Giddy up ladies and gentlemen! National Nutrition Month (NNM) is officially underway.
This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”. Specifically, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights the importance of eating healthier to fit your unique lifestyle. Let’s real quick talk about that point. Many times in nutrition education sessions, patients are commonly astounded by how small and “easy” some tips for improvement in their health or nutrition I recommend. However, what we all often forget is that it is the small and (what appears to be) easy changes that fit our lifestyle that will actually make the difference and be sustainable long term. National Nutrition Month also highlights getting back to the experience and traditions behind consuming food. In other words, always remember to enjoy and have fun with the experience of eating food, whether that be the people you are with, where you are eating, the traditions or events you are celebrating, or the amazing depth of flavors of the food you are eating.
I take this month as an opportunity to not only reflect on my health and nutrition, but also to explore the flavors of different diets from a health and ethnic standpoint, understanding that it is not one diet that fits all. I started NNM this past week with a vegan, gluten free, quinoa, black bean, pumpkin soup. Woof, that was a mouthful. Now hear me out. I am no vegan or regular gluten free-er, but like I said before, NNM is the perfect time to go outside of your comfort zone and try new diets and food experiences. And believe me, this soup was worth it. It was flavorful, nutrient-dense, filling, and incredibly easy.
Quinoa Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Prep time: 10 mins, Cook time: 25 mins (or slow cooker), Total time: 35 mins
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 red chili pepper, diced
- 3 cups cubes pumpkin (or 2-15 oz cans 100% pure pumpkin)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup quinoa
- 15 ounce can low-sodium black beans (rinsed and drained)
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- For garnish:
- 1 avocado, cubed
- handful cilantro, diced
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Heat oil in pan over medium heat and cook onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper and cook until aromatic.
- Add pumpkin and spices and cook for a couple minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth and quinoa. Bring a boil and cook for 5 minutes before adding the remaining vegetable broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add beans and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Served garnished with cilantro, avocado and lime juice.
Note: Adapted from Avocado Pesto.
Enjoy and Happy National Nutrition Month!