Pumpkins. Such delightful things, aren’t they? Whether used for decoration or cooking they just seem to define fall. I love that. I know I’m not alone in my affinity for pumpkins because, ever since Starbucks released the Pumpkin Spice Latte this season, my Facebook page has been one giant “Going to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte…oooh-hoo-hoo!” update after another. I log onto Pinterest and am bombarded with recipes for pumpkin pies, breads, and muffins. Sadly, most of the recipes we’ve developed for pumpkins really squash (no pun intended) their nutritional benefits. On their own, pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A and fiber, and are very low in calories – not so much when you process them into the treats we expect this time of year. One slice of pumpkin bread averages 375 calories and 14 grams of fat. That Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream (hey, why not, it’s the holidays!) you just downed? 410 calories, 17 grams of fat, and a whopping 48 grams of sugar! That’s not a holiday tradition you want to keep. It’s time to think outside the ‘bucks and eat pumpkin in a way that showcases its true taste and nutritional benefits. Here are 2 of my favorite recipes:
• 2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
• 3 cups fat-free milk
• 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tbsp raisins
• Brown sugar to taste
Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in oats and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and spices and stir until heated through. Stir in raisins just before serving. Serves 4.
Per Serving: Calories 242, Fat 2.9g, Cholesterol 3mg, Sodium 99mg, Carbohydrate 40.5g, Fiber 5.3g, Protein 13.2g
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 cup peeled and cubed (1/2-inch) sweet potato
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 14 1/2-ounce cans fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
• 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)
1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in flour, curry powder, cumin, nutmeg, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add sweet potato, salt, broth, and pumpkin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.
2. Place half of pumpkin mixture in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining pumpkin mixture. Return soup to pan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat; stir in juice. Garnish with chives, if desired. Serves 6.
Per Serving: Calories 121; Fat 2.8g; Protein 5.1g; Carbohydrates 19.7g; Fiber 3.5g; Cholesterol 7mg; Iron 1.5mg; Sodium 565mg
How do YOU love your pumpkin? Let us know!