We are flooded with everything pumpkin this time of year, and with good reason: It’s healthy. Pumpkin is a rich source of potassium and Vitamin A, as well as Vitamin E, niacin, and Vitamin B6. It’s low in saturated fat and high in fiber.
Canned pumpkin is easy and convenient, but making pumpkin purée isn’t all that difficult either. You’ll need a small or medium-size “pie pumpkin.” These sell for under $2 in the produce section. Make sure it is not a carving pumpkin, which is different in texture and flavor.
Cut the pumpkin in half. Place each side face down (skin side up) on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Check it at 45 minutes (sooner if your pumpkin is small).
When the flesh is tender, take it out of the oven and cool completely. Then scrape the flesh out of the skin. You might even be able to peel the skin off.
Place the flesh in a bowl and mix well. You may want use a blender on low for a few minutes for a creamy texture. It should make about three to four cups of purée.
This pumpkin chili can be made vegan without the sausage, but I found it a tad bland.
Pumpkin, Sausage, and Two-Bean Chili
-1 T. olive oil
-1 large onion, chopped fine
-3-4 celery stalks, minced
-4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
-½ c. pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
-1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
-2 c. vegetable stock
-1 can black beans (15 oz., 425 g)
-1 can white cannellini beans
-2 T. tomato paste
-1 to 2 T. cumin powder to taste
-1 to 2 T. chili powder to taste
-1 lb. spicy sausage
-Salt and pepper
In a large pot, cook sausage thoroughly, drain off the excess grease, and set aside. In the same pot, add olive oil, chopped onion, celery, and garlic for about five minutes on medium heat until onions are soft.
Create a little well in the mix and add the tomato paste. When you can smell the aroma of the tomato paste, stir it into the onion mixture. Then add the pumpkin, tomatoes, stock, and beans. Stir.
Add half the cumin and chili powder, stir well, and season with salt and pepper. Taste. Add the remaining spices (or more) if necessary. Bring to a boil and stir well. Reduce heat to a simmer and add sausage back in.
Cook for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. I like to add a sprinkle of Parmesan and pepitos. Or try sour cream (or better yet plain Greek yogurt) and cilantro.
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
-1 c. rolled oats
-1 t. vanilla extract
-1 to 2 t. cinnamon
-½ t. nutmeg,
-1½ to 2 T. pure maple syrup, or 1 to 2 packs Stevia
-½ c. canned pumpkin
-½ c. milk of choice (try unsweetened almond milk)
-Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 380 degrees and grease mini-loaf pans with coconut oil. Combine oats, spices, pumpkin, and milk in a bowl. Pour into mini-loaf pans until they are half full. Cook for 20 minutes or more until firm.
Broil for three more minutes until crisp (or bake longer, but broiling gives it a nice crust). Cool on a wire rack. Makes two small loaves, or four servings.
These make a great on-the-go breakfast. You can bake them ahead of time and freeze them. In the morning, warm slightly in the microwave and add a dollop of almond butter or honey-sweetened Greek yogurt. You may want to double the recipe to have a few loaves on hand.
For a nice topping, mix a ½ cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of honey and a dash of cinnamon.