Pumpkin isn't just for pies anymore. There are so many ways to be creative with fall’s favorite ingredient—Averie Sunshine, author of Cooking with Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie (Countryman Press, Oct.), offers five tasty alternative ideas.

1. Smoothies, shakes, and coffee drinks. With pumpkin spiced lattes popping up everywhere from major coffee chains to gas station coffee machines, it seems everyone is on board with pumpkin in their coffee. In Cooking With Pumpkin, I share my secret recipe for a killer at-home Pumpkin Spice Latte (recipe below). Pumpkin is great blended with yogurt, ice cream, or even bananas for a creamy smoothie or shake. Since it's naturally thick, you're guaranteed to have a thick, rich, and indulgent smoothie. You can also freeze extra or leftover pumpkin puree in ice cube trays and just toss a few of your pumpkin 'ice cubes' into the blender with your next smoothie. Much smarter than using actual ice cubes which water things down.

2. Go savory. Many people think pumpkin is only suited for making desserts and breakfasty things like cakes, breads, and muffins, but you can use it as a soup base much like you'd use butternut squash. I adore Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Coconut Milk Soup or use it in Cheesy Baked Mac 'n' Cheese. It works well as a sauce in many pasta dishes or keep things extra healthy and make Maple Pumpkin Broiled Tofu.

3. Veganize. Much like bananas are secret weapons in vegan baking because they can easily mimic eggs to bind ingredients, pumpkin puree does the same thing. One of my favorite pumpkin quickbread recipes is accidentally vegan. You'll never miss the eggs or butter! I've made the recipe as muffins, cakes, and as loaves of pumpkin bread. By adding chocolate chips, a streusel topping, or an easy yet flavorful glaze, you can dramatically change how a recipe tastes, but the base remains the same. Some of my favorites are Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Brown Sugar Streusel and Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins.

4. Get Dipping. Pumpkin works in both sweet dips, like Fluffy Creamy Pumpkin Pie Dip, that tastes like you're eating pumpkin pie filling, and savory dips and spreads like Pumpkin Chipotle Hummus (a perfect appetizer). Dips are perfect for that half-used can of pumpkin puree—they’re forgiving, so if you have a half can (or less) of pumpkin puree, you can adjust and ballpark most dip recipe as necessary. Now you know what to do with your half-opened can of pumpkin puree.

5. Pair it with chocolate. Maybe I feel this way because everything definitely tastes better with some chocolate chips tossed in or a fudgy layer of chocolate frosting on top, but the flavor pairing of chocolate and pumpkin is excellent. My Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache is a personal and blog reader favorite, and do not miss the Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies with Fudgy Ganache. Talk about satisfying your chocolate cravings with those.

Averie Sunshine began blogging at www.averiecooks.com in 2009 as a way to share her recipes. She has been named one of the Ten Best Food Bloggers by The Huffington Post. Her work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart's Martha's Circle blog, Today, Glamour, InStyle magazine and more. Her first cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort, was released June 2013.

Pumpkin-Spice Latte

I have a recipe for pumpkin spice lattes on my website, and every year from August to December it’s one of the most popular recipes on my site. With this recipe, there’s no need to wait around for seasonally available, high-priced coffeeshop pumpkin spice lattes. You can make them at home for a fraction of the cost.

Although technically lattes are made from steamed milk and espresso shots in roughly a 4:1 ratio, fear not if you don’t have an espresso machine or milk steamer. This version uses strong coffee and warmed milk.

The recipe is gluten-free, can easily be kept vegan, and is made with natural ingredients rather than artificially flavored syrups. Because of this, trace amounts of undissolved spices may settle at the bottom of your mug.

Time: 5 minutes

Makes 1 large latte

About ½ cup half-and-half or milk (almond, rice, soy, or cow’s milk), warmed

3 to 4 tablespoons pumpkin syrup (page 120)

1 + tablespoon liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup, honey), optional

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup+ freshly brewed strong coffee

Whipped topping for garnishing, optional

Pinch pumpkin pie spice for garnishing, optional

Pour milk into a large microwave-safe glass measuring cup and heat until warmed, but not boiling, about 45 seconds.

Whisk in the pumpkin syrup, sweetener, if using, to taste, and vanilla.

Pour coffee into a mug. Top with the milky mixture. Stir to combine.

If desired, garnish with whipped topping and pumpkin pie spice. Serve immediately.