Fall for Pumpkin and Squash
Did you know that pumpkins, squash, and gourds are all part of the Cucurbitaceae family?
Butternut squash, delicata squash, carnival squash, red kuri, sweet dumpling squash, and pretty pan squash are typical on the fall landscape but many look like they are only for decoration. Think again! They are tasty treats and packed with Vitamin A, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin which may protect your eyesight! They are high in nutrients and low in calories which makes them the perfect bite to include in your weight loss plan or to help maintain a healthy weight.
If you're looking to include them in your daily diet here are a few ideas. First, you don't have to cook them although they sweeten and soften as you do. Roast or bake them by cutting them into chunks roughly 1" square. Remove the seeds and roast those separately. Lightly spray them with canola or olive oil spray and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake them at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until soft. Season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or thyme.
You can also cook them in a saucepan of boiling water. They cook up in about 10 minutes. Once you have them soft and sweet, you can add them to many salads, side dishes and even your breakfast smoothie!
Here are a few ideas to tempt your palette:
For breakfast use pureed pumpkin with a little brown sugra or maple syrup and add about 2 tablespoons to your daily oatmeal. Pumpkin smoothies can be another treat!
Pumpkin Smoothie recipe:
1 frozen banana
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Graham cracker, for garnish
Place all ingredients except the graham cracker in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with crumbled graham cracker.
Salads and side dishes are another way to pump up your nutrition with pumpkin. Try a kale salad and garnish with pumpkin, sliced grapes, slivered almonds, and a light vinegarette dressing. pumpkin, grapes, slivered almonds, The kale offers texture while the pumpkin is creamy. The grapes give it sweetness while the almonds give it a crunch!
Another favorite without greens is combining sliced pears, roasted pumpkin cubes, and feta with a lemon and olive oil dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add pumpkin, to your traditional tomatoes burrata, and basil, salad with a light drizzle of olive oil and Himalayan sea salt.
And one last favorite is a fall-friendly salsa consisting of fresh shaved corn, appless, cumin, black beans olive oil and garlic powder and of course, pumpkin!