Pumpkin: Eat, Don’t Just Carve!

Pretty as they might be with candles in them, pumpkins are much more than just pretty Halloween things. Most people chuck the pumpkin flesh away when it is bursting with nutrition; such a shame! Here’s some useful info from Nutri Enews:
  • Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene – the plant form of vitamin A.  1 cup of cooked pumpkin flesh will contain approximately 2650 IU beta-carotene.  Vitamin A is a powerful immune support and natural antioxidant, and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes.  Vitamin A is also essential to support good vision.
  • In addition to beta-carotene, pumpkins also contain cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.  Zeaxanthin is a natural antioxidant, which may help to protect against age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • Pumpkins contain copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.  In addition, it is a good source of B complex vitamins and folates.
  • Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of protein, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 essential fatty acids.
  • Pumpkins are high in fibre, packed with essential nutrients and protective plant compounds.  Supportive of blood sugar balance too, they are a great addition to any diet.

I’ve included this recipe to give you an idea how to cook pumpkin as some people can be a bit put off by these huge things. Leave out the cheese, obviously, and maybe have some cooked chicken instead.

 

Warm roasted pumpkin, spinach and feta salad

As the temperature cools and the days get shorter, salads can seem much less appealing – winter stews and heartwarming soups often seem a better match for the weather.  Here’s a lovely recipe though for a salad that’s served with warm roasted pumpkin fresh out of the oven.  Perfect for a healthy Halloween supper!

You will need:

•    1 kg pumpkin
•    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
•    1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
•    2 red chillies finely chopped
•    2 tablespoons olive oil
•    150g feta cheese / goat’s cheese
•    50g toasted walnuts
•    Large bag of organic baby spinach
•    Juice of two limes
•    Handful of fresh mint (roughly chopped)
•    Handful of fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
•    Tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint & coriander

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C, peel the pumpkin, remove the seeds and cut into 2-3 cm chunks.
  2. In a large bowl, add the pumpkin, chillies, ginger, garlic and olive oil.
  3. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Mix well before placing the mixture onto a baking tray.  Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes (until pumpkin is golden brown).
  4. Once the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool slightly.
  5. In a large dish place a bed of baby spinach, add the fresh herbs and mix together.
  6. Layer on top, the roasted pumpkin mixture (and any remaining juices from the baking tray).
  7. Sprinkle with crumbled feta or goat’s cheese and toasted walnuts.
  8. Squeeze over the lime juice and finish with freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh coriander & mint.

 

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