When we think of autumn, what comes to mind is cooler weather, colorful leaves, chunky sweaters and pumpkins. It’s a family tradition to pick the perfect pumpkin for carving a Jack o’lantern or making the perfect pumpkin pie. But pumpkin is also a very versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in many fall and winter recipes (not just for pumpkin spice lattes!)

When it comes to pumpkins, there are different types. The large pumpkins are great for carving for your Halloween décor and the small, pie pumpkins (sometimes called sugar pumpkins) are best used in recipes because they have less stringy fiber than the Jack o’lantern pumpkins.

Pumpkins are loaded with nutrients and can last for months if stored in a cool, dark place. The orange flesh of the pumpkin is one of the best sources of beta-carotene which has many benefits. Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A which is a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that beta-carotene can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, protect against asthma and heart disease, and decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Other nutrients in pumpkins include vitamins C, E, B6, potassium, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, among others.

One cup of cooked pumpkin has:

  • 1.76 grams of protein
  • 7 gram of fiber
  • 49 calories
  • 17 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates

This low-calorie, high-fiber winter squash is great in a variety of recipes and can be prepared from the fruit or you can use canned if your recipe calls for it.

Some recipes to try are:

  • Paleo Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Hummus – We love this recipe from Savory Lotus, because it is a great alternative for those of us who have a hard time eating beans. Try it with your favorite gluten-free crackers or fresh veggies.
  • Creamy Pumpkin Curry – This is a great fall dish from Sarah Fragoso. This curry will warm you up this fall, and the protein can be easily swapped out for your favorite choice.
  • Paleo Pumpkin Potato Soup – Here’s another one of oru favorite winter warming recipes from Great Food Lifestyle. This soup is completely dairy free and grain free!
  • Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte — If you must have a pumpkin spiced latte, try this simple recipe at home which is healthier for you and probably costs less than ordering it at your local coffee shop.