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Celebrating Squash – Week 3 of 4…Do You Know Jack?

November 6, 2009

That Orange Jack o’ fun, the Pumpkin

If you think he’s only about pie and being carved, you don’t know Jack.  This versatile vegetable is chock full of good stuff, loaded with vitamin A and antioxidants like alpha and beta-carotenes.  It’s also a good source of vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron. Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 6.5 grams of effective carbohydrate and 3.5 grams of fiber.

 And don’t forget our favorite part – the seeds. Also referred to as pepitas, they’re loaded with minerals and have an anti-inflammatory effect which can help protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup has about 5 grams of effective carb and 1.5 grams of fiber.  Add a dusting of cayenne or chili powder and your seeds get an added boost of capsicum, which can help ward away colds.  Just wash and dry them on a paper towel before seasoning.

So in honor of that time of year kids of all ages love so much, take a tip from Eat Cleaner and try this satisfying Sweet n’ Spicy Pumpkin Soup.  Make sure to clean the outside of your pumpkin with Eat Cleaner before cooking.  Here’s to safe, healthy eating!

Cream of Pumpkin Soup Toppied with Curried Pecans
A delightful crunch of nuts tops this sweet and spicy soup.

Sweet and Spicy goodness.

Recipe courtesy of the Quick-Fix Vegetarian cookbook by Robin Robertson.

SERVINGS
4

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 cups cooked fresh pumpkin (small cooking pumpkins) or 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

PREPARATION
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cover and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the curry powder and the pumpkin puree, then whisk in the broth until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally.

2. While the soup is simmering, make the curried pecans. In a small bowl, combine the pecan pieces with the remaining maple syrup and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining curry powder, tossing to coat. Place the pecans in a small baking dish and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Otherwise, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir back into the pot. Return the soup to the stovetop, turning the heat to low. Whisk in the coconut milk, taste to adjust seasonings. Heat until hot, do not boil. Serve the soup garnished with the pecans.

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