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Dietitian-Recommended Low-Carb Pumpkin Recipes

Written by
Yumna Farooq
Team Nutrisense
Reviewed by
Heather Davis
MS, RDN, LDN
a baking tray with pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin season is upon us, and if you’re like us, you may already be looking for new ways to add them to your plate. From pumpkin spice lattes to fall dessert staples like pumpkin pie, there are so many delicious pumpkin desserts and drinks to choose from. 

However, if you have certain dietary restrictions or are on a low carb diet, you may find your options limited this time of year. Luckily, there are lots of low-carb and keto pumpkin recipes out there that can allow you to enjoy these comfort foods while still hitting your macronutrient targets.

Read on for nine delicious recipes you can try out in the comfort of your own home, and learn more about why you might want to add pumpkin to your diet.

Is Pumpkin Healthy?

Pumpkin is quite diverse as a vegetable, and can add a unique flavor to all kinds of dessert recipes and savory dishes. As a type of winter squash, pumpkin contains many vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

In fact, pumpkin has been shown in research to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic and antimicrobial properties. The flesh, peel, and seeds of a pumpkin are sources of fiber, amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates.

A half cup serving of raw pumpkin contains:

pumpkin nutrition facts

While most pumpkin recipes use raw pumpkin flesh or pumpkin purée, pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients in their own right. One half cup serving of pumpkin seeds contains about 142 calories, 17 grams of carbs, six grams of fat, six grams of fiber, and six grams of protein.

These nutritious seeds make a great topping for Greek yogurt bowls, smoothies, or even salads

Does Pumpkin Raise Blood Sugar?

Although pumpkin is technically a type of carbohydrate, it is relatively low in carbs with six grams per 100 gram serving. Pumpkin also has a small amount of fiber, which may help slow the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream. 

While the glycemic index of pumpkin is 65, its glycemic load is relatively low, at 4.5.This means that eating an appropriate serving size of pumpkin is not likely to spike blood sugar levels for most people.

If you are someone who is watching your blood sugar levels, you can also pair pumpkin with a good source of extra fiber and protein to make your meal or snack more glucose-friendly!

Seven Dietitian-Recommended Low-Carb Pumpkin Recipes

Now that you’ve seen all the many health benefits of pumpkin, you may be ready to add some healthy homemade pumpkin recipes into your diet this season. To help you do so, here are seven low-carb pumpkin recipes recommended by Nutrisense dietitians.

1) Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins by Well Plated

almond flour pumpkin muffin

Recommended by Randi Yow, RDN, LDN

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: chocolate chips, cranberries, toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans

Why We Love It

This recipe is a great gluten-free option for anyone who is sensitive to gluten, and it’s also a good choice for people on the keto diet as long as you keep portions moderate. This recipe contains maple syrup, which is an added sugar and source of carbs. However, one muffin will have roughly 8g of carbs, which is still pretty low.

If you’re looking to cut carbs even lower, you might opt for an alternative sweetener such as stevia or allulose in place of the maple syrup. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg add a warming touch of flavor and some blood-sugar balancing benefits too. 

Randi explains, “This almond flour pumpkin recipe makes a great base! It uses pure maple syrup as the sweetener, and I usually top the muffins with some nuts (instead of chocolate chips) for some more fat and protein. This recipe is also good as a quick treat for my son. He loves them!”

2) Ricotta and Pumpkin Waffles by Imagelicious

Recommended by Stephanie Etherington, RDN, CD, CDCES

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • Oil for the waffle maker

Why We Love It

These hearty waffles are fun for family nights or Sunday morning brunches. They’re tasty, high-protein, and low in carbs, and just might become your guilty pleasure.

Stephanie says, “I just made these waffles a couple of weeks ago and they were delicious (and kid-approved!). This recipe is not necessarily keto, but it’s definitely a lower carb option with much higher protein content than traditional waffles!”

