Fresh pumpkin contains vitamins A, C, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, zero cholesterol and just a little sodium, among other benefits. This makes it a perfect autumn-winter addition to a Weight Watchers agenda. To enjoy some of the following recipes, you need to make your own pumpkin puree. Here is how:
Select a medium size bruise-free pumpkin with a nice orange color. Rinse it, and cut it into large halves with a serrated knife. Scoop out the seeds. (You can rinse the seeds to roast them later). Place the pumpkin halves in a baking pan with two inches of water, and bake for 45 minutes at 450ºFahrenheit. If you prefer to microwave, cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces, and place them in a covered microwave resistant pan with two inches of water. Cook it for 15 minutes or until it’s tender throughout. You can also use a large steamer on the e stovetop, but make sure to drain all the water before pureeing.
Any of the previous methods should accomplish a soft, manageable pumpkin flesh. Use a hand blender, food processor or regular blender to puree.
- Pumpkin Dip. Mix one cup of pumpkin puree, 2 minced garlic cloves, one tsp. of olive oil, ½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro, the juice of a fresh lime, a drizzle of light soy sauce, and one tsp. of dry oregano. Then add one tsp. of light butter, a large chopped onion, 2 stalks of fresh celery, and 3 fresh grated carrots until tender. Add 3 cups of fresh pumpkin puree, three cloves of minced garlic, two tbsp. of dried thyme, salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stir once in a while. Add one pt of skimmed, evaporated milk (12 oz.) or soymilk, and simmer again. This serves six.
- Pumpkin Soup. In a large saucepan, sauté together one tsp of light butter, a large chopped onion, 2 stalks of fresh celery, and 3 fresh grated carrots until tender. Add 3 cups of fresh pumpkin puree, three cloves of minced garlic, two tbsp. of dried thyme, salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stir once in a while. Add one pt of skimmed, evaporated milk (12 oz.) or soymilk, and simmer again. This serves six.
- Coconut Based Pumpkin Soup. Pour one can of coconut milk (14 oz.) into a deep pan over medium heat; add one cup of pumpkin puree, 3 tsp. of butter, one tbsp of shredded fresh ginger, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir well. Add one or two cups of low-fat vegetable stock or water (one at a time) until the desired thickness. Add more ginger, if desired. You can use a thicker version of this creamy sauce and pour it over cooked noodles.
- Pumpkin smoothie. Blend together ½ cup of pumpkin puree, ½ of a ripe banana, ¾ cup of evaporated skim milk, 2 tbsp. of honey, one tbsp. of liquid vanilla, one tbsp. of pie spice, and ½ cup of ice cubes. A healthy treat with a wintery flavor.
- Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread. Combine 8 oz. of low fat cream cheese, ½ cup of pumpkin puree, 1 tbsp. of liquid vanilla, 1 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice and a dash of cinnamon. Spread on bread or bagels for breakfast.
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