What are you going to do with that jack-o-lantern? EAT IT! Yup, pumpkin is a low calorie, high fiber, naturally sweet winter squash that is an easy addition to countless dishes. It can replace high-fat ingredients like oil or cream in baking, can be roasted and eaten alone, bears delicious seeds and can quickly be made into soups. Adding pumpkin to your recipes not only brings down calories but boosts the nutritional profile! And, pumpkin is an excellent source of the carotenoids, an antioxidant that (which give pumpkins their orange color) helps fight cancer and boost immunity (flu season anyone). So, here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for squeezing this super squash in at every meal…
Don’t forget the seeds! Like seeds from many winter squashes, pumpkin seeds are a yummy solo snack or delicious, crunchy additions to salads, soups, oatmeal, yogurt, baked sweet potatoes…you get my drift. Don’t toss them! A little patience and care goes a long way when separating the seeds from all the stringy stuff inside your pumpkin.
- Use a spoon to scrape your pumpkin out, seeds, strings, and all, and place everything in a bowl.
- Pull away the largest clumps, and squeeze your fingers along the slimy strings to help release the seeds. Add water to the bowl if this helps you separate the seeds more easily.
- Place almost-cleaned seeds in a colander or sieve and give them a good rinse.
- Drain the seeds, pat dry, and toss with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes at 350F, flipping them with a spatula halfway through.
Roasted: after removing the seeds and strings from your pumpkin, slice it into largish pieces (or just in half), whatever will fit in your oven. Brush pieces with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment for 30-35 minutes at 375F, until pumpkin skin is easily pierced with a fork.
Puree: Allow the roasted pumpkin pieces to cool and then peel away the skin with your fingers or a spoon.
- Cut the pumpkin flesh into manageable pieces and transfer to your food processor, blender, or food mill (you can also mash by hand with a fork, if you prefer a bit more texture).
- Pulse for 2-3 seconds at a time, scraping down the sides between pulses, until desired texture is achieved.
- Transfer to storage containers, or right back to continue the pumpkin transformation into…
Pumpkin bran muffins. Fiber, fiber, fiber.
Pumpkin butter (without actual butter).
Pumpkin soup, using the seeds, too!
Pumpkin brownies. Beware, these are calorie bombs. Bring to your holiday party and SHARE, people!
Vegan Pumpkin Chia chocolate pudding?!