3) Keto Pumpkin Bread by Chocolate Covered Katie

keto pumpkin bread

Recommended by Victoria Eaton, RDN, IFNCP

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sweetener (for sugar free, use Lakanto monkfruit)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional 1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3 eggs (or flax eggs)
  • Optional handful of mini chocolate chips

Why We Love It

Victoria shares why she’s a fan of this keto-friendly recipe, explaining, "Pumpkin bread is a household favorite and this recipe knocks it out of the park. I like to stir in a handful of pecans for an extra crunch!”

This recipe uses monkfruit sweetener, but you can also swap that out for stevia. Top this bread up with some cream cheese for a savory option or a low-sugar cream cheese frosting for your sweet tooth cravings.

4) Pumpkin Chili Recipe by Delicious Little Bites

Recommended by Jordyn Wallerius, MS, RDN, CD

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2-15 ounce cans pumpkin purée
  • 1-14 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1-15 ounce can black beans, drained (leave out for keto version)
  • 1 cup beef bone broth or stock
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers (optional)

Why We Love It

Pumpkin recipes can be savory too, and this pumpkin chili is a creative way to add more pumpkin to your diet this season. Jordyn says, “I'm definitely more of a savory fan when it comes to pumpkin flavors, and this pumpkin chili is so tasty! You can pair it with a salad, and you've got an easy, balanced fall meal.” 

This low-carb chili recipe is also gluten-free, and to make it keto, you can simply take out the black beans.

5) Jillian’s Chicken Thighs with Creamy Pumpkin Squash

chicken thighs with pumpkin

Recommended by Jillian Caesrine, RD

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F 
  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add butter
  • Sear chicken thighs 5 minutes per side, then remove and place on a baking sheet 
  • Roast chicken in the oven until cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, add onion and garlic to the pan 
  • Sauté until browned, about 10 minutes, then add wine and cook for another two to five minutes
  • Add pumpkin purée, stock, salt to taste and a pinch of cinnamon and mix together
  • Add chicken back in and serve. Pair this dish with roasted squash and chopped basil!

Why We Love It

This recipe, another savory option, is a delicious creation of Nutrisense dietitian, Jillian Caesrine, RD. It’s high in protein from the chicken, lower in carbs, and full of added vitamins and minerals from the pumpkin.

Jillian says, “This dish screams fall and I absolutely love it. I used a bit of white wine for added tang but you can omit this step if you don’t have any. A bit of spice from paprika might be nice as well!

“I paired this dish with some red kombucha squash, but that’s totally optional. This recipe makes enough sauce for 6 servings.”

6) Easy Keto Low Carb Pumpkin Pie Recipe by Wholesome Yum

Recommended by Marie Funk, MS, RD, LDN

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe almond flour pie crust (can sub out for coconut flour pie crust)
  • 1-15 ounce can of pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or coconut cream to make dairy-free)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of Besti Powdered Erythritol, Swerve, or another sugar substitute
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (optional)

Why We Love It

This keto pumpkin pie recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth using sugar-free sweeteners to keep the net carbs low. This can be really helpful for anyone on a low carb or keto diet who wants to enjoy a pumpkin pie or keto dessert without compromising their wellness goals!

Marie loves that this sugar-free pumpkin recipe is easy to quickly throw together in a mixing bowl. It has a prep time of just 15 minutes, and then you can just pop it into the oven!

7) Gluten-Free Almond Flour Pumpkin Waffles by One Lovely Life

gluten free pumpkin waffle

Recommended by Rebecca French, RDN

Ingredients

  • 1-2/3 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, avocado oil, or coconut oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Why We Love It

Rebecca shares, “These almond flour gluten and dairy free pumpkin waffles were such a yummy treat for a change from my usual savory breakfast. They didn't spike my blood sugar as normal waffles would and they were in line with my anti-inflammatory diet. Not to mention pumpkin is such an underrated fall superfood loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber!”

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