Delicious pumpkin recipes to try at home

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Beyond Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Lattes, there is a plethora of pumpkin products available in the market. Here are some tasty ideas to make some pumpkin goodies at home. (KABC)

Burgers, beverages, even holiday Peeps - there is no shortage of pumpkin or pumpkin spice flavored products.

But dietitian LeeAnn Weintraub says not all products may contain the real thing.

"A lot of these packaged snack foods that are pumpkin and pumpkin spiced flavors might not even contain pumpkin," Weintraub said.

Weintraub says real pumpkin is high in nutrients and fiber with only 50 calories a cup, but you should always read labels carefully to get the real deal.

Trader Joe's offers 58 different pumpkin and pumpkin spice items from baking mixes to tortilla chips. Other food manufactures are putting pumpkin in beer, tea, stevia and more.

Designed to signal fall, warmth and comfort, Starbucks has been serving its Pumpkin Spice Lattes for 11 years and has sold over 200 million of them. You will pay a little bit more than a regular latte. If you want a healthy one, Weintraub gives this tip.

"I would definitely ask for fewer squirts of the flavoring or the sweetener, maybe one squirt," Weintraub advised. "You can always ask for reduced or low fat, nonfat milk."

Order the tall and skip the whipped cream for 200 calories, as the signature grande with whipped cream is normally 380 calories.

Chef Jeffrey Jimenez of Le Cordon Bleu suggests making pumpkin favorites at home. From pesto to popcorn, the pumpkin possibilities are endless.

"It's all smothered and covered with the brown butter and the sage and adds another layer of flavor into to that," Jimenez described his pasta made from scratch.

He likes pumpkin gnocchi with browned butter or his pumpkin seed pesto, which is a mixture of blended toasted pepitas, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.

If you are more into pumpkin spice than the pumpkin itself, try mixing these four together.

"Cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger and nutmeg," Jimenez said.

You can easily sprinkle these on your favorite holiday foods, but Jimenez reminds us that a little bit of fat or sweet like agave or honey can carry that spicy goodness into your favorite foods.

Recipes: Chef Jeffrey Jimenez - Le Cordon Bleu

Pumpkin Spice

1 cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. ground nutmeg
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. ground allspice

Method of preparation:
1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Store in air-tight container.

Pumpkin Spice Popcorn

Makes 2 quarts

2 tbsp. oil (coconut, peanut or canola)
1 cup popcorn kernels
1 tbsp. melted butter (optional)
Salt, as needed

Method of preparation:
1. Heat oil in medium sized saucepan at medium to medium high heat, bringing close to smoke point.
2. Add popcorn kernels to pan. Then, place lid on pan and remove from heat.
3. Shake pan as kernels begin to pop with lid slightly ajar.
4. Place pan on heat if unpopped kernels remain until all kernels are popped.
5. Add one tablespoon of pumpkin spice to melted butter and drizzle over popcorn, or add melted marshmallows to the mixture and coat the popcorn. Serve and enjoy!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Makes 2 cups

2 cups unsalted pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 oz. Parmesan cheese
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
Lemon juice, as desired
4-6 oz. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method of preparation:
1. Toast pumpkin seeds on a dry pan until slightly brown.
2. Mix pumpkin seeds, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, parsley, cilantro and lemon juice in a blender.
3. Pulse mixture until incorporated and drizzle in olive oil until mixture is a smooth paste.
4. Season with salt and pepper, then serve atop toasted bread, pasta, steak or chicken. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Makes 2 pounds

8 oz. pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin
1 whole egg
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 oz. ricotta cheese
All-purpose flour, as need
1 tbsp. pumpkin spice
1 oz. butter
2-3 sage leaves

Method of preparation for roasted pumpkin:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cut pumpkin into quarters and remove seeds.
3. Brush with oil or melted butter.
4. Roast in oven until tender when poked with a fork.
5. Pass through food mill.

Method of preparation for gnocchi:
1. Combine roasted or pureed pumpkin, egg, butter and cheese in a mixing bowl.
2. Add flour until incorporated and dough has formed.
3. Let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out dough until it is 1/2-inch thick.
5. Break dough into small pieces and boil in salted water until cooked.
6. Sautee pasta in brown butter, sage and pumpkin spice. Enjoy!
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