In addition to being a beautiful decoration for fall, pumpkins and squash are full of incredibly nutrition that you and your kids can enjoy all fall. Pumpkins are a source of fiber and several vitamins and minerals, as well as beta carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A, and therefore supports eye health and development in us and our little ones. Beta carotene is also an antioxidant, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of some types of cancers including breast cancer in pre-menopausal women…that’s us ladies!!! Below I have listed a variety of ways that you can add pumpkins, squash, and sweet potatoes to your diets this fall with muffins, smoothies, puddings, and soups. You can also add them to any crock pot dish or stew, and of course roast and add to a salad for a colourful topping. In any of the recipes below that call for canned pure pumpkin, this is referring to plain pumpkin…not the pie filling. You can also bake a cooking pumpkin and then scoop it out for an ever fresher flavor and more guarantee of all nutrients.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and healthy fats, and are a source of protein. Add these to your salad, trail mix, cereal, or just on their own.
Pumpkin Oatbran Muffins
1 cup all-purpose Flour
1 cup Whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup oatbran (found in the cereal section of the grocery store)
½ cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup 1% Buttermilk (or skim milk with ½ tsp white vinegar added)
1 can (796 mL) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp canola oil
Optional: ½ cup crushed walnuts or pecans
Optional: ½ cup raisins or dried apples or dried cranberries
- Combine all dry ingredients and make a well in the centre.
- Combine all wet ingredients and pour into dry ingredients. Add nuts and/or dried fruit as desired. Mix together until moistened. Do not over mix.
- Spoon batter into non-stick muffin pan and sprinkle with topping.
- Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
Makes 18 muffins.
Serves about 4-6
1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin Puree
1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Skim Milk OR another milk of your choice…I like to use unsweetened almond or soy milk for the nutty flavour
1 Tbsp natural peanut or almond butter
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup orange juice (optional)
12 ice cubes
Instructions: Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve chilled or freeze for amazing popsicles.
1 large can Pure Pumpkin-NOT the pie filling OR The contents of 1 large (or 2 small) pie pumpkin baked and gutted
1/4 cup brown sugar
½-1 Tbsp. cinnamon (depending on your taste preference)
1/3 cup NatureEgg Egg Whites (or 2-3 egg whites)
¼ cup Oat bran
1 tsp vanilla
- Mix together pumpkin with other ingredients using a blender or electric hand mixer.
- Pour mixture into a baking pan.
- Bake uncovered at 350° for 45-50 minutes, or until mixture is warmed through and sides are browning.
- See serving suggestions below.
Makes about 10 servings (1/2 cup each).
Sweet Potato Soup
2 pounds peeled Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil or Becel margarine (optional)
4 cup Soymilk (or more if you would like it to be thinner) or other milk
1-2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp pureed garlic
2 cups white beans (that have been soaked overnight and boiled to the point of ready to consume) OR 1 large can of white beans drained and rinsed
- Peel, chop and boil sweet potato until soft (or you can microwave them and peel).
- Puree with soymilk and add remaining ingredients to desired thickness and taste.
- Add White beans and puree again until smooth.
Low-Fat Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp curry powder
1 pound bag of baby carrots
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
- In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onion until softened.
- Stir in cumin and curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
- Add carrots, sweet potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes, transfer vegetables to a blender and blend until smooth, working in batches.
- Reheat and serve.
Butternut Squash Soup
2 Butternut Squash
1 red onion
2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth OR milk (skim, soy, or almond milk all work well)
- Cut butternut squash, apples, and onions into quarters and bake at 375 degrees until all are softened…generally takes about 45-60 minutes (the squash will be the last to soften).
- Put these all into a blender or food processor and add broth or your choice of milk.
- Blend until smooth, reheat on stove, and enjoy!