Pumpkin provides us with many health benefits. First off, the color of pumpkin lets us know right away that it is packed with Vitamin A. Vitamin A, found in all orange fruits and vegetables, is beneficial to our vision, especially when we are driving at night. Pumpkin is also a great source of fiber. There are 3 grams of fiber in one cup, which is only 50 calories! In addition, eating pumpkin seeds can boost our mood. They are high in tryptophan, an amino acid, which is important for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is released from the brain and aids in relaxation, resulting in an improved mood! Pumpkin is also packed with minerals, such as zinc and potassium, that are essential for overall health. Here are some recipes that can help you experience the power of pumpkin:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
· -One medium sized pumpkin
· – Salt
· –Olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.
2. In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
3. Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating. Either crack to remove the inner seed (a lot of work and in my opinion, unnecessary) or eat whole.
-½ cup canned pumpkin
-½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
-¼ teaspoon baking soda
-1 large egg yolk
-¼ cup cake flour
-4 large egg whites
-¼ teaspoon salt
-Maple syrup or honey
Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, baking soda, egg yolk, and flour. Whisk egg whites with salt; fold into pumpkin mixture. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Spoon in 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Flip when tops are covered with bubbles and edges are slightly brown (about 3 minutes per side). Drizzle with syrup or honey.
· –1 can white beans (12 ounces, rinsed and drained)
· -1 onion, diced
· -1 cup water
· -1 can pumpkin
· –1 can chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
· –½ teaspoon thyme or tarragon
· -Salt and pepper to taste
1. Blend white beans, onion, and water using a food processor
2. In soup pot, mix bean puree with pumpkin, broth, and spices
3. Cover and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes until thoroghly warmed