Pumpkin: Your Autumn Meal All-Star
by Vanessa Voltolina
You may be more familiar with carving pumpkins than actually eating them. Or, if you do use pumpkin in a recipe, it may be in the form of a pie with whipped cream. Not to worry—this is the case for many of us. But as you prepare for Halloween and Turkey Day, why not add pumpkin, and its seeds, to more of your seasonal recipes? Here are some new, creative ways to get your fill of the orange stuff:
Pumpkin, Barley, and Sage Soup: It’s easy to sauté pumpkin with an array of spices and puree to create creamy, healthy soups. Follow Miraval’s recipe for Butternut Squash Soup (below) to create one with pumpkin. Also try this one from BHG.com.
Pumpkin Spiced Granola: Like making traditional granola, incorporating the pumpkin will come into play later on in the process. Once you’ve toasted the nuts and oats, you’ll combine pumpkin puree with oil, spices, vanilla and syrup; then, you’ll pour it over the mixture, stir together and bake. We like this recipe from SkinnyTaste.com.
Pumpkin Oatmeal: This is a perfect cool-morning treat! In large saucepan over high heat, combine pumpkin puree, water, milk, salt, and alternative spices (pumpkin pie spice). Bring to a boil. Then, add in oatmeal and cook according to instructions. Voila, a flavorful treat. If you want to take it to the next level, add in nuts or raisins to the oatmeal.
Pumpkin Gravy: Wouldn’t have thought of gravy, would you? While this isn’t one of the healthier recipes to be made with the orange stuff, it’s certainly tasty! By combining pumpkin puree, heavy cream, garlic, Parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, you can create a delicious recipe great for mashed potatoes, turkey, chicken – whatever! Try this recipe from EveryDay with Rachael Ray.
Pumpkin is not only tasty, but touts a host of good-for-you benefits:
It’s a source of fiber, with 3 grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories; the higher fiber content helps you feel full for longer without major calorie damage.
- While bananas may get all the press, one cup of cooked pumpkin has more potassium (564 milligrams versus a banana’s 422).
- Like other orange veggies (read: sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots), pumpkins tout the antioxidant beta-carotene, which some research says may aid in cancer prevention.
- Pumpkin seeds (among other nuts and seeds) are naturally rich in some phytosterols — plant-based chemicals – associated with LDL, or bad cholesterol, reduction.
Butternut Squash Soup
Makes 6 cups; Serving size: ½ cup
Miraval’s approach to the classic Butternut Squash Soup channels the warmth and essence of autumn. We incorporate reduced cinnamon-infused rice milk to balance the butternut squash, which adds a completely different dimension of flavor to the dish.
Please note: Soups pureed in a blender have a richer texture. While the butternut squash mixture can be pureed with a food processor or stick blender, the texture and yield will be different from that made in a blender.
Always be careful when blending hot liquids. Do not fill the blender container more than halfway full, and hold down the top with a kitchen towel as you turn on the machine. These safeguards prevent the lid from blowing off and hot liquids flying, which can result in dangerous burns.
¼ teaspoon Miraval Oil Blend or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped celery
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
5 cups peeled, one-inch cubes butternut squash
¼ teaspoon chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth
1 ½ cups rice milk
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
4. Add the squash, nutmeg, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; cook until the squash starts to turn brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes.
6. In a small saucepan, bring the rice milk and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until light caramel in color and reduce to ¼ cup in volume, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cool completely.
7. In batches, transfer the butternut squash mixture to a blender and puree on high speed until smooth. Transfer to a clean container, stir, and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
8. To serve, ladle half-cup portions into small soup bowls. Decoratively drizzle 1 tsp. of the rice milk into the center of each serving and serve immediately.
50 calories | 0g total fat | 12g carbohydrates | 1g dietary fiber | 1g protein