Fresh or canned, pumpkin's really healthy stuff. In the kitchen, treat pumpkin as you would any winter squash. Try it in healthy soups, stews, chili -- even pancakes. Here are 5 reasons to eat more pumpkin this fall.
That vibrant orange color tells us something about pumpkin's health properties. Yes, it's an excellent source of beta carotene, the powerful antioxidant. Our bodies translate beta carotene into Vitamin A, which is thought to protect us from certain cancers and other diseases, too. Vitamin A is also key for keeping your eyesight keen. Pumpkin has almost 20% of your RDA of Vitamin C. Here are some delicious pumpkin snacks to try:
This creamy and delicious dip is a terrific recipe for the fall served with sliced apples, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers. "This was fabulous," says mohawkblonde! Tasted even better after being refrigerated overnight. We served it with graham crackers and ginger snaps also."
"Sooo good!" says BOND 007. "You can either make it from scratch or you can simply add the pumpkin puree and spices to a pre-made container of hummus. I have played around with it in different recipes, but it makes such a good dip for either soft pita or chips. It is savory and warm tasting and I heartily recommend everyone try it! Be sure to use pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling."
We know bananas are full of energy boosting potassium, but pumpkins are also a great source. One cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin will give you 564mg of potassium which is actually more than you'll get from a regular-sized banana. These breakfast treats with pumpkin are delicious and sustaining.
Ginger, cinnamon and allspice make these pumpkin pancakes the perfect fall breakfast. "These are good any season but taste best on cold winter mornings," says Ruth. "You can use canned or cooked fresh pumpkin."
This super-quick pumpkin oatmeal recipe is ready in 10 minutes. Just mix together oats and milk and microwave, stirring in pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon sugar at the end. "Pumpkin lover's heaven, and healthy, too," says RAHVELLE.
"The goodness of whole wheat flour and pumpkin sweetened with honey," says Colleen Moir. "Plump raisins and chopped walnuts add to the wholesome goodness of these muffins. Good for breakfast, brunch or snack!"
Pumpkin puree, oats, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spices combine in this simple treat. "Quick and easy pumpkin bars for a healthy snack or breakfast," says Portland Girl.
Pumpkin is a good source of fiber, especially pumpkin seeds/pepitas. A cup of pumpkin seeds contains 12g of dietary fiber. Add toasted pumpkin seeds to salads for a a tasty way to get your fiber.
Fresh pumpkin seeds bake with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet cinnamon toast-flavored treat. "These baked pumpkin seeds taste absolutely delicious," says Kara Millette. "The cinnamon sugar definitely gives it a brand-new twist that I find amazing and satisfies my sweet tooth!"
So much crunchy goodness, with nuts, grains, and pumpkin seeds baked with a little honey. Enjoy as a quick snack, as cereal, or stirred together with yogurt. "I first enjoyed this scrumptious, nutty cereal in Germany and Austria," says Sara La Follette Urdahl. "It's excellent mixed into fruity yogurt."
Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of iron, and a 1 oz serving will give you 4.2mg of iron. The seeds are also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, manganese, and monounsaturated fat.
Roasted pumpkin seeds offer spicy crunch to this pasta recipe simply sauced with roasted garlic roma tomatoes and goat cheese. "Quite yummy," says Linda T. "I used regular tomatoes and rotini. I am sure I used less cayenne because I am a wimp. I added some of the olive oil/juice to the dish and it loosened it up and improved it. Salt and cracked fresh pepper finished it...yum."
5. Hearty Dinners
Pumpkin adds a lot of nourishment and flavor to your dinner on cold winter nights. Add it to soups, chilli, pasta and risotto. Here are some ideas to get you started.
This easy soup features pumpkin puree, chicken stock, onion, and fresh herbs. Stir in a little cream at the end for added richness.
"An easy chili that's sure to please. I've made this for a Halloween party and a chili cook-off at work with great results," coffee_junkee. "It's a great base with lots of options to spice it up depending on the crowd you're cooking for! I usually put everything together in the morning and let it simmer all day; cooking time can be adjusted to fit your needs."
"This tasty dish combines the sweetness of roast pumpkin and salty taste of feta cheese to create a sensational risotto," says MEL_JADE.
- Our Complete Collection of Pumpkin Recipes
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