Tis' the season for pumpkin, as we've just entered October and grocery stores are already getting ready for Halloween at the end of the month. And, no halloween is complete with a pumpkin, of course.

But, even after the spooky tradition ends, pumpkin season will stay strong. As it's colorful, packed with nutrients, and easy to use in slimmed-down, comforting recipes, pumpkin is a no brainer when it comes to fall cooking staples.

Here are 6 ways to use pumpkin puree in your kitchen. Plus, the recipes are simple to whip up and repurpose for further use, so it's the perfect time-saver for any busy, weeknight meal or for lightened up dessert.

As a Cream Sauce

You don't need a pumpkin spice latte when you can sip on soup instead. The best thing about a cream sauce? It's incredibly versatile, meaning it can be used as a dip or spread for toast, mixed in pasta dishes, as a base for soups, and even atop meats to add a rich, smooth texture.

And, when you're using pumpkin, you're not only getting that velvety consistency, but you're also getting a dose of antioxidants, like carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, and vitamin A, to improve brain, skin, and eye health.

Get the recipe: Vegan Pumpkin Cream Sauce

In Waffles

There's nothing like waking up on a lazy Sunday morning to a plate full of pumpkin spiced waffles. Perfect for the fall season, the pumpkin is earthy and warming to the body, and it blends nicely with some brown sugar on top.

But don't be mislead, these are still quite healthy, as the recipe calls for coconut oil and pecans as a topper, so you're getting a hearty dose of heart-healthy fats and satiating protein in each bite.

And, if you're looking for something for a quick, weeknight breakfast, you can prepare pumpkin overnight oats, so you'll wake up with a homemade meal ready and waiting.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Spice Waffles

As a Healthier Cookie

Thinking of whipping up a classic batch of chocolate chip cookies, but worried about packing on the pounds? Add some pumpkin to your mix for a filling, nutrient-dense, and lighter recipe that still tastes great.

And, thanks to additional fall spices and flavors, like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger, these cookies are both sweet and savory, hitting all those taste buds.

Plus, they only take 20 minutes to bake, so you won't have to wait too long to indulge!

Get the recipe: Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a Soup

Needing something warm on a cool, crisp fall evening? It's time to heat up a hearty bowl of soup. And, there's no better way to get that thick, comforting consistency that really sticks to your bones than through a rich, coconut curry made with pumpkin and spices to tie it all together.

Pumpkin and coconut taste great together, and the spices, such as ginger, turmeric, onion, cinnamon, and black pepper add some pizazz and flavor. What's more, to kick the heat up a notch, you can even add a dash of cayenne pepper.

For a more filling, complete meal, use the soup as a topper for grains or beans, like chickpeas or brown rice. And, if you're loving the curry taste, try this yellow veggie curry recipe, for another night.

Get the recipe: Chickpea Pumpkin Coconut Curry

As an Oat Bar

Oat bars are definitely a diet staple: Accessible for on the go noshing, a quick pre-workout snack, a late night indulgence that's not too sugary or rich, or a mid-day bite to avoid the afternoon slump, the list can go on and on. (And, here are a few easy snack ideas.)

And, when you add pumpkin and chocolate chips for extra sweetness and flavor, it makes the bar that much better. Plus, it's still healthy, as dark chocolate provides antioxidants and pumpkin is high in carotenoids and vitamin A, as well.

Here, each bar clocks in at a mere 128 calories (perfect caloric amount for a snack), and it's even vegan and gluten-free.

Get the recipe: Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

In a Chia Pudding

A quick, instant breakfast on a busy morning is the classic chia pudding, especially when you can make it the night before. And, you'll wake up with that healthy punch of protein and good fats, such as omega 3's, to power your brain.

And, by adding pumpkin, you're thickening the texture even further, so it's super filling and creamy. Plus, pumpkin is on the sweet side, so it'll work well with the more neutral-flavored chia seeds and added spices.

For a more fruit-forward parfait idea, try this chia seed mango recipe.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Pie Parfait

About the Author

Isadora Baum

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, author, and certified health coach. She writes for various magazines, such as Bustle, SHAPE, Men's Health, Women's Health, Health, Prevention, POPSUGAR, Runner's World, Reader's Digest, and more. She is also the author of 5-Minute Energy with Simon & Schuster. She can't resist a good sample, a killer margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. Beyond magazines, she helps grow businesses through blogging and content marketing strategy. To read her work or inquire, please visit her website: isadorabaum.com.