Halloween may be over, but pumpkin season is still in full swing! I love cooking with nutritious pumpkin, which works well in breads, pies, muffins, and hearty stews. One of my easiest—and most unexpected—pumpkin recipes is this quick and tasty cream cheese spread made with pumpkin puree that can be shared with kids as young as 10-months-old.
It may seem a little daunting to make your own pumpkin puree, but it’s actually super simple. You ready? It goes like this: peel and cut the pumpkin flesh into 1” cubes, toss cubes with just a tiny bit of oil and roast them in a 400 degree oven until soft throughout, and puree the cooled, roasted vegetable in your Baby Bullet. It’s as simple as that. The same stuff that comes in a can made from scratch with fresh vegetables.
This pumpkin cream cheese spread turns an ordinary bagel—a kid favorite that, sadly, has little nutritional value—into a treat with an unexpected dose of veggie. And at breakfast time, too! It can also be spread on pancake and waffles, between crackers for a snack, on toast topped with apples for dessert… the possibilities are endless.
Once you have a handle on cooking pumpkin, there are tons of other ways to use it like in these delicious mini muffins that make a great early finger food. (Just substitute pumpkin puree for sweet potato puree and you’re in business.)
Let us know: What other interesting ways do you use pumpkin and other veggie purees?
Pumpkin Walnut Cream Cheese
Recipe by Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, no added flavor (you can substitute sweet potato puree)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts* (optional)
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly mixed and cream cheese is smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
*Note: There is a lot of disagreement about when it’s safest to introduce tree nuts. Guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics say that there is no known health benefit to holding off on the introduction of nuts beyond 6-months-old. Some pediatricians believe that it is okay to carefully introduce nuts to children without food allergies or a family history of food allergies at that young age, while others encourage parents to wait until 24 or 36 months. Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child. Though the walnuts give this spread a great nutritional boost, it is healthy and just as tasty without them.