Pumpkin no longer just for dessert
From pie to pudding, pumpkin often gets relegated to dessert dishes, but the gourd can add seasonal flavor — and a punch of nutrition — to any meal. The squash that’s synonymous with autumn is also packed with vitamins, fiber and protein, making it a perfect ingredient for a variety of dishes. Canned or fresh, pumpkin works in savory and sweet dishes alike.
Better breakfast: Of course, you can always bake up a batch of pumpkin muffins, but why not try giving some other popular breakfast foods the pumpkin treatment? Protein bars, granola and scones all benefit from the addition of pumpkin. Incorporating the squash into breakfast can be as simple as adding a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree, some pumpkin pie spice and chopped pecans to your morning oatmeal.
Making it your main squash: If you think squash as a main course begins with spaghetti squash and ends with zucchini casserole, think again. Whether you're whipping up a hearty batch of pumpkin chili to warm your family on chilly fall days, or adding it for color and flavor to a shrimp curry, pumpkin works either as an ingredient or the star of the show. You can also use pumpkin to replace the ricotta in lasagna, creating a nutritious, flavorful and vegan variation on this popular dish.
Exciting treats: Of course, if you want a seasonal treat, it's hard to beat pumpkin. Coffee houses know this, and every year pumpkin pops up on menus across the country. You don't have to shell out $4 per cup for a pumpkin spice latte. Just make your own latte at home and add a couple tablespoons of pumpkin puree and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
Easy Recipe: Pumpkin Smoothie
1 banana 1 egg 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt 1/4 cup canned pumpkin 1 tablespoon peanut butter 1/3 cup skim milk 1/2 cup ice 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon honey
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.