Pumpkin: October's Food of the Month
Good nutrition is important! Every month we will provide information on one of our favorite foods, and some great ways to incorporate it into your weekly meals.
The featured food for the month of October is pumpkin. As we move into the fall season we see pumpkin foods and drinks everywhere, with everything from pumpkin pies to pumpkin flavored lattes. Unfortunately, most of these tasty fall treats aren't the healthiest option or the best for your budget.
Pumpkin on its own has a variety of nutritional qualities, including antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and a high nutrient density. Continue reading for a few healthier fun fall options!
This month we tried three different recipes:
(The above links to external websites are to provide recipes only. WFL does not support or endorse any of the above websites, their content, or their creators).
I have added/omitted some ingredients based on personal preference. Please feel free to add/omit ingredients based on your personal preference.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Stove Top Latte (with milk) Ingredients (This is the one I tried):
-1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
-1/2 cup brewed coffee
-1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
-1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
-1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Blended Latte (more concentrated coffee flavor):
-1 cup brewed coffee
-1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
-1 tsp almond butter
-1 Tbsp maple syrup
-1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Whipped cream optional (not as healthy but a tasty treat :) )
Stove Top Latte Instructions (the one I tried):
1. Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan, and stir over low heat until the mixture is warm and smooth. Serve immediately.
(I added my own touch by adding a bit of whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice on the top).
Blended Latte Instructions:
1. Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.
Healthy Flourless Pumpkin Muffins
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1/3-1/2 cup pure maple syrup
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-4 Tbsp almond butter
-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
-2 1/4 cup rolled oats
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and then grease/line a muffin tin for 12 muffins.
2. Layer all ingredients besides chocolate chips into a blender (start with wet ingredients: pumpkin, maple syrup, eggs, almond butter, vanilla, and milk). Blend until smooth.
3. Stir the chocolate chips into the batter. Pour the batter into the muffin cups so that each are about 3/4 full. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes, until light golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before eating. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days.
Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Noodles
-1/2 cup raw cashews & 2 cups hot water (I substituted with 2 1/2 cups cashew milk)
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-3 garlic cloves, minced (omitted)
-Salt & pepper, to taste
-1/4 tsp ground sage (optional-omitted)
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
-1 lb pasta (recipe recommends gluten free, I used regular)
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2. While cooking, add cashews and hot water to a high powered blender and blend on high until creamy, about 1 minute. Set aside. (I skipped this step since I used pre-made cashew milk).
3. In a large non-stick skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmery, add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes (I skipped this step as well). Add the salt, pepper, and sage (if using), and cook another minute or two.
4. Add the pumpkin puree and half the cashew milk into the pan. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining cashew milk and nutritional yeast, and whisk until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
5. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan to toss with the sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs, fresh cracked pepper, and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately
If you hadn't noticed by now, I have some dietary restrictions (with no dairy being one of them). Did you know that an estimated 30 million to 50 million American adults are lactose intolerant according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services? As a result, I found these three dairy-free and relatively healthy recipes to be very intriguing (as well as the perfect way to welcome fall!).
The first recipe, the pumpkin spice latte, was incredible! It was extremely creamy, and while the whipped cream wasn't the healthiest touch, it was certainly delicious. With how simple it was to make, I can definitely see myself making this on my own rather than purchasing a latte from somewhere else. I have yet to try the blender version of the recipe, but it sounds excellent as well. I'm interested to see what it would be like with cold brew coffee and will likely try it sometime soon.
The pumpkin muffins came out of the oven looking different than the photos from the original recipe which was worrisome at first. However, the taste was great, and I later realized that the texture difference was an oversight on my part regarding the limited capability of my blender. I believe that if I had used oat flour (rather than trying to blend all of the ingredients) I would have had a smoother batter and muffin as a result. Regardless of texture, I loved the pumpkin and chocolate taste combination and plan to make these again later this fall.
I was particularly excited to try the vegan pumpkin alfredo, as it has been a very long time since I have been able to eat any form of alfredo sauce (due to dairy content). I'm not a huge fan of garlic, so I did omit the garlic cloves when I made the recipe which may have skewed the taste a bit. The texture of the sauce was very creamy, and even had close to a "cheese" taste to it which was surprising. This wasn't my favorite recipe, but I did enjoy it enough that I happily ate all of it. It would be interesting to play around with different spices and flavor combinations to get the taste just right.
I hope you'll give some (or all) of the above recipes a try! Let us know what you think :)
The above recipes and information are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Please consult a registered dietitian or physician to determine the best dietary guidelines for your individual needs. The opinions expressed above are subjective.