Pumpkin is a vegetable that most people associate with filling fall breakfasts, delicious soups and stews, and irresistible seasonal desserts. With the onset of winter comes the pumpkin craze. You suddenly see the pumpkin take on many forms and it begins to show up in various recipes. But, pumpkins are not reserved just during the fall and can be consumed all through the year in many different ways. Though native to North America, pumpkins are widely grown for commercial purpose and are used both in food and recreation.
Healthy Ways To Use Pumpkins
Pumpkins are used in many dishes that we have all tried and relished. But, here are 7 creative, healthy, and unconventional ways that you can use pumpkins.
1. Ice Cream
Pumpkins can make your ice cream creamier! Blend a few slices of pumpkin and frozen banana along with some vanilla protein powder or vanilla extract. Then, add a couple of cans of coconut cream and puree until smooth. Store this mixture for 3-4 hours in the freezer for it to harden. Once it hardens, remove it from the freezer and blend it once again. What you get is a smooth, creamy pumpkin flavored ice cream that tastes great and has plenty of health benefits. Add some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves before blending it makes it even tastier.
Preparing thick, smooth pudding without using any cream or dairy is easily done by adding some pumpkin. Just as it makes smoothies smooth and creamy, your puddings too can become more delicious. Add a few slices of pumpkin and frozen banana into a blender and make a coarse paste. Then, add some vanilla protein powder or vanilla extract to enhance its flavor and blend it till it takes on a fine texture. This gives you a creamy pumpkin pudding minus the refined sugar, which makes it a healthy food.
Gnocchi is thick, small, and soft dough dumplings usually prepared from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, eggs, cheese, or potato. But, even pumpkins can be used to prepare delicious, pillowy gnocchi. Begin by cooking some pumpkin and then mash it well. Pass this through a cheesecloth or fine sieve to remove the extra moisture. Then, add some flour and continue the same way as you prepare regular gnocchi. What you get is tasty, pumpkin-flavored gnocchi that tastes even better with a dash of rich mushroom miso sauce. Pumpkin gnocchi goes well with other fall vegetables like Brussels sprouts and roasted cabbage.
Pumpkins offer a wide variety of baking options and you can infuse your creativity and imagination to bake a delicious cake or brownie. If you want to bake really fudgy brownies without using sugar, oil and processed ingredients, just add some pumpkin. The moisture in the pumpkin helps in keeping the brownies fudgy inside and the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin makes sugar and other sweeteners unnecessary. Adding raw cacao improves the taste and give you the benefits of antioxidants, making it a healthy, chocolate treat!
5. Breakfast Cereal
Fall mornings can be quite chilly and what you need is a hot cereal breakfast. All you have to do is add a few tablespoons of pumpkin when you are making your oatmeal. Adding pumpkin makes it thick and creamy, especially when you cook it with coconut milk, cinnamon, and ginger. It also contains high levels of fiber that helps you feel full for a longer duration.
Adding some pumpkin can make your smoothies thick and creamy, not to mention the health benefits that pumpkin offers. In fact, your smoothie can be so thick and creamy that you may have to eat it with a spoon instead of drinking it. Add a quarter cup of sliced pumpkin into your blender the next time you make a smoothie. Adding a whole cup of pumpkin can transform your smoothie into a pumpkin pie smoothie.
7. Dressings And Sauces
One way to make vegan cheese sauce even more creamier is to simply add some pumpkin squash. Pumpkin makes it thicker and you can pour it over pasta, or turn it into a nacho-dipping sauce or even use it as a dressing for salads and vegetables.