Pumpkin: It’s Not Just For Yogurt Anymore

I mean, it never really was. But if you read the Pumpkin Yogurt Wars post a couple weeks back, you might have thought so.

Seriously though, pumpkin is kind of everywhere this year. Like, way more than I can remember in past years. Trader Joe’s new Fearless Flyer has somewhere around 50 Pumpkin Items. I should know, I bought most of them. So, remember when I said I needed someone to stage a ‘pumpkintervention’? I purchased almost every pumpkin spice flavored item I could get my hands on, and my cabinets and counter tops we’re a bevy of orange boxes. I’m a marketing director’s dream, guys. Then, guess what happened?

I got really sick of all of it. It’s terribly sad, I know. But, most of the items were too pumpkin-y, or too spicy, or too sweet, or just plain not good. I hit total pumpkin overload and just didn’t want any of it anymore. Except for one thing.

Actual pumpkin.

See, somewhere buried at the heart of this pumpkin spice lunacy, is a beautiful squash, a superfood that is low in calories (15 per 1/2 cup raw, fresh) and high in fiber, vitamin C and beta carotene. And? It’s freaking delicious!

Now, let’s talk about what to do with pumpkin!

Pumpkin can typically be found in your regular grocery store in three forms; halloween/jack o’ lantern pumpkins (don’t eat those, I don’t think they’ll kill you, but I think they would be pretty woody), whole sugar pumpkins and canned mashed pumpkin. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, one of their 50 pumpkin items is actual pumpkin, peeled, cut, cubed, raw. Unless you don’t have a local Trader Joe’s (I’m so sorry, Mer), you might want to get some of this. I’m about to explain why.

New fun fact I learned this year: Working with whole, raw pumpkin is a major pain in the ass.

My nemesis

You guys know, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. I don’t shy away from food prep. I have a knife callus the size of a small country on my hand. I do NOT mind getting in there and getting my hands dirty.

All that said, if you plan to venture into the world, of cooking with raw pumpkin, get ready for a workout. The skin is tough, there is an incredible amount of slimy goop and seeds inside, and just cutting the pumpkin into chunks is hard work. And you know that smell when you carve jack o’ lanterns with the kids? Same. So, recap: lots of work, lots of smell, lots of slime.

So, why bother? Because it tastes ahhhhh-ma-zing.

Like almost any squash, pumpkin roasted in the oven with a little oil, salt and pepper is phenomenal. I can, and did, eat it straight out of the pan. But, in case you are looking for some ways to serve pumpkin that don’t involve burning your fingers and tongue, I pulled together a few of my favorites for you.

Pumpkin Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins from Ambitious Kitchen. This recipe called for pumpkin puree, so you could make your own, or go with canned. I used canned.

My word, these were delicious. Dense, incredibly moist, spicy but not too spicy. I could have eaten the entire batch.

Pumpkin and White Bean Soup from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook. This recipe called for cut, raw pumpkin. I picked up a bag of the pre-prepped TJ’s pumpkin for this.

This was unexpectedly good. Meaning, when I heard pumpkin and white bean, I was wondering how those were going to fit together. But, in this soup, the beans aren’t pureed, and half the pumpkin is roasted chunks that go in after the puree. The result is a lovely, smooth soup with cubes of roasted pumpkin and white beans in every bite. It was awesome.

Autumn Pumpkin Mix from Women’s Health Magazine. This is another recipe that calls for cut, raw pumpkin. For this one, I cut and prepped my own.


Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t even know what to say about this. Just, if you like delicious food, make this. The flavor combination just WORKS. Brussel sprouts, pumpkin, pistachios and goat cheese. This came from a list of lunch recipes, but would make an excellent dinner side as well.

There are a million pumpkin recipes in the world. If you know some excellent ones, please share them with me in the comments below. Pretty please. With pumpkin on top.

What do you think of this year’s pumpkin craze? What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe? Do you want recipes for other types of squash? Let’s chat! 

Pumpkin Yogurt Throwdown

Can we talk about pumpkin? Can we talk a lot about pumpkin?

I have a serious crush on pumpkin this year. And because the universe is kind/cruel, it seems I am not alone and the product gods are blessing all of us pumpkin lovers with an abundance of items.


Ahem. Anyone want to stage a Pumpkintervention? (Please don’t, I’m happy in my obsession).

While many of the pumpkin-y items aren’t all that healthy or Weight Watchers friendly, there is one standout that I saw a lot of this year.

Pumpkin yogurt. And boy, is there plenty of it to go around.

In the interest of scientific research, I decided to do a little compare and contrast of all the different pumpkin yogurts I could get my hands on. Really, I did this for you, fair readers. #denial

Over the past week or so, I’ve been taste testing one of these beauties every day, and keeping a handy dandy spreadsheet for notes on taste, nutrition, cost and availability.

So, without further ado, I give you my findings, in really gross to OMG order.

