For the Love of Pumpkin

By and on October 12, 2016

Autumn isn’t autumn without savouring one of Canadians’ all-time favourite foods during this season – the pumpkin. While most of us enjoy pumpkin pie, the versatility of the fruit makes it a go-to staple for soups, roasting, baked goods and purées. Here are some of my favourites from leading cookbook authors who love pumpkin as much as I do.

This dinner centerpiece from The Pumpkin Lover's Cookbook by Lyuba Brooke can be made vegetarian by omitting the chicken and vegan by selecting a vegan cheese source at your favourite health food store.

Southwest Stuffed Pumpkins

Stuffing is not just for turkey—it’s time to stuff some pumpkin! I love making stuffed “pumpkin bowls” because it is not just a creative way to serve dinner; it also adds the delightful seasonal flavour of a  pumpkin to the dish. Baking and serving various dinners and soups in a pumpkin bowl makes a nice, healthy alternative to the bread bowl . – Lyuba Brooke

Ingredients
1 (2-lb.) pumpkin
2 chicken breasts
2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion 
3⁄4 cup black beans, drained        
3⁄4 cup corn (drained if using canned)    
1 Tbsp. cilantro
1 tsp. chili powder            
1 tsp. cumin                         
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican mix cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.                   
2. Take the stem off pumpkin. Cut it in half and take out seeds and strings using a metal spoon or an ice cream scoop. Lightly salt the inside of the two pumpkin halves.
3.Cook chicken breasts over medium heat with some salt. Let cool until they can be handled and diced into small cubes.
4. Dice tomatoes and onion, and add them to a large mixing bowl.
5. Add diced chicken, black beans, corn, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Mix all together until evenly combined. Mix in cheese.
6. Divide mixture between two pumpkin halves, and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.
7. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until pumpkin has softened.    

Excerpted from “The Pumpkin Lover’s Cookbook,” by Lyuba Brooke. Reprinted with permission of Cedar Fort, 2015.

Pumpkin Sage Soup

Pumpkin Sage Soup

This smooth and creamy pumpkin soup will fast become a popular at your house. It will satisfy kids and adults alike. Addition of potato will bring a sense of familiarity for kids and will quickly become a better mate for a grilled cheese sandwich than tomato soup. – Lyuba

Ingredients
1⁄2 medium yellow onion 
2 lbs. pumpkin
1 medium Idaho potato 
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
3 garlic cloves,chopped
Salt, white pepper
2–3 cups vegetable stock (just enough to cover the veggies)    
5–6 fresh sage leaves, minced
1⁄4 cup heavy cream    
1⁄2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

Directions
1. Peel and seed the pumpkin. Chop it into small cubes.    
2. Peel and dice potatoes and onion.
3. Heat up oil in a pot, over medium heat. Add onion, pumpkin, and potatoes to the pot.
4. Add chopped garlic, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add just enough stock to barely cover the veggies. Add minced sage. Cook until veggies are fully cooked, 10–15 minutes.
6. Slowly transfer the contents of the pot into a food processor. Make sure to crack the lid to let the steam out. Blend well and return to the pot.
7. Add heavy cream and cheese. Stir until all cheese is melted and smooth. (Be very careful here; the soup will bubble and splash when it starts to heat up.) Keep slowly stirring for a couple of minutes and take off heat.

Excerpted from “The Pumpkin Lover’s Cookbook,” by Lyuba Brooke. Reprinted with permission of Cedar Fort, 2015.

Honey Almond Crunch Pumpkin Energy Bites

Honey Almond Crunch Pumpkin Energy Bites​

These little energy bites are perfect for a fast breakfast. They are ready in a flash, are packed with nutritious ingredients, and will keep you full for hours. Grab a couple on your way out of the door and give some to the kids. You will enjoy this delicious and healthy way to jump-start your day. Makes 8-10. – Lyuba

Ingredients
1 cup old fashioned oats            
1⁄2 cup homemade pumpkin puree        
1⁄3 cup honey
1⁄4 tsp. vanilla 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon        
3⁄4 cup chopped toasted almonds    
2⁄3 cup flax seed
2 Tbsp. white chia seeds 

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.    
2. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the mixture and form 1-inch balls.
3. Keep covered and refrigerated.

Excerpted from “The Pumpkin Lover’s Cookbook,” by Lyuba Brooke. Reprinted with permission of Cedar Fort, 2015.

The Pumpkin Lover's Cookbook

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

When my friends invite me for a visit, I ask them, “What would you like me to bring?” They always respond, “Bring your pumpkin loaf!” I guess they like it. This whole-grain loaf is made with whole-wheat flour and lots of antioxidant-rich, health-protective spices. Pumpkin is an exceptional source of beta-carotene. Flaxseeds are rich in fibre, heart-healthy omega-3 fats, as well as cancer-fighting plant compounds called lignans. Enjoy! Makes 2 Loaves. – Liz

Ingredients
¾ cup low-fat milk (skim or 1%)
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2½ cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup ground flaxseeds
2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups pumpkin purée
1¼ cups pure maple syrup
¹⁄³ cup canola oil
2 omega-3 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350°f (175°c).
2. In a small bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, flaxseeds, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, baking powder and baking soda.
4. In another small bowl, mix together the milk, lemon juice, pumpkin purée, maple syrup, canola oil, and eggs.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. Pour equal amounts of the mixture into two lightly greased 
9 × 5-inch (2 L) loaf pans.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of each loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Excerpted from "Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate", by Liz Pearson. Reprinted with permission of Whitecap Books, 2014.

Broccoli, Love & Dark Chocolate
 

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