Pumpkin Nuggets

Like most of my parent friends, I’m always trying to get my kids to eat more vegetables.  Yes, I even bought that Jessica Seinfeld (why do I always want to say Jessica Simpson?) book, Deceptively Delicious, and I found some good recipes.  BUT, the whole premise of that book, and of many of these types of books, is hiding the vegetables.  Brownies with spinach in them!  The kids’ll never know!

But what good is that going to do me?  So, my kids learn to love brownies with spinach hidden in them, but then never learn to love spinach itself.  I want recipes that my kids will love, but also ones that don’t disguise the veggies.  I want the kids to realize they love swiss chard and zucchini and turnips.  (OK, maybe not turnips, cause even I think those taste funky.)  I want them to know they are eating vegetables, and to love it.

Meanwhile, I was reading this nutrition book called Superfoods Rx, by Steven Pratt.  The premise is essentially that there are 14 foods that are super healthy and nutrient dense, and you should try to eat them as often as possible.  One of these is pumpkin. Fabulous!  But how on earth do I get my kids to eat pumpkin?  I’m not going to roast a whole pumpkin all the time, so my only option then is canned pumpkin.  I wasn’t sure that setting them down with a can and a spoon was going to do the trick.

So I created Pumpkin Nuggets, affectionately known in our house as Pumpkin Piles.  It’s a simple way to get a different vegetable in your kids, and they are actually tasting pumpkin and, well, liking it.

They love 'em!!!

Pumpkin Nuggets

makes approx. 20 nuggets

  • vegetable oil spray for baking sheet
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 small sweet apple, such as Gala, finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp oat bran
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal

Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a baking sheet with vegetable spray.  Combine the pumpkin, apple, egg, brown sugar, spice and salt in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients: flour, oat bran, and flaxseed meal.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the nuggets are cooked through.

"wet" ingredients

I find that adding the apple keeps the nuggets kind of moist while adding a healthy kind of sweetness.

adding dry ingredients

I’m a huge fan of flaxseed meal and oat bran in many of my recipes that call for flour.  In things like cookies, banana bread, etc., I’ll often substitute a small part of the flour with flaxseed meal and oat bran for added omega 3s and fiber.  Make sure you only use flaxseed MEAL, which is ground flaxseeds, because our bodies can’t really digest whole flaxseeds.

dropping onto the baking sheet

baked nuggets

Yummy, moist, healthy, and child-friendly!



Leave a Comment

  • November 22, 2009, 9:32 pm Erika

    These look great. I agree, I don’t think hiding the veggie is what we should be striving for. Are these mostly for snacking, side dish, or main course?

  • November 22, 2009, 9:34 pm bethpc

    You know, I usually serve them as a side dish, as one of the veggies in a meal. But when I made them today, the kids were so excited they insisted on having them for snack. They are pretty mushy… you could probably use them as an early food for kids starting on solids! :-)

  • November 23, 2009, 6:22 am Peyton

    Ahhhh, Beth. Bethie Beth Beth. My dear Bethina. Why is it that you can so effortlessly turn something out (like a blog, or pumpkin thingies) and I can’t find time to go grocery shopping, much less blog or bake?! You kill me, but also inspire me. You really are remarkably domestic!

  • November 23, 2009, 11:58 am Becky

    You know, I bought that Jessica (Simpson) Seinfeld book too, and I had the same thought. How is this expanding our children’s palate? I guess if you are just desperate to get some veggies in them, it is good for that though. But these look amazing. And the adorable pic of the boys totally sells ‘em!

  • November 23, 2009, 4:51 pm Michele

    Popped over from Becky’s place.

    Pumpkin? Try pancakes. Sweet and savory all at once without all the texture issues that pumpkin pie has.

    • November 23, 2009, 8:37 pm bethpc

      Thanks for stopping in! Pumpkin pancakes– delicious and a great idea. A perfect way to get a veggie in at breakfast, which seems kinda necessary if you are going to get 4 servings in a day. I’m about to post another idea for veggies for breakfast!

  • December 19, 2009, 9:52 am Callie LaDay

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