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Everything Pumpkin: The Healthy Way

Fall is upon us and with that comes all the pumpkin cookies, cakes, pie, and cheesecake. But not all pumpkin recipes have to debunk your diet from excess calories. Pumpkin can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Some people may be wondering if pumpkin is even healthy at all?

Pumpkin has many health benefits to be happy about this fall. It’s packed with antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin A, dietary fiber, and potassium. For 1 cup of 100% pure pumpkin, there is only ~80 calories, 7 grams of fiber, <1 gram of fat, and 2 grams of protein. These different nutrients help support the immune system, maintain clear eyesight, and help maintain a healthy weight. And don’t forget about the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are a great source healthy fats, protein, fiber, zinc, and magnesium. Here are some great healthy recipes using pumpkin for you to try this fall or any time of the year.

Check out the audio guide from my news segment on WZZM here.

Pumpkin Ricotta Mousse

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 ¼ cup 100% pure pumpkin, pureed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light or fat-free whipped topping

Directions:

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients using a mixer or blender until smooth.
  2. Fold in the cool whip with a spatula until even consistency.
  3. Using small bowls or mason jars, spoon ¼ cup mousse into each and top with pecans, dark chocolate nibs, or pumpkin seeds for garnish.

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Whole Wheat and Oat Pumpkin Pancakes

Prep time: 5 mins, Total time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, buttermilk and pumpkin together until smooth. Add in vanilla, baking powder, salt, pumpkin spice, rolled oats and flour and whisk well.
  2. Pour about half a ladle onto a medium hot griddle and cook for 3 minutes, until the edges start to firm up. Flip the pancakes and finish cooking for 1-2 minutes on the other side.
  3. Serve hot with maple syrup, plain yogurt, or pecans.

Source: https://www.jocooks.com/healthy-eating/healthy-whole-wheat-oats-pumpkin-pancakes/

Smoky Chipotle Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more, to top
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, plus adobo sauce, to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more to top
  • Roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, to top

Directions:

  1. Pulse the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt together in a food processor or blender until it forms a paste. Add in the chickpeas, olive oil, and chipotle chiles and pulse until smooth. Add in the pumpkin puree, cumin, and smoked paprika and pulse until well combined.
  2. Transfer the hummus to a bowl and swirl the top using the back of the spoon. Drizzle over a little additional olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and top with roasted pumpkin seeds. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: http://hostthetoast.com/smoky-chipotle-pumpkin-hummus/

Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, about 32 ounces
  • 2 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree
  • 1¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk, or a 13.5 ounce can, reserving 1 tablespoon
  • 1 large red chili pepper, sliced
  • Cilantro for garnish if desired

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the curry paste for about one minute or until paste becomes fragrant. Add the broth and the pumpkin and stir.
  2. Cook for about 3 minutes or until soup starts to bubble. Add the coconut milk and cook until hot, about 3 minutes.
  3. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk and sliced red chilis. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired.

Source: https://www.foodiecrush.com/5-ingredient-thai-pumpkin-soup/

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Enjoy!

-EAW

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Charred Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Despite the heat wave this week, Michigan fall is finally here! And hey, that’s Michigan weather for you…cold one week, hot the next. But I LOVE fall. Give me all the pumpkin, bright-colored leaves, comfort foods, cozy sweaters, spiced rum and apple cider, and Michigan State football…I die happy. Luckily, my fiance also loves fall and any delicious stew or soup that is served in a bowl 🙂

On a different note, lately I have been feeling more primal urges in my cooking. You know, getting back to a more simple way of living and preparing food. Sometimes after a long day at work where I am constantly dialed into a computer, pager, or phone, it’s nice to come home and slow life down a little.

My latest obsession has been charring. Tortillas, bell peppers, naan bread, you name it. It adds an amazing depth of flavor and small little smoky bits of goodness.

 

However, one blessing of advanced technology is the immersion blender. It’s a sneaky little amazing hand-held machine that blends and purees foods lickity split. One of the best gifts I ever received and I highly recommend it to my all my fellow creamy soup lovers.

This creamy tomato soup gives all the fall feels. It pairs beautifully with a homemade whole grain bread, French baguette, or grilled cheese sandwich for dipping. Bonus: it’s packed with antioxidants. Lycopene, vitamin C, and beta-carotene will help ensure no fall colds occur in your household. So get in the kitchen and happy fall cooking!

Charred Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Ingredients:
2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
4 red bell peppers
2 large Roma tomatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the stem to create a canal down the middle of the tomato.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Stuff each tomato half with a halved piece of garlic and place the tomatoes on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Gas stove: Turn your burner to low to medium heat and place the bell peppers on the burner. Char on each side of the pepper (about 3 minutes per side). Once fully charred, place the peppers on a large plate, cover with aluminum foil and allow the steam to soften the peppers for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. No gas stove? Use the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping the peppers twice. Once the peppers are charred and wrinkled remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. Once peppers are cool enough to handle, wet a paper towel and scrap off the charred peel. I like to keep some on for flavor. Remove and discard the stem and seeds.
  6. Depending on the tools you have available at home, you can either use a food processor or immersion blender for this part (I used an immersion blender). Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, vinegar, and broth in a large pot. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  7. Add the milk (or cream) and bring the soup to a low simmer. Add the onion powder,  salt and pepper to taste, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes (if desired). Serve and garnish with fresh basil or shredded mozzarella cheese.

Enjoy!

-EAW