Pumpkin makes for the perfect ingredient for any fall dessert! Loaded with good-for-you pumpkin, these are the BEST pumpkin desserts around….and they all have a healthy twist to them!
Health benefits of pumpkin
We are about to make and eat a dessert….so why do we care about it having pumpkin in it? Beyond its seasonally yumminess, pumpkin adds a lot to a recipe and, ultimately, your body! And, while these are desserts and not main meals, my belief is if veggie-load all your food (yes, even desserts), you are going to find yourself eating SO MANY MORE veggies than you would if you ate an unveggie-loaded dessert.
So, just add the pumpkin to your desserts. Here is what it will add to your treats:
- Beta-carotene, which is then converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health, so add some pumpkin to your diet for the sake of those peepers!
- Vitamin C. Yep, oranges aren’t the only plant that can help boost your immune system!
- Fiber. There are 7 grams of fiber in a cup of canned pumpkin. Important for helping you feel full and keeping those “pipes” flowing.
What is the difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling?
You will see in many of these recipes that the ingredient list calls for “pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.” Here is why…
Pumpkin puree is JUST pumpkin. Not added spices or add sugar. Or anything else.
Pumpkin pie filling is…well, the ready-to-go filling of a pie. So it has spices and sugar added. And maybe other stuff. If you grab this stuff and add extra sweetener in with it, oh boy….you are in for an extra sweet treat. Plus. all of these recipes use natural sweeteners (like honey or maple syrup) and pumpkin pie filling usually has processed sugar or high fructose corn syrup added.
Moral of the story: read your ingredient list! Pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling are usually right next to one another and look quite similar.
Where to find canned pumpkin puree for making healthy pumpkin desserts
I love making homemade things, but I also try to use healthy living hacks where I can….and using canned pumpkin puree is definitely one of them!
Something I always have on hand, it makes veggie-loading all kinds of recipes easy and extra healthy!
I usually find canned pumpkin puree in most grocery stores here in the US. Where each store keeps them can vary depending on…..well, I don’t know what. But here are a few spots to look for them before asking a grocery store employee for help…
- with canned vegetables
- in the baking section
- with the dog food (weird, but true. Lots of people add orange vegetable puree to to their dog’s food and so some grocery stores keep it there. I also find butternut squash puree and sweet potato puree there too. Usually it is the same stuff you eat, just in a different section. Of course, double check to make sure what you are grabbing is meant for people!)
How to use homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned
In some places in the world, you can’t find canned pumpkin (I know I hear this often from my readers in Europe). Or maybe you have a stash of pumpkin puree in the freezer from a big ‘ol pumpkin you cooked up. Either way, you can totally use homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin puree if you want or need to.
I use a 1:1 ratio for this substitution, however I let my homemade pumpkin puree drain for a few minutes in a cheesecloth over a mesh strainer.
Homemade pumpkin puree tends to hold a lot more water, so skipping this step might result in an some extra wet healthy pumpkin desserts….and thats no fun.
The BEST Pumpkin Desserts + Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp sea salt omit if nut butter you are using is salted
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) + for sprinkling on top
- 3 eggs
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl. Stir until throughly combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean and the top of the loaf is completely set.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes before enjoying.
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container in fridge for up to 5 days.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!