I don’t know about you, but as soon as it is fall, I immediately think of pumpkins and squash!
Beyond cute décor for fall, pumpkins are so good for you! Fun fact: most people think they are a vegetable, but they are actually a fruit, and their nutrition profile is similar to other fruits.
· Potent antioxidants to heal cellular damage – alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin
· Immune boosting vitamin C, vitamin E, and folate
· Healthy skin promoters beta-carotene and vitamin C
· Eyesight powerhouses lutein and zeaxanthin
· Rich in fiber
Pumpkins are space suckers, so if you intentionally plant them, give them lots of room to take over! We were pleasantly surprised by our accidental pumpkin we grew in our backyard this year! We had vines everywhere, and my garden flourished! Once it turned orange, we picked it and cut it open. Nate took seeds for next year, and then left me the rest. I scooped out all the seeds and roasted them, and then I roasted the pumpkin to make it soft enough to scoop out and get every bit of the flesh to make pumpkin puree and gave the rest to the chickens to enjoy. Deer and squirrels also love pumpkin, so once your carved pumpkins start to rot, toss them out in your yard or the woods so they can enjoy the remnants.
Get creative with spices and herbs to bring out the robust flavor of pumpkin, but just watch the sugar to reap the most health benefits! Below are a couple delicious recipes. I hope you enjoy!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Prep your seeds:
Clean your seeds really well. I thoroughly washed using a colander.
Fill a large bowl with water just enough to cover your seeds and then let sit on the counter and soak for 30 minutes. You can soak them overnight too (that's what I did).
After soaking, add a pinch of salt and boil them for 10 minutes, then drain the water. Pat slightly with a paper towel to get off excess water.
3. Put seeds back into your empty bowl and toss with olive oil and seasonings of your choice (I used Frag Out seasoning which is a combo of sea salt, chiles, spices, garlic and onion)
4. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and then evenly spread out your seasoned pumpkin seeds on the cookie sheet and place into the oven.
5. Set a timer! Check your seeds every 10 minutes and move them around so they don’t burn. It takes between 30 and 40 minutes for them to roast properly. *You definitely want to set a timer, they can burn quickly!!*
6. After taking out of the oven, let cool and then put them in a mason jar or air-tight container to keep. Sprinkle them on everything - they add a pop of flavor!
Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Bisque
3 cups cooked pumpkin (a medium sized pumpkin will work)
2 cups butternut squash (fresh or a steamable bag work)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup of greek yogurt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp pink himalayan salt
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1. To roast pumpkin: I cut the stem off, then cut the pumpkin in half and roasted at 400 degrees for about an hour. Then let cool, and scooped the flesh out. Once I got all the flesh out, I put in the blender (you could use a food processor) and pureed. I added a tablespoon (maybe two? ) to make it blend better and to a smoother consistency. (Just a note: fresh pumpkin is a lot lighter in color than the canned)
2. Add your butternut squash to the pumpkin (I used a bag of steamable butternut squash from Aldi and steamed it before adding to blender) and pureed to a nice smooth consistency. You could roast too if you'd like to use fresh (the steamable bag is so easy though!).
3. Add EVOO to a stock pot, and add minced garlic. Sautee for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the chicken stock and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add all the remaining ingredients and cook for another 10 minutes, stir to achieve a nice thick bisque consistency. Top with the pumpkin seeds you roasted. Enjoy!
Happy Fall! Share some of your favorite recipes with me!
Until next time.
Love, Dr. Amanda