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The warm, spicy flavors and smells of pumpkin treats are too good to resist on a crisp fall day. Fortunately, pumpkin is actually a great addition to any athlete’s menu—it’s loaded with fiber, vitamins A and C, and immunity-boosting antioxidants. It also boasts a high potassium content, which helps to replenish lost electrolytes after hard training. Here are some creative ways to transform canned pumpkin into flavorful, healthful dishes. Pick up the November 2014 issue of Triathlete magazine for five more recipes using canned pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
All the satisfaction of the velvety pumpkin pie flavor you crave without having to bake one.
In a blender combine 1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk, one 15-ounce can pumpkin, 1 banana, 1/4 cup pitted dates, 1 tablespoon agave, 1/2 tablespoon ground flaxseed, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cloves (or replace spices with 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice), and 6 ice cubes. Process until smooth, and top with chopped toasted pecans or walnuts.
After a chilly training session, warm up with a comforting bowlful of bisque.
In a large pot, sauté 1/2 diced yellow onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add two 15-ounce cans pumpkin, 4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 cup low-sodium veggie broth, 3 tablespoons real maple syrup, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender (or, once cooled, a regular blender) to purée the soup until smooth.
Pumpkin Turkey Loaf
A healthy holiday makeover of traditional meatloaf
In a sauté pan, cook 1 grated yellow onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic, andcook for 1 minute. Add one 15-ounce can pumpkin, 1/3 cup white wine and 1/2 cup quinoa and cook another 7–8 minutes until thick (the quinoa will not cook through). Let cool. In a bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and pepper. Add the mixture from the pan to the bowl, stirring the ingredients together. Gently fold in one 20-ounce package 93% lean ground turkey. On a baking sheet prepared with nonstick cooking spray, shape the mixture into a turkey loaf and bake at 375 degrees for 30–35 minutes, until cooked through.
Thicken up your favorite curry while warding off hunger.
Add one cup of canned pumpkin, with 1/2 cup extra of whatever liquid the recipe calls for, to your favorite curry. This makes a thick, rich curry that will fill you up and ward off hunger. Try adding pumpkin to one of these recipes: Chicken and Potato Curry with Roasted Macadamia Nuts, or Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Curry.
Pumpkin Black Bean Burgers
A great way to bind black bean burgers
In a food processor, purée half of a 15-ounce can drained black beans, 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 2 tablespoons light cream cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon each chili powder and salt, 1/2 teaspoon each cumin and pepper, and 1/4 cup oat, brown rice or whole-wheat flour until smooth. Add 1 cup cooked brown rice, the other half can of drained black beans, 1 diced shallot, 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro and pulse until chunky, not smooth. Form 4–6 patties 1/2-inch thick and let rest in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm. Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan and cook 3–4 patties at a time for 5–7 min per side on medium heat, until a golden crust forms.