Craving some cozy, pumpkin flavors or looking for a healthy dessert to grace your holiday table? Then you'll love this easy Greek yogurt pumpkin parfait! A tiny bit of creamy Mascarpone creates an indulgent, velvety texture in this gluten-free dessert, while a topping of dark chocolate chips and nuts add crunch!
Yogurt seems to have been a consistent part of my childhood. Mom managed to regularly pull together a fresh homemade batch for baking a cake, making yogurt parfaits topped with fruit and drizzled with honey or for all sorts of savory applications including marinades and yogurt sauces similar to Tzatziki.
Now as an adult, I've found more ways to experiment with the yogurt dishes of my youth. During the cool fall days, when those pumpkin pie cravings hit, use yogurt to make this simple pumpkin parfait. And trust me, it satisfies all the holiday dessert cravings and then some!
Pumpkin parfaits are a beautiful, luxurious and easy-to-make dessert. Like my red wine poached pears or easy baked apples, they work for casual moments when you're craving something sweet or can be dressed up for when you want a healthy dessert to serve at the end of a holiday dinner. That's a win in my book!
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Healthy dessert for the win!
As amazing as pumpkin pie can be, there are ways to enjoy the same flavors without having to bake one!
This Greek yogurt pumpkin parfait is a healthier dessert option, gluten-free and a great way to incorporate nutrition-rich pumpkin puree into your diet. According to the Mayo Clinic pumpkin is high in fiber, beta-carotene, and potassium. So grab a spoon and dig into this dessert — it really is both healthy and delicious.
Although this pumpkin pie parfait recipe is intended to be enjoyed as a healthy dessert, it's also great to serve as part of a special holiday brunch. You can make it up to one day in advance, which makes it perfect for entertaining (more on this later).
Easy pumpkin parfait with pumpkin pie vibes!
It only takes about 5 minutes to whip up this light and luscious gluten-free dessert. Serve it right away or keep it in the fridge until you and your guests are ready to enjoy. What's in a pumpkin parfait that makes it tastes so good?
The star ingredients are:
- Organic pumpkin puree. I used a 15-ounce can of store-bought pumpkin puree.
- Greek yogurt.
- Mascarpone (sweet cream cheese) to add a little richness and a velvety texture to your parfait, which also tames the tang of the Greek yogurt.
- A little cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg to flavor the pumpkin parfait, for all the pumpkin pie vibes!
- A touch of brown sugar for sweetness.
The topping options for this easy parfait recipe are endless. You can use homemade granola, layers of chocolate, caramel, or maple syrup but I kept it simple with nuts and chocolate bits! Here is what I used:
- Honey or molasses — a little drizzle for additional natural sweetness. Do not use blackstrap molasses; the flavor will be too strong.
- Chopped nuts — hazelnut, walnuts, or pecans pair well with pumpkin.
- Chocolate chips! Just a handful of dark semi-sweet chocolate chips.
How to make pumpkin parfait
- Add the pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, Mascarpone, vanilla extract, spices, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
- Blend using an electric mixer on low speed (or whisk with a hand mixer) until everything is combined and smooth.
- Divide the pumpkin parfait mixture in small cups or mason jars.
- Refrigerate or serve immediately (Refrigerating for at least 30 minutes allows the pumpkin parfaits to thicken).
- Garnish with a drizzle of honey or molasses, nuts, and chocolate chips.
Can you make this pumpkin parfait ahead of time?
You can make this pumpkin parfait one night in advance. Hold the chocolate chips and nuts until you are ready to serve. Store the pumpkin parfait in the fridge in one container with a tight lid or, for easy serving, divide it into portions in small mason jars.
When ready to serve, stir the parfait and top with a drizzle of molasses (or date syrup), chocolate chips and hazelnuts or walnut hearts. Enjoy!
More fall desserts to try
5-Minute Pumpkin Parfait
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree, or scant 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
- 1 ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 3-4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons honey or molasses, more for garnish
- Chocolate chips for garnish
- Chopped hazelnuts or walnuts for garnish
- Place the pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt and the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips and nuts, in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand electric mixer or a whisk, mix together until you reach a smooth consistency.
- Give it a taste and adjust flavor to your liking (add a bit of molasses or brown sugar to sweeten some more, for example. Or adjust the spices if you want more cinnamon or nutmeg.) Mix again to combine.
- Transfer the pumpkin-yogurt mixture to small (3-ounce) serving goblets or small mason jars. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
- When ready to serve, top each with a drizzle of molasses, chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts or walnuts. Enjoy!
- Prepare-ahead tip: You can prepare this pumpkin parfait one night in advance. Refrigerate in a tightly closed container or individual mason jars (hold the chocolate chips and nuts for later). When ready to serve, stir the yogurt mixture and transfer it into the serving goblets or mini jars and follow step 3.
- To serve a larger crowd: Simply double the recipe to feed 12 or more (small 3-ounce goblets or mason jars.)
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*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in November 2015 and has been recently updated with new information for readers' benefit.