Pumpkin Inspired Cooking

Happy Fall everyone!

My name is Shaquala and I am a senior at USC, and for my Public Health Capstone Seminar project I will be working with Columbia’s Cooking this semester.

As cliché as it sounds, Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. I love it not only for leaves changing color, crisp air, Autumn scented candles – or having a birthday in October –  but because of all of the pumpkin-inspired recipes. Whether sweet, savory or spicy the foods of fall, especially those of the pumpkin variety are, in my opinion, some of the best parts about Fall.

When looking for the not so typical pumpkin recipes to add to my collection, I found Pinterest to be quite helpful in providing a variety of ideas. From baked goods, to dips, soups and sandwiches, there were enough pumpkin and pumpkin-spice recipes to keep the most avid pumpkin aficionado content for seasons to come. Not to mention pumpkin contains so many health benefits –  more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.  Not to be outdone by carrots and other fibrous veggies, pumpkins also contain Beta carotene, which when converted from vitamin A, is a powerful antioxidant thought to play a role protecting cells, boosting the immune system.

If you have pumpkin fever as much as I do, you’ll love this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. I regularly eat oatmeal every morning for breakfast, but after awhile cinnamon and maple brown sugar tends to get boring. I am sharing a flavorful twist on a classic breakfast item where I’ve combined two of my favorite online recipes for the best pumpkin oatmeal. It’s simple yet slightly indulgent and sure to be a recipe to add to your list of favorites.

And if you feel like doing something extra, try garnishing the oatmeal with chopped nuts, dried cranberries or coconut – although I highly recommend the optional pumpkin cream topping recipe below.


Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Serves: 2



  • 1 cup rolled oats (or steel cut, if you prefer)
  • ¾ cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin)
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • maple syrup (to taste)
  • ¼ cup apple sauce

Pumpkin Cream:

  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree (or canned pumpkin)
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste)



In a medium sized pot mix together oats, milk and salt – add more milk or oats to achieve the desired consistency, bring to a boil and cover with lid. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender.


When oats are cooked, remove lid and fold in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, applesauce and cinnamon sugar. Continue simmering on very low heat to make sure everything melts together.


Heat through, and serve.


*For the Pumpkin Cream Sauce:

In a blender, combine pumpkin puree, soy milk, coconut oil and pumpkin pie spice.


**To serve, scoop the oats in a bowl and carve a little doughnut hole in center. Pour a nice puddle of the pumpkin cream in the hole. Add a spoonful of pumpkin cream and garnish as you like!


Well wishes,

Shaquala and the Columbia’s Cooking Team


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