It’s Pumpkin Season Again!

pumpkin bars

By Haley Adel, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor

It’s October so everyone knows what that means…Pumpkin Season! Starbucks has been serving up its assortment of pumpkin spice drinks for weeks, while Trader Joe’s has been lining its shelves with loads of pumpkin-inspired products. To get with the season, we thought we would provide some of the health benefits of pumpkin, and share some of our favorite pumpkin dishes.

For starters, pumpkin is a fruit! This winter squash has seeds inside, and therefore falls into the fruit category. Contrary to its categorization, most culinary preparations of pumpkin treat it as a vegetable. Either way, it is a great source of nutrients! For starters, pumpkin is high in carotenoids. Carotenoids are nutrients that serve as antioxidants. That means they help protect the body from certain damage and stress.  Carotenoids are also converted to Vitamin A, making pumpkin a great way to increase Vitamin A. This vitamin supports both eye sight and skin health.

More importantly for students, pumpkin is full of nutrients that help strengthen the immune system. These include Vitamin C and Vitamin E, in addition to Vitamin A. The benefits come from the ‘meaty’ part of pumpkin. If you don’t like the taste of pumpkin, but love the seeds, there are health benefits for you too! Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are packed with antioxidants. Additionally, they are high in magnesium, which is important for bone health.

Pumpkin is a delicious seasonal treat. Since it is commonly available for only a part of the year, we may not always take advantage of its different culinary prospects. We know pumpkin pie is always a favorite, but we wanted to include some recipes for less common uses of pumpkin. Our first recipe is for pumpkin turkey chili. It’s a tasty meal that will keep you warm as the weather begins to chill. Our second recipe is for easy yet scrumptious pumpkin chocolate chip bars that satisfy the sweet tooth.

Not only are these recipes delectable, but they also provide the nutritional benefits mentioned above because they include pumpkin puree. If you want the health advantages of pumpkin, make sure the product you consume is made from actual pumpkin. A pumpkin-flavored treat can also be delicious, but will just not provide the same favorable benefits. If you enjoyed the recipes we included, please let us know in the comments section!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

pumpkin chili

Prep time: 15 minutes             Cook time: 20-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, drained
  • 1 14-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/5 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add oil to large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in onion, garlic, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté until soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add in ground turkey. Cook until meat is no longer pink.
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, white beans, pumpkin, tomato paste, broth, cocoa powder and seasonings, stirring everything together.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe from:  Clara Norfleet @foodfitnessandfaith

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bar (pictured above)

Prep time: 5 minutes             Cook time: 28 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8×8 glass pan with cooking spray
  3. Mix oats, pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and spices in bowl until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour mixture into greased pan and bake for 28-30 minutes.
  5. Let sit for 15-20 minutes
  6. Cut into squares and devour!

Recipe from:   Melanie   http://www.nutritiouseats.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-bars/

References:

Brown, Mary J. “Top 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds.” HealthLine, 24 Sept. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds#section5.

Raman, Ryan. “9 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin.” HealthLine, 28 Aug. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin.

 

Sweet and Sour Japanese Eggplant Bruschetta

PC: RachelRayMag.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 Japanese Eggplants

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 White Onion

  • 4 Tablespoons Honey

  • ½ Cup Vinegar

  • ½ Cup Tomato Sauce

  • 1 Medium Ball of Fresh Mozzarella

  • 1 French Baguette

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Sauté peeled and thinly sliced Japanese eggplant in olive oil; reserve.

2. In the same skillet cook thinly sliced onions. Deglaze with honey and vinegar. Add tomato sauce and reserved eggplant. Simmer for 10 minutes, let cool.

3. Spoon onto baguette slices and place mozzarella slice on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Butternut Squash (1/2 inch cubes)

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Cup Quinoa (Uncooked)

  • 2 Cups Water

  • 1 Pomegranate Seeds

  • 2 teaspoons Chopped Fresh Sage

  • ¼-1/2 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil.

2. Toss the squash with the olive oil and salt and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for about 20 min, or until tender, tossing after 10 min.

3. While squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa according to the package.

4. In a bowl, combine the squash, quinoa, and remaining ingredients. Sprinkle goat cheese on top.

Sweet Spaghetti Squash

PC: ASweetPeaChef.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash

  • 6 Tablespoons of butter

  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

Preparation:

1. Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds then place the halves cut side down in a baking dish filled with enough water to cover the bottom of the dish.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until the shell of the squash is flexible and the inside is tender.  Let the squash cool for 10-15 minutes.

3. Using a fork, scrape out the inside of the squash to form strands.

4. Place all of the squash strands into a large bowl and toss with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon.  Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

PC: FromTheBartoliniKitchens.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash

 

  • 2 Cups Marinara Sauce

  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds then place the halves cut side down in a baking dish filled with enough water to cover the bottom of the dish.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until the shell of the squash is flexible and the inside is tender.  Let the squash cool for 10-15 minutes.

3. Using a fork, scrape out the inside of the squash to form strands.

4. Place all of the squash strands into a large bowl and toss marinara sauce , salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

Fall Veggie Wrap

SerenityInTheStorm.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Avocado, peeled, pit removed and sliced

  • 1 Tomato, sliced

  • 1 Small Cucumber, sliced

  • 1 Small Red Pepper, cored, de-stemmed and sliced

  • 1 Container of Radish Sprouts

  • Several Leaves of Lettuce (Arugula, Romaine, Red Leaf, etc.)

  • Whole Grain Tortillas or Flat Bread

  • Cream cheese

  • Pesto

Preparation:

Wash and dry all vegetables. Slice and set aside. Take bottled or homemade pesto and mix with cream cheese to desired taste. Spread pesto mixture onto tortilla or flat bread and add veggies to it. Roll and enjoy!