Health Benefits of Pumpkins and Winter Squash
For most people, pumpkins are a featured fall ingredient in pies and lattes, but pumpkins are actually a much more versatile and healthy ingredient that you might incorporate into savory dishes throughout the fall and winter. Pumpkin is a superfood high in vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Pumpkin seeds are good for you too, as they are high in amino acids like tryptophan as well as chemicals called phytosterols that may help lower LDL cholesterol. Below you will see a handful of recipes that can let you tap into these health benefits all season long.
With a base of unsweetened pureed pumpkin and unsalted almonds, you can make a delicious pumpkin butter that will taste great on toast, as an oatmeal mix in, or even as a quick snack by the spoonful. Sweeten the mixture with a few tablespoons of maple syrup and add your favorite fall spices to create a delicious spread that anyone can enjoy.
Pumpkin’s light, delicate flavor and soft, smooth texture makes it ideal as the base of a Thai or Indian curry. Cubed pumpkin will absorb any flavorful curry gravy, so you can swap out pumpkin for any protein or vegetable in your favorite curry recipe.
Butternut squash soup is a fall favorite, but you can make an equally delicious and nutritious soup with pumpkin to warm up in the cool weather. You can start with roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree, and season the soup with warm spices like nutmeg, peppercorns, and sage in a base of chicken or vegetable stock. Once the soup has cooked, whip it up with an immersion blender and add a touch of cream or coconut milk.
Pumpkin seed trail mix
When you remove the innards of a pumpkin, save the seeds and toast them on a low heat until they are lightly golden and crunchy. Mix the seeds with your favorite nuts, berries, and pumpkin pie spice for a lovely fall themed snack that is great for your heart.
If you want to get even more creative, try adding pumpkin to fall drinks and desserts for a unique twist on old favorites.