Top Thanksgiving Recipes, Lightened Up: Paula’s Pumpkin Cheesecake

by in Healthy Tips, Meal Makeovers, November 15, 2010

pumpkin cheesecake

We’re lightening up some of’s top Thanksgiving recipes. First up: Paula’s Pumpkin Cheesecake.  This rich dessert is sweet, seasonal and delicious, but it comes with a high fat and calorie toll. But with a few ingredient swaps, you can cut the fat and calories without compromising flavor.  Here’s how we slim it down.

The Crust
Graham crackers, cinnamon, a touch of light brown sugar and butter make up this phenomenal crust. If you want to cut down on a few calories and saturated fat, scale down the butter. Try using 3/4 of a stick instead of a whole one.

The Filling
The best way to skim down the filling is to switch to lower-fat dairy. But if you’re eyeing the sour cream, you’ll only cut about 5 calories and 0.5 gram of fat by switching to reduced fat. Also, while going completely non- or low-fat on both those ingredients will cut down on many calories, it will  also compromise the consistency of the filling. Instead, I recommend replacing one-third of the regular cream cheese with low-fat or Neufchatel cheese. This significant swap will cut out about 200 calories and 22 grams of fat per serving, and  you’ll hardly taste the difference!

TELL US: How do you slim down Thanksgiving favorites?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (12)

  1. Anna says:

    It would look good if didn't have spots that look like mold

    • Lisa says:

      I don't think its mold. It looks like a clump of the dark spices(cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) used in the recipe that didn't get incorporated enough.

    • Guest says:

      I completely agree! The crust on that side is GREEN along with the GREEN spots on the filling. Ick!

    • berged says:

      Being a frequent cheesecake baker, I often have flecks of crust that may get into my food processor. The result of my dual use of the food processor may yield a similar appearance, although I agree for a recipe photo it's not flawless.

  2. SusieBeeonMaui says:

    I did a lightened up version of pumpkin cheesecake parfaits that turned out fantastic:

  3. Jamie says:

    I agree with Anna – this cheesecake looks like it has mold in it. If its just the photograph, take a new.

  4. Sarah says:

    The flecks of brown are probably graham cracker or bits of seasoning. At least it looks real and not completely perfect. Perfect food in pictures is usually not real.

    • I love cheesecake says:

      Except it's GREEN! The crust is green on that side along with the green spots! Yes it looks real… really moldy!

      I'm sure it would be delicious if not moldy.

      (Notice the other side has a brown crust and no spots on the side…)

  5. Angela says:

    I made this cheesecake just the other day. It came out great. I think I should have just cooked it for 15 more minutes. I would for sure make it again. :)

  6. Merri says:

    Well darn….I have Paula's cheesecake in the oven now! Wish I had seen this before I made it!

  7. Mike says:

    I make a pumpkin cheesecake with a lot of cinnamon and other spices. I first incorporate them into the pumpkin puree, and then I incorporate the spiced puree with the cream cheese batter. I think it works better that way.

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