With a little bite of fall in the air, there is no better time to think about adding some typical autumn veg to your diet.
Far more than just a vegetable for carving jack o’lanterns, pumpkin flesh is a powerhouse of fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and antioxidants like alpha and beta carotene. Alpha carotene protects against cataracts and macular degeneration of the eyes and beta carotene is a potent anti-inflammatory that prevents cholesterol build up in the bloodstream, reducing the risk of heart attacks. The seeds contain protein, essential fatty acids and are an excellent source of zinc, necessary to keep your immune system functioning and to maintain your smell and taste sensitivity. The seeds also have a high level of tryptophan which is useful to help in managing anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
Pumpkin is ‘way more versatile than just using it as a pie filling. You can use fresh pumpkin, peeled and cubed in the same way you might use squash – roast it, boil it down and puree as a side dish, or sauté it an add it to a risotto.
But canned pumpkin can also be a multipurpose ingredient that is useful for lots of dishes beyond a muffin or quick bread. It makes an amazing and high protein/high fibre addition to a smoothie or can be quickly blended into a soup.
But if you love fueling with a dish of pasta, then try this fabulous fall creation. Tastes great, looks beautiful and is packed with nutrition to keep you running strong.
- 1 medium shallot (or ½ cup chopped onion)
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- 6-8 sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice
- Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or non-dairy cheese if preferred)
- Noodles of choice: brown rice macaroni works great but this sauce works well on any shape or style.
· Cook pasta according to package directions (6 to 7 minutes). Rinse and set aside.
· Mince the shallot and garlic; finely chop the sage leaves.
· Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté shallot and garlic until softened.
· Add the pumpkin puree, chicken broth, milk, nutmeg and half of the sage.
· Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
· Season with salt and pepper to taste.
· Add the hot sauce to the paste, then add cheese and mix well.
· Serve and top with remainder of chopped sage and additional cheese if desired.