Tis the pumpkin season, which for most people conjures images of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cookies. However, this colorful, nutritious, and affordable squash does not have to be relegated to the dessert table or Starbucks drive-through. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the pumpkin's bounty without spiking your blood sugar and loading up on calories.
Pumpkin makes a great addition to soup, whether in chunks or as a puree. You can make a pumpkin puree soup with homemade chicken broth and coconut milk and seasoned with ginger, cloves, sage, and salt. For a finishing touch, add in chopped bacon bits. Or make a soup with chopped pumpkin and other veggies and meats.
Pumpkin bowl chili or stew
For this recipe, make your favorite chili or stew recipe and serve it inside a small, roasted pumpkin or squash. To roast your whole pumpkin, cut off the top, scoop out the insides, and place in a pan with a half inch of water and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until soft. The sweetness of the pumpkin flesh is a nice complement to a spicy chili or stew.
Grain-free pumpkin pancakes
Pancakes are a versatile breakfast option because they are easy to make without grains. Pumpkin pancakes bring a new level of flavor and moistness. Use coconut flour and add pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spices to make grain-free pumpkins reminiscent of pumpkin pie.
When roasted and seasoned, pumpkin seeds make a great snack that is healthy, filling, and high in fiber. Separate out the pumpkin seeds in a colander under running water, simmer in salted boiling water for 10 minutes, add oil and seasoning, and roast at 400 degrees on the top rack for five to 20 minutes, or until browned. You can choose from a large variety of ways to flavor your pumpkin seeds, either sweet or savory.
Pumpkin pie protein shake
This novel recipe gives you a pumpkin-pie approach to your protein shake. Use your favorite protein powder or gelatin and blend with almond or coconut milk, fresh or canned pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, ice cubes, and a banana if desired for sweetness (or use frozen banana chunks in place of ice).
Although it might be hard to compete with a Starbucks pumpkin latte, you can certainly do better in terms of sugar content. Most health-friendly versions call for brewed coffee, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, and the natural sweetener of your choice.