweet element to many of our favorite fall dishes.

This season, use a little elbow grease to break down fresh, in-season pumpkin so you can use it in some of fall's finest good-for-you recipes.

Next time you crave innately creamy risotto, bring morsels of diced, semisweet pumpkin into the mix. This Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto, made extra-creamy and luxurious with the addition of mascarpone cheese, is cooked in the oven so you won't have to stand over the stove for endless stirring.

Amplify the sweetness of standard pumpkin soup by bringing in juicy (and also in-season) apples. The Honeycrisp variety, as well as chopped sage, adds multiple layers of flavor to this healthy  Pumpkin-Apple Soup, which gets a garnish of chopped peanuts on top.

If you haven't considered fresh pumpkin as a contender for your side dishes, meet Anne Burrell's  Curried Pumpkin with Caramelized Onions. Cooked low and slow for over an hour, this mild, slightly sweet squash variety becomes dynamic with a seasoning of garam masala, red pepper flakes and toasted green pumpkin seeds.

FN_10_2010 COVER 156139.tif

FN_10_2010 COVER 156139.tif

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin,Food Stylist: Anne DisrudeProp Stylist: Marina Malchin

Scoop out a pumpkin's flesh to make way for a festive fall presentation of Food Network Magazine's  Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls. Use the hollow pumpkin as a vehicle for this healthy, creamy, slightly sweet soup, and bits of roasted and tender pumpkin will work their way into your spoonfuls.

Bring another side of fresh pumpkin into your comfort food dishes.  Turkey and Pumpkin Seed Chili may not call for the flesh of the fall favorite, but the pumpkin's seeds bring a satisfying crunchy element to warming, good-for-you and cocoa-spiked chili.

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Healthy Ways to Bake with Pumpkin Puree — Fall Fest

Work smooth and spicy pumpkin puree into your favorite baked goods, from classic pumpkin pie to savory pumpkin biscuits.

The 5 Best Recipes for Cooking with Fresh Pumpkin

Use fresh pumpkin for a whole lot more than carving. Bring it into your favorite fall recipes, whether it's for dinner or dessert.

All the Ways to Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life

Think beyond the latte and introduce this beloved flavor into some of your favorite dishes.

5 Pumpkin-Centric Dishes to Make This Fall

Check out Food Network's top-five pumpkin recipes to find inspired ideas for using this fall ingredient in lunch, dinner and dessert dishes.

8 Ways to Eat Pumpkin All Day Long — Fall Fest

Get your pumpkin fix with sweet and savory recipes that will take you from breakfast to dinner (not to mention dessert), whether you use fresh pumpkin or canned puree.

All the Ways to Eat Pumpkin Seeds

Whether or not you've been carving grinning pumpkins for your home's stoop, munching on pumpkin seeds is something you have to do this season.

Pumpkin Spice (and Everything Nice) — Fall Fest

These pumpkin recipes should be on tap all season long.

Behind the Booklet: Bonus Canned Pumpkin Recipe

Food Network Magazine teaches you how to make curried pumpkin ketchup with leftover canned pumpkin.