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A Truckload of Family Friendly Pumpkin Recipes

Bargain shoppers and pumpkin patch owners know:  the struggle is real.  When pumpkin is in season, you’ve got dozens of these versatile, nutritious beauties… and no idea what to do with them.  We feel your pain. We’re bona fide pumpkin patch owners…  we’ve seen gorgeous big pumpkins for 11 cents a kilo at the local fruit barn… so we put together fifty pumpkin recipes for families.  Savoury, sweet, fresh and frozen… don’t waste a single piece of pumpkin this season!

Pumpkin recipes for dinner time

Roast pumpking not quite nigella

Roast pumpkin salad with honey and fetta by Not Quite Nigella

This is just the most mouthwatering twist on plain old roasted pumpkin.  It ‘s amazing on its own, or in a salad, or as a side dish for baked chicken.  Get the full recipe here.  I must admit I throw in a few cherry tomatoes with this one – such a match made in heaven!

Kid friendly baked pumpkin gnocchi

Kid friendly pumpkin gnocchi recipe

Image credit: Alan Benson via SBS.com.au

OK so I confess, I have made some super-duper gnocchi fails in my time.  Gnocchi recipes are usually pretty tough but I have found this pumpkin gnocchi to be “doable”.  The trick is to dry everything!  This is a fun recipe to make with kids as it’s very hands on!  Get the recipe here.

Radicchino, pumpkin and tomato salad with chicken

Pumpkin salad recipes

Image credit: Benito Martin, via SBS – see the recipe here.

Bitter, sweet, tangy and nutty!  Stuff a lunch box with plenty of good fresh veggies, a little lean protein and the carb you have when you’re not having carbs – pumpkin!

Got kids with an international palate? These SBS pumpkin recipes are THE BOMB.

Caribbean veggies

Indian orange and pumpkin stir fry

Moroccan veggies

Butternut, apple and kale soup

Kabotcha no nimono (simmered pumpkin)

This is a sweet Japanese dish using the Japanese pumpkin Kabotcha.  It’s best suited to sweeter pumpkin types.  It’s all about “home cookery” and not one of the mainstream tourist dishes but is delightful none the less.  Like all good Japanese food, the sauce is subtle but delish – making it perfect for kids who fear strong flavours!



Creamy pumpkin pasta sauce

Creamy.  Pasta sauce.  This is a super kid-friendly recipe which is very simple and very tasty.  The problem with cooking for kids is that you end up eating bland and boring food.  This is the perfect compromise!  Note that when I make this, the sauce is a lot heavier on the orange than this picture would indicate!Pumpkin pasta sauce recipe

Get the recipe here.

Kids love pasta – so here’s a few pumpkin and pasta recipes we love.  Note that pumpkin and lasagna go together like peas and carrots so there’s quite a few perfect recipes around.  They also use up lots of pumpkin – so that’s a win too!

Healthy pumpkin lasagne

Pumpkin and spinach lasagna

Pumpkin and pine nut fettuccine

pumpkin fettuccini

Easy bacon and pumpkin pasta

Hello Fresh’s pumpkin, pine nut and ricotta pasta

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soup alone doesn’t really do it for me but my mother in law does an awesome pumpkin and tomato soup which takes some of the sweet away and injects a little tangy!  There are a million ways to dress up a boring old pumpkin soup.  This is one that I like but it’s all about your family and their tastes!

Moroccan pumpkin soup recipe

Get the recipe here.

Pumpkin in the lunch box

Pumpkin is perfect for muffins and other lunch box treats for kids… it’s also the ideal lunch box stuffer for parents at work.  Pumpkin livens up just about every salad and adds that “carb feeling” without the carbs.  It’s a big favourite for healthy living families.  Here’s a few recipes for the lunch box – at school or at work.  Best of all a lot of these can be made from spices and ingredients already in your pantry so it’s the perfect cheapy way to fill the lunchboxes!

Roast pumpkin hommus

OMG. So unbelievably good.  Veggie Mama’s hommus recipe is actually an awesome lunch box idea.  I send my boy with a pot of this good stuff and rice crackers for dipping.  He calls it “orange dip” and fell in love with the recipe after his daycare centre introduced it for morning tea.

roast pumpkin hommus recipe

Get the recipe at Veggie Mama

Freezer friendly pumpkin muffins

You had me at freezer friendly right? This aren’t strictly healthy lunch box treats but they are most definitely kid friendly.  They may even be gone before they hit the lunch box.  The recipe (found here) says to use a can of pumpkin puree – which is a big thing in the US.  For fresh, oven bake your pumpkin and blend it – one can is 425 grams.  Best of all lots of these can be made from nothing but pumpkin and the spices and ingredients already in your pantry.

PUmpkin muffins

Slightly healthier pumpkin muffin recipe for lunchboxes!

