Pumpkin Spice Oats

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published October 9, 2022

Pumpkin season is here! Add pumpkin and spices to your oats for a nice fall and winter treat that's tastier than your usual dessert AND healthier than your corn flakes. Fiber and iron is abundant in this dish.

Warm Up with these Delicious Pumpkin Spiced Oats

Great oatmeal starts with steel-cut oats, cooked in a little water or milk, and topped with wholesome ingredients. As a breakfast food and mid-meal snack, oatmeal is potentially a better option than the majority of foods available in the market. And it's customizable, like some other green-light favorites.

But filled with the yummy flavors of pumpkin pie, and a sneaky handful of spinach, this dish packs a nutritious punch for any time of day! In addition to beta carotene, pumpkins offer vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate -- all of which strengthen your immune system. More pumpkin in your diet can help your immune cells work better to ward off germs and speed healing when you get a wound.

Why are Oats a Good Main Ingredient for Breakfast?

We get a lot of questions about eating oatmeal, and the specifics of different types, with questions like "are rolled oats good for diabetics", "is flavored oatmeal good for diabetics", "how do instant oatmeal and instant oats affect my health?" and others. 

And fortunately, when it comes to your health, it doesn't matter whether you're talking about the health benefits or your blood sugar control: oats are among the healthiest grains on the planet, so unless you're consuming oatmeal doused in additives, eating oats is great for you!

In addition to being tasty, they're a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber, and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood glucose levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

A bowl of oatmeal a day can improve immunity because it contains selenium and zinc. Oats are also high in phosphorus manganese, minerals that are instrumental to bone, muscle and heart health. Besides making a great breakfast cereal, oats are excellent for baking in cookies, breads, snack bars, and muffins. So is oatmeal ok for diabetics? Absolutely!

Perk Up with Pumpkin

Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, pumpkin is incredibly healthy. What's more, its low calorie content makes it a weight-loss-friendly food. Its nutrients and antioxidants may boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health.

Raw pumpkin has only 15 calories per 1/2 cup, and is full of iron, zinc, and fiber. It's high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, substances that may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration. A much better sweetener than brown sugar, and it works with other fruits too! 

Are Steel-Cut Oats Different than Rolled Oats?

All oats are a whole grain that contain a significant serving of the nutrition and fiber a body needs to keep it running optimally. Going metric by metric, rolled oats and steel-cut oats are almost the same when it comes to nutritional value. 

However, steel-cut oats beat out rolled oats in two areas - fiber content and density. This makes steel-cut oats the best bang for your nutritional buck.

Steel-cut, rolled and quick oats all start out as oat groats. Oat groats intended for human consumption are exposed to heat and moisture to make them more shelf-stable. The oat groats are then processed in different ways to create either steel-cut, rolled or quick oats, all of which have distinct characteristics.

Also known as Irish oatmeal, steel-cut oats are most closely related to the original, unprocessed oat groat. Steel-cut oats have a coarser, chewier texture and nuttier flavor than rolled or quick oats.

Rolled oats, or old-fashioned oats, are oat groats that have gone through a steaming and flattening process. They have a milder flavor and softer texture and take much less time to make than steel-cut oats, as they have been partially cooked.

Buying Tips

Be careful and check labels, because sometimes oats could be processed with other grains that do contain gluten and suffer from cross-contamination. Steel-cut oats also do not naturally contain gluten, which makes them a great option for individuals trying to stick to a gluten free diet.

Make sure to check labels to see if the steel-cut oats you buy have been processed with any other materials, or look for steel-cut oats that are clearly labeled as gluten free oats. Even if you are not gluten free, it helps to have steel-cut outs because they are the best, but obviously most oats without additives are going to be good.

In short, steel-cut oats are a delicious way to meet your body's daily fiber requirements and help keep your body healthy and functioning at its best!

You might be wondering if there is a difference between canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin and pumpkin puree are the same thing. These terms are often used interchangeably in recipes, though you may also see the term solid-pack pumpkin. All these terms mean 100% steamed and pureed pumpkin—no extras, no add-ins—not even in the canned variety.

So what is the difference between canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling? Canned pumpkin is just that and nothing more: cooked, pureed pumpkin. Pumpkin pie filling is flavored with spices like cinnamon, clove, allspice and ginger, and is also sweetened. So make sure to check the label when grabbing the can from the shelf - you don’t want all that extra “junk.”

Pumpkin Spice Oats

Jenny Gormley
Pumpkin season is here! Add pumpkin and spices to your oats for a nice fall and winter treat. Fiber and iron is abundant in this dish.
Servings 1
Calories 437 kcal


  • 1/4 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 small apple diced or grated
  • 1/2 cup blueberries fresh or frozen & thawed
  • 1/4 cup oat milk or your favorite milk alternative
  • 2 cups baby spinach


  • Place the spinach in a serving bowl.
  • In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the oats and reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the fruit and set aside.
  • Once oats are cooked add the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes to heat through.
  • Pour the oat mixture on top of the spinach.
  • Top with blueberries, apple and oat milk. Enjoy.


Instead of baby spinach use raw bok choy, chopped or have a combination of both.


Calories: 437kcalCarbohydrates: 76.5gProtein: 9.8gFat: 5.2gSodium: 112.7mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.