It is well and truly pumpkin time. With Halloween approaching and ‘trick or treaters’ in full swing, pumpkins are in almost everyone’s shopping basket this month.
However, once the pumpkin carving settles, rather than binning those scary remains – think about what you’re missing out on…
Why pick a Pumpkin?
Pumpkins are one of autumn’s absolute hero vegetables! They are rich in dietary fibre which not only works to leave you feeling full, but can help to promote healthy digestion. As well as this, pumpkins are filled with beta-carotene which the body converts to vitamin A when consumed. Vitamin A supports skin and eye health, and the correct amount helps to keep our immune system nice and healthy.
The natural sweetness of a pumpkin could help you to manage those sugar cravings too, and prevent that reach for the trick or treater’s sweetie jar!
We are in peak pumpkin season. Choosing to eat seasonally allows us access to the freshest and most flavoursome produce. When a fruit or vegetable is in season, it is more accessible and because of this often cheaper to buy! Usually, there is less chance of the seasonal food being transported long distances, meaning you can consume it when it’s at its most nutritious. Eating in sync with the season’s means your diet will be ever changing and without even trying, will be filled with variety, which again, is an important aspect of a healthy balanced diet.
Making a meal out of it..!
Pumpkins are versatile; they can be roasted and enjoyed as part of a savoury meal, or used to make a yummy breakfast dish or dessert. From pumpkin pie to pumpkin porridge, the options are endless. However for me, there is nothing better than a warming bowl of roasted Pumpkin soup.
To give you a bit of a head start, take a look at my recipe below.
Spiced Pumpkin and Coconut Soup (see image)
Ingredients (serves 5 - 6)
1 Medium Pumpkin
2 Red Peppers
3 Sticks of Celery
1 White Onion
1 can of Coconut Milk
2 Cloves of Garlic
½ Red Chilli
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil for cooking
Peel, chop and drizzle the pumpkin with olive oil, before roasting in the oven on 180c for 30 minutes.
Whilst the pumpkin is cooking, finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and fresh spices.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan before adding the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger, cooking for 5 minutes. Once golden, add the celery, carrot and ground spices and pan fry.
Slice the red pepper into large chunks, drizzle in oil and roast for 15 minutes.
Once the pumpkin and red pepper are roasted nicely, add them to the pan with the other vegetables, as well as 2 pints of boiling water. Season with salt and pepper.
Boil and then simmer for 25 minutes.
Once cooked, and the vegetables are feeling soft, blend. Gradually add the coconut milk and then blend once more.
Serve with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and some chilli flakes. Enjoy!
But why stop there…
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
Don’t toss the seeds, pumpkin seeds have been referred to as one of the most nutritious foods known! They may be small but are filled with health benefits, not only providing you with a dose of protein and omega 3 fats, but containing iron and calcium too. Winning!
By adding them to your morning porridge or lunchtime soup, it will help to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Pumpkin seeds are super easy to prepare. Once removed from the pumpkin just give them a good rinse, get rid of any moisture, and then drizzle in olive oil and season. Finally bake in the oven until crisp and golden brown. Pumpkin recipes ago-go!
Did you know, The Garden have just launched their new menu and pumpkin is most definitely present. Whether you fancy pumpkin in your porridge or a sprinkle of those super seeds on your salad – we’ve got you covered!
Halloween just turned healthy!