Again, freezable – this one is all about the oats and maple sweetening.  I’ve tried this one and loved it, the kids ate them but they scoffed the one above.  Get the recipe here.

lunchbox ideas - healthy muffins

Pumpkin Scones

There are approximately a billion pumpkin scone recipes in this world but I love The Organised Housewife’s Lemonade Scone Recipe (and she’s a Gold Coast local too).  If you’re making school lunches, it may as well be easy right?  Get the recipe here.

PUmpkin scones by the organised housewife

Oh and don’t forget that pumpkin seeds make a great lunchbox filler too!

Pumpkin for dessert (yes, it’s a thing!)

Because pumpkin is so sweet naturally, it’s the perfect ingredient in “veggie smuggled” dessert items.  Pumpkin treats are all the rage in Asia and Japan in particular has mastered the pumpkin dessert.  Here’s some of our picks for kid friendly pumpkin recipes.

Baked pumpkin custard

Lordy I love SBS’s recipes. This is another winner for families – it’s really quick and simple to make and if you’re making it for kids, I recommend adding either a dash of maple syrup or some brown sugar.  I also make it with butternut pumpkins and it’s delish!  Get the full recipe here.

Baked Pumpkin Custard

Image credit: China Squirrel via SBS

Japanese pumpkin cake

Japanese pumpkin cake recipe

This sweet, sticky, dense cake can be made from pumpkin or sweet potato.  It’s moist, sticky and yummo! It’s often served in Japanese sushi restaurants in “sushi sized pieces” as it is quite sweet and rich.  I like to cut the flour quantities and combine the mix with sweet potato for a stickier texture.




Pumpkin cheesecake recipe (I’m not even kidding)

Is there anything that pumpkin can’t do?  This i the Joy Of Baking version.  I haven’t tried it but I can’t argue with this woman’s haircut.

Pumpkin pie – again, make your own puree – what is it with the US and canned veggies?

Pumpkin ice-cream

Pumpkin for special diets

Pumpkin is jam packed with vitamins which makes it the perfect choice for people with dietary limitations. We’ve found (and tried) some amazing recipes for using up that pumpkin in the most delicious ways!

Vegan pumpkin ice-cream

Yes, vegans rejoice, pumpkin’s creamy texture and sweet taste makes it the perfect dessert ingredient for vegans and those with dairy intolerance.  I make this for my vegan sister so it’s my own recipe!

Three scoops of pumpkin ice cream with raspberries and chocolate curls

This vegan pumpkin ice-cream recipe is THE BOMB.

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked or blanched
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup baked pumpkin puree
  • 1.5 cups heavy brown sugar
  • .5 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 2 vanilla pods
  • .5 tsp cinnamon
  • .5 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • OPTIONAL: one shot of vodka (this helps with setting the ice-cream nicely but also makes for a nice grown up dessert!)


Blend well soaked and drained cashews into a paste

  • TIP:  Drain well or you’ll have icicles through your ice-cream!
  • Add all other ingredients and blend well.
  • Place in metal bowl in freezer for one hour
  • Stir well
  • Return to freezer for three hours
  • Beat ice-cream with electric mixer
  • Place in freezer-safe container
  • Freeze overnight
  • Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving to allow to soften
  • Serve with fresh fruit, carob or vegan dark chocolate curls

Dairy free pumpkin truffles

Holy moly – a “not too unhealthy” truffle recipe.  Stop it.  Ok so it’s not actually healthy but it’s a delight and it’s pretty simple.  Get the full recipe here.

Pumpkin puree for healthy baby tummies

Boiled pumpkin pureed is perfect for babies with constipation as it’s jam packed with water and fibre.  It’s not just for babies either, the rest of the family can benefit too…including dogs.  A little pumpkin puree can help dogs get their digestion back on track.

vegan pumpkin recipes - chocolate truffles

Gluten free pumpkin recipes

We’re a family who embraces gluten and all its deliciousness.  I can’t vouch for any gluten free pumpkin recipes personally but my gluten free friends have whole heatedly recommended this list for tastiness!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Recipes

These get some rave reviews

4 ingredient gluten free pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin peanut butter cups (lordy)

chocolate peanut butter cups with pumpkin

Vegan and gluten free pumpkin pie

Gluten free pumpkin and cranberry bread

Pumpkin and peanut butter pancakes

Pumpkin and leak pastries


Pumpkin and diabetes

Sadly pumpkin’s natural sweetness makes it high on the GI index (GI75) but it’s very low carb content gives it a very low glycemic load (GL3).  Of course, your doctor must advise you before you make changes to your diet and you should monitor your sugar levels carefully but we’ve found a few recipes endorsed by reputable diabetic communities.

Diabetes friendly pumpkin soup

Diabetic pumpkin soup recipeIngredients:

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
32 ounces reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
425 grams pureed pumpkin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Pumpkin quiche for diabetics

Pumpkin Quiche Recipe for DiabeticsQuiche Filling
1 cup 1% milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup pureed pumpkin


Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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