Autumn brings fond memories of wandering in pumpkin patches as a way to welcome in a new season and say farewell to summer.

Pumpkins are not just for carving scary faces! On menus, pumpkin is a fall favorite as the key ingredient in lattes, soups, pies, muffins and more. However, the thought of cutting, cooking and scraping out the pulp can be daunting even to the most enthusiastic cooks.

But don’t despair because today you can buy pumpkin puree in cans and in aseptic boxes that tastes fresh and delicious; and makes cooking with pumpkin a breeze.

Pumpkin is a squash cultivar. The orange flesh is packed with the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene and the seeds can be dried and roasted and used in a variety of dishes as a source of protein, dietary fiber and beneficial fats. One cup of cubed pumpkin is only 30 calories and contains 171 percent of the daily value for vitamin A (based on a 2000 calorie diet).

pumpkinyogurtparfaitimage

Layne’s No-Cook Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait, serves 2

Choose organic ingredients when available: 

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice plus more for garnish
  • 6 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Feel free to adjust the ratio of yogurt to pumpkin.

In a parfait or wine glass, layer 1 tablespoon of oats then 2 tablespoon of pumpkin yogurt mixture and repeat. Garnish with optional whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. This makes two parfaits.

Serve chilled.

Nutrition facts per serving (281 grams) without whipped cream: 240 calories, 2.9 grams fat, 95 mg sodium, 42.5 grams carbohydrates, 5.1 grams dietary fiber, 10.4 grams protein. (This is a large portion and can easily be shared by two.)

Based on a 2000 calorie diet – Vitamin A – 383% • Vitamin C – 10%
Calcium – 28% • Iron – 15%

For more healthy recipes and the way to longevity, pick up a copy of Layne’s award winning book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of 
The Super-Healthy, available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN, is an award-winning registered dietitian, educator and entrepreneur. She is author of the book Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy. Read her blog and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and The Huffington Post.