Pumpkins are one of my favorite winter squash varieties. They are one of the few vegetables that are versatile enough to be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They are equally good in whole wheat pumpkin pancakes with pecans and real maple syrup for breakfast or roasted pumpkin soup with fresh lime and spicy curry powder for dinner. In addition, the delicious and nutrient dense seeds can quickly be roasted and tossed with seasonings for a healthy snack option.
Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A and fiber, and they are low in calories and fat. The puree works well for baking, adding moisture to recipes so you can use less of high-fat ingredients like butter, egg yolks and oil, and still get a product that tastes like the full fat version. Pumpkin seeds are higher in calories than the puree, but they also contain a lot of manganese, iron, magnesium and essential fatty acids — all important nutrients for many bodily functions.
Fresh pumpkin definitely has a different flavor than the canned version. This year, I challenge you to go beyond picking pumpkins in the farm field only to make jack-o’-lanterns. Wash a fresh pumpkin, slice it in half and remove the seeds. Place halved side down on a baking dish with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until soft. Voila! Freshly roasted pumpkin you can use in a variety of healthy recipes.
Consider enjoying some of these new and creative pumpkin recipe ideas:
- Southwestern pumpkin burgers
- Pumpkin dip
- Sausage and pumpkin pasta
- Pumpkin ravioli
- Pumpkin oatmeal
- “Vegged out” pumpkin and black bean soup
Post a comment and share your favorite!
~ Emily Dix, RD, CD, CNSC, clinical dietician specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin