BRINGING IN THE FALL SEASON WITH HEALTHY DELICIOUS, SATISFYING MEALS, STARTING WITH PUMPKIN SOUP!
It’s time to usher in the fall and I get so excited when I start to see pumpkins and pomegranates everywhere I go shopping for food. It signals the start of the holidays, cozy blankets, candles, sweaters, and wood-burning fireplaces crackling. We’ve already made our trip to the pumpkin patch and chose our pumpkins some for carving and some for eating. I love all the different ways you can prepare and enjoy pumpkins.
I wanted to give you a bit of information on the benefits of pumpkins in your diet and share a recipe for Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!
BENEFITS OF PUMPKIN!
A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkins contains more than 200% of recommended daily intake of Vitamin A! I’ve spoken about foods rich in carotenoids, those are the compounds that give pumpkins their bright orange colors and that includes beta-carotene.
Seeds and nuts including pumpkin seeds are rich in a plant-based chemical called phytosterols that studies show reduce LDL or bad cholesterol. Don’t throw away the seeds after you carve your pumpkin clean and dry them out and roast them in the oven for a healthy snack. I sprinkle them on salads, stir them in my yogurt and use them in my granola recipe.
Pumpkins are a rich source of beta-carotene and may reduce cancer risk according to the National Cancer Institute.
Foods rich in beta-carotene help protect the skin and can boost your mood and immune system.
There are so many ways to include pumpkins in your diet that will benefit your health. Besides the obvious, pumpkin pie, there’s pumpkin soup, risotto, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, waffles, pancakes, cheesecake, cupcakes and the ever so famous “Pumpkin Spiced Late”!
SPREAD THE WARMTH
Today’s recipe is a delicious, hearty feel good “Pumpkin Soup” with roasted pumpkin seeds to warm your body and soul. There is nothing better to take the chill off a cold autumn or winters day than to sit and enjoy a hot, creamy satisfying bowl of soup!
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onion peeled and sliced
4 scallions chopped in pieces
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-15 ounce can organic pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 -quart vegetable broth
1 cup coconut cream
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of goat cheese. Roll into 6 round balls the size of a large grape then rolled gently in the chopped chives, set aside.
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
6 tablespoons walnut oil
2 scallions sliced thin on a diagonal, green part too
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1 jalapeno sliced thin (optional)
In a soup pot on medium-high add olive oil, heat for 1 minute.
Add onion and scallions, sauté 8 to 10 minutes until the onions start to caramelize. Add sherry, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and mix.
Add pumpkin, 1 quart of the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer for 40 minutes.
Add coconut cream mixture and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour the soup mixture into a blender and blend for 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
Pour the soup back into the pot and bring to a gentle boil.
Ladle into heated soup bowls, (I rinse the bowls in hot water before I put the hot soup in to take the chill off the bowl it helps keep soup hot) or I place the bowls in the oven for 10 minutes at 200F.
Use oven mitts to remove the bowls.
Scatter on some pumpkin seeds
Drizzle over 1 teaspoon of walnut oil
4 to five pieces of chopped scallions,
add a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds
Add 2 to 3 slices of jalapeno if using! 🙂
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
Nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds are rich in certain plant-based chemical call phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol”. (reference Flickr.jaxzin)
Phytosterols are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes. They are similar to your body’s cholesterol.
They compete with cholesterol on absorption in your digestive system. New research suggests that one phytosterol called stigmasterol may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. It appears to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid protein that builds up in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. Research is still preliminary. It can help protect our brains as well as the heart.
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups pumpkin seeds*
½ teaspoons garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon chili
½ teaspoon ground cumin
*if you don’t have time to use fresh seeds from the pumpkin you can use raw seeds you can find in your market. But don’t forget, if you are carving pumpkins, don’t throw away the seeds!
Pre-heat 350 F
Scrape out the seeds of your pumpkin and make sure you remove any unwanted pumpkin rinds and slimy threads. Soak and clean seeds in a bowl of cool water for an hour then drain.
Fill a small pot with water and a ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Bring the water to a boil add seeds and boil gently for 10 to 12 minutes, drain.
Pour the seeds onto paper towels and pat dry. Place clean and dried seeds aside in a bowl add olive oil and toss.
In a small bowl whisk garlic and onion powder, salt, cayenne pepper, chili, and cumin. Add to seeds and toss making sure to coat the seeds.
Spread the seeds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, checking after ten minutes to make sure they are not burning. Shake the baking sheet halfway through roasting. Keep an eye on the seeds to avoid burning them. Remove from oven and cool.
Enjoy pumpkin seeds as a snack, tossed in salads, sprinkled on top of your avocado toast, in cereal, on yogurt, and in smoothies!