Most of us consider the humble pumpkin a fruit of limited use. It serves to let us know fall has arrived, piling up in mounds near the doors of the grocery store or at farmers markets.  Pumpkin has the nutritional value a spud can only dream about – vitamin A, beta carotene, potassium and fiber. If you’re on the recurring, obligatory pumpkin pie bandwagon, break your pie-induced tunnel vision and cook with pumpkin. Try your hand with some of these alternatives.


Clockwise: cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon

When you combine these four pillars of fall cooking you might wind up with a warm and rich Pumpkin Spice Latte. You will really want to take this recipe for a spin on a lazy weekend morning soon. I have no doubt it will beat out all competitors (and you know who that is!) It just sounds so delicious and the ability to control the amount of coffee makes this cuppa’ all the more appealing to this tea-only devotee. From Cooking of Joy.


Bread. Substitute roasted, mashed pumpkin for bananas in your favorite banana bread or muffin recipe. A handful of walnuts in the batter adds protein for an easy breakfast or snack on the go. Pumpkin Mash from Jo In the Kitchen.


Soup base. You’ve had butternut squash soup, right? Think along those lines. Pumpkin’s subtle flavor makes a perfect backdrop for bigger personalities like spicy sausage, and it works with a variety of seasonings. Add curry, lemongrass, cilantro or other spices to complement everything from Asian cuisines to Mexican dishes.


Dessert. Free your mind from pie. Pumpkin works well with cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar and walnuts, among hoards of other options. Make cake-like pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting (also yummy on the pumpkin muffins) or pumpkin pudding layered with a little whipped cream and dusted with nutmeg or cinnamon. Bonus points for presenting in beautiful glassware so everyone can admire your creation.  Pumpkin Mousse Parfait from A Dinner Party.


Pancakes. Add cooked pumpkin to your pancake batter and top with the standard butter and maple syrup, cinnamon and whipped cream, or dusted with powdered sugar. Enjoy this hearty fall breakfast before heading out to rake up all those fallen leaves. Sugar Pie Pumpkin Pancakes from Nathan Yergler.


Pumpkin ravioli. Take a look at this pumpkin ravioli recipe from Kristen Lyon, Southern Oregon personal chef and owner of the Farm Kitchen, on using local ingredients for healthy cooking.

Photos:Photo by Element5 Digital on UnsplashJo in the Kitchen, Karin, Lisa CericolaNathan Yergler, Jen Knoedl