By Francesca Merced

Whenever you see these round orange babies popping up around town you just know it’s October, right? But before you start carving one up for the kiddies, consider scooping some of the orange velvety goodness out for yourself.

Pumpkins are a wonderful addition to your heart-healthy fall diet because they’re loaded with many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E – all of which help fight disease and boost immunity.

They’re also a good source of B-complex group of vitamins like folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid which are essential for every woman’s body. And pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health.

If you’re not sure how to easily add pumpkin to your diet, have no fear: we’ve pulled together a variety of recipes from sweet to savory for you to enjoy. Trust us when we say, nutrition has never tasted so good!

1. PUMPKIN BREAD – You’ll love this easy and scrumptious pumpkin bread recipe courtesy of our very own Chef Arturo Vargas. Throw in some cranberries for added color, flavor and an extra anti-oxidant pop! http://wilesmag.com/2012/main-course-pumpkin-cranberry-bread/

2. PUMPKIN COOKIES – Sure, there are lots of pumpkin cookie recipes out there, but we love this one because it combines pumpkin with another notoriously heart-healthy food – oatmeal!  http://www.chow.com/recipes/30456-spiced-pumpkin-oatmeal-cookies

3. PUMPKIN HUMMUS – Staying in on a crisp fall weekend? Instead of opting for traditional snack fare, try whipping up some white bean and pumpkin hummus to enjoy on your favorite pita chips or in a salad.


4. PUMPKIN ICE CREAM – Well, you do need something to pair with those tasty pumpkin cookies, right? According to the recipe, either fresh or canned pumpkin will work. But for that extra-fresh, homemade taste, definitely use fresh pumpkin whenever possible. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/pumpkin-ice-cream.html

5. PUMPKIN LATTE – Sure, it’s convenient to drop by a coffee house and pick one of these up, but knowledge is power, so if you don’t feel like running out into the cold for your latte fix, now you don’t have to! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pumpkin-spice-latte.html

6. PUMPKIN PANCAKES – Eat well with this healthy whole-grain pumpkin pancake recipe that will add flavor , color and wonder well-being to any breakfast table! http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/whole_wheat_pumpkin_pancakes.html

7. PUMPKIN PIE – Nothing says autumn quite like pumpkin pie. So get ready for that big fall family meal by pulling together this relatively healthy and delicious dessert.




8. PUMPKIN RAVIOLI – Viva Italia pumpkin style with a creamy take on this yummy folded pasta. You can top it with a creamy gorgonzola sauce to pack on the flavor, but grated Asiago or Romano cheese or fresh sage will be a lighter and more heart-healthy way to go. http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/recipes/pasta/Pumpkin-Ravioli

9. PUMPKIN RISOTTO – Did you know pumpkin could be so gourmet? Neither did we, but we can’t wait to try this warm and wonderful masterpiece!  Be sure to have a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc handy when you bring this little ditty to dinner.


10. PUMPKIN SOUFFLE – Think making a soufflé is only for the professionals? Think again. Foodie extraordinaire Kumiko Mitarai has assembled a glorious variety of soufflé recipes for lay chefs to experiment with including, of course, pumpkin soufflé!


11. PUMPKIN SOUP – Picture this: it’s a typical overcast chilly autumn day and your insides are craving a little nurturing comfort food. Sound like the perfect scenario for some creamy pumpkin soup? We thought so.


12. ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS – There’s nothing like a food that can be enjoyed a variety of ways. If you’re looking for a more portable way to pack the pumpkin in, a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds will be right up your alley!


Before you know it, the holiday season will be here. And since many of us have a tendency to overeat and drink during that time, why not prepare your body by eating well now? If you have a favorite pumpkin recipe that you’d like to share, we’d love to see it. Please Join the Conversation here or on Facebook and let us know your favorite way to enjoy one of the biggest fruits of the fall!

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