Fall is in the air, and pumpkins are decorating front porches all over Salt Lake City. But these fruits (yes, fruits!) are good for much more than jack-o'-lanterns.
Pumpkins are low in calories and high in fiber, so they are a dieter's dream. One cup of pumpkin has more potassium than a banana and 200 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. Pumpkin also contains the antioxidant beta carotene, which may contribute to reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
These four recipes will help you get the most out of this seasonal superfood.
1. Creamy Pumpkin Soup
This low-calorie, low-fat soup is bursting with flavor.
2 teaspoons margarine
1 cup onion, chopped
¾ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons flour
3 (10½ ounce) cans of low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 cup apples, peeled and chopped
½ cup evaporated skim milk
1. Melt margarine in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and sauté for three minutes.
3. Add sage, curry powder and nutmeg; cook for 30 seconds.
4. Stir in flour; cook for 30 seconds.
5. Whisk in broth, tomato paste and salt.
6. Stir in pumpkin and apple, and bring to a boil.
7. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until pumpkin is tender, about 25 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
9. Place mixture in a blender and process until smooth.
10. Return mixture to pan and add milk.
11. Cook until thoroughly heated.
Per 1-cup serving (makes five servings): 122 calories; 3.1 g fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 19.9 g carbohydrates; 5.5 g protein; 2.3 g fiber; 228 mg sodium; 102 mg calcium.
2. Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin takes pancakes to a whole new level. Bonus: The recipe calls for canned pumpkin, so you can make them all year long.
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup flour
4 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
maple syrup or honey
1. Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, baking soda, egg yolk and flour.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with salt, then fold into pumpkin mixture.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
4. Spoon ⅓ cup of the batter onto the skillet.
5. Flip when top is covered with bubbles and edges are slightly brown, about three minutes per side.
6. Enjoy plain or drizzle with syrup or honey.
Per two-pancake serving (makes four servings): 90 calories; 2 g fat; 55 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 1 g fiber; 299 mg sodium; 69 mg calcium.
3. Overnight Pumpkin Oat Porridge
Made the night before, this delicious and hearty breakfast is great on the go.
¼ cup quick oats
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons pumpkin butter (recipe below)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of pumpkin pie spice
¼ of a banana (Tip: freeze the rest for a smoothie.)
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
pinch pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon raw pepitas, hulled
1. Combine the oats and ½ cup of the milk in a jar.
2. Stir in the pumpkin butter, chia seeds, spices and banana.
3. Cover jar, shake and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and warm to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the remaining milk, sprinkle with cinnamon and pumpkin spice, and top with pepitas.
Per serving (makes one serving): 227 calories; 9 g fat; 34 g carbohydrates; 12 g sugar; 8 g protein; 7 g fiber; 139 mg sodium.
4. Pumpkin Butter
Spread this rich and delicious treat on an English muffin or use it as a fruit dip.
3½ cups pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup apple juice
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1. Stir ingredients into a large saucepan.
2. Bring mixture to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 35 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.
Per 2-tablespoon serving (makes 30 servings): 32 calories; 0.1 g fat; 9.5 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 0.5 g protein; 3.5 mg sodium.