Yo Crunch Pumpkin Pie with Pie Crust Topping

This came in dead last in both taste and nutrition. This was too sweet and very artificial tasting. It also didn’t really taste like pumpkin. As one of the only two regular (non Greek/Australian/Icelandic) yogurts, it was also too thin. Ingredients wise, this wasn’t a winner either, with a lot of additives and preservatives. The only thing this had going for it was price (about .55 per 4 ounce cup/ 2.29 for a four pack). But with an ingredients list that reads like stereo instructions and a horrible protein to carbs ratio (3 grams to 25 grams), coupled with a terrible taste, you could give this away and I wouldn’t eat it. Not even with a little cup of pie crust sprinkles on top.

365 Organics Pumpkin Spice

This was almost a tie for last, but it wasn’t quite as artificial tasting. This was the other ‘regular’ yogurt, and again, I found it too thin. I think that is likely due to the fact that I’ve just gotten used to thicker, Greek-style yogurt over the last few years, so now regular yogurt seems watery. This didn’t seem to have much pumpkin or spice flavor. This is organic, but that doesn’t always mean healthy or good for you. This was another fairly low protein/high carb item (7 grams/25 grams). 365 Organics is a Whole Foods brand, so you won’t find this anywhere else, and this was around 1.00 for 6 ounces.

Trader Joe’s Greek Nonfat Pumpkin


Mehhh 🙁

I love Trader Joe’s almost as much as I love pumpkin. Maybe I love it more? It’s close, at any rate. Sadly, I did not love this yogurt. I wanted to. Other people had been raving about it, so I went in with high expectations. I found this to be nice and thick, but it had a sour taste to it (even for yogurt), and was more spice than pumpkin. This one did have a decent ingredients list, with the exception of corn starch, and the protein is much higher (18g) but the carbs are on the high side (29g) for something not very sweet. Only carried at TJ’s (obviously), and 1.09 for 6 ounces, this one just wasn’t a winner for me.

Oikos Pumpkin Pie

Yumkin Pie, more like it.

Yumkin Pie, more like it.

If taste were the only consideration, this might have won. It was really delicious. On the sweet side, but not too sweet, with the perfect amount of spice, I wanted there to be more days that included this item. Ultimately, this one wound up in the middle of the list due to ingredients (can we please not put corn starch in my yogurt??) and mid range nutrition (11 grams protein/20 grams carbs – I like a little more protein and a little less carbs from my yogurt). This was reasonably priced, 1.19 for 5.3 ounces, and is available at major chain grocery stores.

Chobani Pumpkin Spice

Topped with TJ's This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar. See TJ's, I still love you!

Topped with TJ’s This Pumpkin Walks Into a Bar. See TJ’s, I still love you!

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. I loved this! It was creamy, had good pumpkin flavor, was spicy and sweet, without being too much of either. This also has a good ingredients list, mostly clean, and no corn starch! With a 14 g protein/13 g carbs ratio, this is the first item on the list with more protein than carbs. This is also probably the most readily available, as I’ve seen it at grocery stores, Target, etc. And the price was average, 1.19 for 5.3 ounces. For me, this will totally be in regular rotation.

Noosa Pumpkin

The cheesecake of pumpkin yogurts.

The cheesecake of pumpkin yogurts.

Okay, have you tried Noosa? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Unless you shop at my Target, in which case, don’t go there. It’s all mine. Noosa is Australian style, which seems similar to Greek, but a bit less tart. It is incredibly creamy. Made in Colorado, this product is made with milk from a local dairy, and local honey. Awesome. And the ingredients list doesn’t suck at all. Nothing unpronounceable, except the yogurt cultures.  But, let’s talk taste. The pumpkin Noosa is incredible. More than any of the others, this tasted like PUMPKIN. It was lighter on the ‘spice’ element, which totally let the pumpkin through. It had decent protein (14 grams), but high carbs (30 grams). This one had by far the highest calories, and was the highest price (2.39) but also the biggest portion size (8 ounces). The container is almost too big to eat at once, and it has an almost dessert-y taste. My advice? If you’re eating this for breakfast or a snack, have half a container. And then you get some for later! Noosa is starting to be more widely available, but the pumpkin flavor is a Target exclusive.


Siggi’s Pumpkin Spice

Hello, new favorite yogurt!

Hello, new favorite yogurt!

Top spot. Or bottom, since we went from worst to best. Guys, this one won it for a lot of reasons. I had never had Siggi’s before this, so this Icelandic (again, similar to Greek) yogurt was brand new to me. And wow, am I glad I found it. This was incredible. Very creamy, not too sweet (bordering on tart, but not quite), it had the perfect (for me) pumpkin and spice ratio. Also, this was one of the only two that had more protein than carbs (14g/13g). But the ingredients list! Short, clean, natural. The pumpkin flavor I could only find at Whole Foods, and at 1.99 for 5.3 ounces, this was the highest price per ounce. But you totally get what you pay for and this worth every penny.

So, that’s the skinny on all yogurts pumpkin. I hope this is helpful in your search! Have you guys tried any of these? Like ‘em? Hate ‘em? Know of another pumpkin yogurt that I missed (don’t even say the Yoplait, I looked for that everywhere!)? Tell me all about your love of yogurt, or pumpkin, or pumpkin yogurt below!