The 12 Days of Pumpkin

12 pumpkin-filled days complete with healthy recipes and cooking ideas to inspire you before pumpkin mania hits

Whether you believe that fall starts after Labor Day or officially on September 23rd of this year (for the Northern Hempisphere), there's one thing that's for certain: pumpkins enter the scene, in a big way, just about now. Yes, most of this is due to Halloween, but before pumpkin hysteria hits (also known as the month of October) and you're overloaded with photos of pumpkins and jack-o'-lanterns galore, we've decided to spend 12 days celebrating all things pumpkin before October 1st arrives.

We've teamed up with Carly from Createlive to offer you healthy twists on pumpkin recipes: aka the 12 Days of Pumpkin. We hope that these recipes will inspire you to cook with pumpkin while you're still excited about their presence in fall markets. 

As Carly, the mastermind behind these recipes, says, the best part is that they don’t all taste the same. “I figured that 12 pumpkin-based recipes would taste like... well, 12 pumpkin-based recipes. Imagine my surprise to find that these recipes are actually quite varied — from hot to cold, breakfast to dinner to dessert, sweet to spicy, thin to thick, meaty to light... the only element all 12 recipes share is that they are healthy.”

Pumpkins are actually quite healthy and can add both flavor and thickness to recipes (check out the pumpkin purée recipe below) and a good dose of Vitamin A. The pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, can be used in a variety of ways and provide minerals like magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous, plus are a good source of zinc, protein, and iron. Try roasting the whole seeds with salt and eating them as a snack or removing the hulls and using them in salads

When buying pumpkins, look for ones without blemishes that are heavy feeling (as opposed to hollow). Generally, smaller ones tend to have more tender and tasty meat. Please enjoy the following recipes as we count down the days until October 1st, when Halloween and pumpkin mania hit in full force. (You can still continue to make these recipes then or swap the pumpkin for squash if you've had enough.)

Enjoy and please feel free to share your favorite pumpkin recipes with us!


Day One: Spicy Pumpkin Fries

A healthy twist on sweet potato fries that are baked rather than fried. 




Day Two: Pumpkin Curry Soup

A creamless, spicy soup that's perfect for cold fall days. 





Day Three: Pumpkin Sage Orzo Risotto

Instead of using Arborio rice for this risotto dish, try making a quicker version using orzo instead. 




Day Four: Stovetop Pumpkin Purée

A necessary recipe to make the delicious cream cheese pumpkin cupcakes below...




Day Five: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cupcakes

A low-fat cupcake that is still decadent and super tasty. 




Day Six: Pumpkin & Walnut Oatmeal

A healthy and nutty way to start your day. 




Day Seven: Pumpkin & Lentil Soup

A hearty and healthy soup that's a great way to use leftover pumpkin.




Day Eight: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Skip Starbucks and make your own spiced latte at home. 





Day Nine: Pumpkin Pancakes

Surprise the kids with these wonderful pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. It's the perfect treat for a lazy Sunday morning.




Day Ten: Wasabi & Barbecue Pumpkin Seeds


A healthy snack that can easily be made with all of the leftover pumpkin seeds. Try it either with a spicy wasabi flavoring or a Cajun-barbecue style


Day Eleven: Sweet Pumpkin Fries

A sweet (and still healthy) alternative to the spicy fries listed above. 




Day Twelve: Healthy Pumpkin Pie

A more waist-friendly version of a classic American dessert. This upside down pie is half the calories of your normal piece of pumpkin pie.



Follow @yasminfahr for more recipes and cooking tips.