When the fall weather hits, the days get a little shorter, and the leaves start changing colors I get super excited to be back in my kitchen again! It’s time for warm cozy meals with loved ones, delicious soups, baked goods, quiet mornings gazing out the window with my tea in hand, and all things pumpkin! In honor of the changing season I whipped up this little recipe for some good friends on a rainy night last week. Mid bite I remembered just how much I love this season. AND cooking with pumpkins.
Today’s recipe features this often overlooked nutritional powerhouse. Pumpkins, while also being pretty great to decorate with, are absolutely packed with disease fighting, wellnes enhancing nutrients. Here’s a look at just a few of the health benefits of eating pumpkin and this heavenly, heart warming fall soup.
Eyesight: Pumpkins are chock full of vitamin A and carotenoids, the phytonutrients that give pumpkins their lovely orange color. Both protect your peepers over the long haul, and that protective effect is amplified when they are consumed together.
Weight Balance: As a high fiber, low calorie food pumpkin helps you feel full longer while delivering great nutrition to your body. Which helps keep our weight balanced and healthy.
Cancer Prevention: Beta Carotene, one of the powerful antioxidant carotenoids, as well as Vitamin A and other antioxidants in pumpkins, likely play a big role in cancer prevention according to the National Cancer Institute.
Heart Health: Pumpkin seeds, as well as many other nuts and seeds, have chemicals called phytosterols in them that appear to decrease absorption of cholesterol and thereby lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels.
So instead of just carving up this amazing little squash this year, add it to your list of must-eat seasonal superfoods.
1 medium organic pie pumpkin (Alternative: one 15 oz can pumpkin puree)
1 can coconut milk (15 oz)
1 cup raw cashews
32 oz vegetable broth
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1) Prepare the pumpkin. Cut it in half. Remove the stems. Scoop out the seeds. Cut it into smaller chunks. Steam for about 30 minutes or until both the pumpkin flesh and skins are tender. Toss the seeds or save them for baking later.
2) Combine the vegetable broth, coconut milk, and cashews in a large soup pot while the pumpkin is cooking. Bring to a boil, then simmer.
3) Sautée garlic and chopped onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat while everything else is cooking. Once the onion is becoming translucent and soft it is ready.
4) Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, sautéed onion and garlic, and steamed pumpkin (with skins on to get as much of the nutrition as possible) into the soup pot.
5) Simmer on medium heat for 5-10 more minutes
6) Blend the soup mixture, VERY carefully, in a high powered blender. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Pour the mixture into the blender. Place the lid on and hold with a thick towel. Start on low and slowly increase to high speed. Blend until the mixture is sillky smooth and creamy.
7) Serve and Garnish with a dash of nutmeg and handful of raw pumpkin seeds.