by Tara Davis
The magical window between Halloween and Thanksgiving means you don’t have to give up your pumpkin spice quite yet. It is also an opportunity to incorporate real pumpkin into your life in so many ways.
Not only is it the high fiber line item that lives in off-holiday notariety, it is also rich in Vitamin A and lutein, which promote eye health, in antioxidants which fight inflammation and aid the immune system, and is overall nutrient dense while low calorie.
Below are my top suggestions for embracing all the benefits of this iconic squash, ranging from refined cooking to nearly cheating in the kitchen. What a great way to usher in the holiday season!
(Note: a recipe for pumpkin puree is provided below, but it is totally ok to use canned pumpkin instead. Just check those ingredients!)
Pumpkin Puree- half and deseed 2 small sugar pumpkins. (Sometimes called roasting or baking pumpkins). Coat the flesh side only with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake on a sheet tray at 350 degrees 45-50 minutes or until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool, peel back and discard skin and puree in blender.
Pumpkin Soup- dice 1 medium white onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil until soft. Add 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup coconut milk, 1.5 cups pumpkin puree and 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper and ground cinnamon. Cook over medium heat 20 minutes.
Pumpkin alfredo- cook 8 oz pasta, reserve pasta water. Melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat, saute 2 Tbsp minced garlic. Add 1 cup pumpkin puree, 2.5 cups half and half or whole milk, 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Heat until warm, then add cooked pasta, and pasta water as needed for desired consistency. Top with roasted chicken and/or vegetables.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bread-
Mix 1/ pumpkin puree, 2 Tbsp softened butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla. Separate 2 packages premade cinnamon rolls, and spread the top of each generously with puree mixture. Line them upright in a sprayed loaf pan to stack. (Think filing cabinet folder style arrangement). Top with a glaze of 5 tbsp half and half and 4 tbsp powdered sugar. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
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