Healthy Pumpkin Muffins + 7 Uses for Pumpkin and Squash Leftovers

28 Sep

Pumpkins and squashes are the Shreks of the vegetable kingdom–massive, warty and funny-looking, yet wonderfully sweet.

You often have huge quantities of flesh left over when you’re cooking or carving these beasts.

Working on the October issue of Open Kitchen, we ended up with our fair share of frozen squash in the freezer. Luckily our food stylist, Signe Langford, shared a bunch of ideas with us for adding gourds to everyday dishes:

1. Use cooked, mashed or canned pumpkin or squash in place of banana or applesauce in quick breads, muffins or cakes. And in place of grated zucchini or carrot, grate raw squash or pumpkin.

2. Raw squash, skinned and cubed, is traditional and delicious in Thai-style curries but it’s also lovely tossed into a simmering soup of any kind. Cut into one-inch cubes and add about 10 minutes before serving.

3. Switch up your usual pancake recipe by adding pumpkin puree. Remember to reduce some of the other wet ingredients—eggs or milk—and add a dash of cinnamon.

4. Add pumpkin pie filling to your favourite homemade vanilla ice cream recipe for instant pumpkin pie ice cream.

5. Stir pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling into vanilla pudding during cooking to turn this everyday sweet into a delicious, more nutritious fall treat.

6. Make fat-free pumpkin butter with puree, apple juice, sugar and warming spices (Find a great recipe here at With its creamy, smooth texture and sweet, spicy flavour it’s lovely on toast.

7. Gourds are great for Fido and Fluffy too—just not the sweetened stuff. Mix cooked pumpkin or squash in with their kibble and watch them polish it off in record time.

Food stylist Signe Langford and her well-fed pet chihuahua, The Dude.

Signe says, “Choose wee sugar, pie or baking pumpkins over big carving pumpkins, which tend to be stringy, tough and bland.”

With my frozen butternut squash leftovers, I made spicy fall muffins from a recipe in Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe.

I used palm sugar instead of refined sugar, since it affects your blood sugar less, and I substituted one cup of soy protein powder for one of the cups of flour, for extra energy, since I’ll likely be grabbing these for brekkie on the run.

The orange cream cheese frosting is a less virtuous add-on, but the cakes are still moist and lovely without it, so it’s your choice. I just needed something to plant my pumpkins and squirrels in!

Yield: 12 medium muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup flour/ 1 cup protein powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 – 4 tbsp granulated sugar (or palm sugar)
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin (or squash)
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line muffin tin with 12 paper cups or lightly spray with non-stick spray.

2. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, spices, granulated sugar and orange zest in a medium-sized bowl. Crumble in the brown sugar and mix with a fork or your fingers until thoroughly blended.

3. Measure the pumpkin into a second  medium-sized bowl. Add the egg, milk and vanilla, and beat with a fork or a whisk until smooth.

4. Slowly pour this mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don’t overmix; a few lumps are OK.

5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups.

6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove pan from oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place on a rack to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving.







One Response to “Healthy Pumpkin Muffins + 7 Uses for Pumpkin and Squash Leftovers”

  1. Miranda October 1st, 2011 at 9:30 AM #

    These are great ideas! I especially love the pancake idea.

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