Pumpkins …… they remind us of autumn and Halloween, orange meadows and cool, crisp evenings. Can you hear the crunch of the leaves as they scuttle across the ground and the chill swish of the breezes? Eerie pumpkin faces often look at us on October 31st, as they act as doorway decoration for the scariest night of the year. However, in their case, this orange globe contains more than meets the eye.
Perhaps the most recognized member of the squash family, pumpkins date back thousands of years, the first seeds from Mexico being recorded between 7000 and 5500 B.C. Yet while we use them mainly as decoration and for pies, their host of nutritional benefits is so incredibly vast that it’s important to incorporate them more frequently into our diets.
Their health benefits include:
- a whopping amount of beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A in the body and is thought to protect against cancer, heart disease and diabetes
- a low-glycemic food which is good news for both diabetics and those wishing to lose weight as they do not cause blood sugar levels to rise
- a good amount of fiber which slows the digestion and makes you feel fuller longer
- are low in calories
- contain about 20% of the daily amount of vitamin C which helps ward off colds and flus
- are wonderful for the skin, making it softer and smoother and boosting the production of collagen ~ look for an upcoming post to learn more!
Have I convinced you yet that pumpkin needs to become part of your autumn meal plan?
Pumpkin Fireside Kidney Bean Curry
Beans and pumpkin combine to celebrate the flavours of autumn.
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 -2" cinnamon stick
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 ½ tsp fresh grated ginger
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- 1 ½ cups vegetable stock or canned coconut milk
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ of a 3 lb. pumpkin, peeled and diced
- 2 -15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained (or approx. 3 cups cooked)
- 4 large kale leaves, stems removed and leaves sliced
- yogurt (or vegan yogurt) and grated apple for garnish, if so desired
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add onion, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and cook until the onions are soft, about 7 min.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and cayenne, stir in and cook another minute.
Add vegetable stock and tomato paste, stirring until tomato paste is incorporated.
Add diced pumpkin and simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the kidney beans, cooking for another 10 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and pierces with a fork.
Add kale leaves and cook for 3 minutes just until kale is wilted.
If desired, garnish with yogurt and grated apple. Serve in bowls with some rice for a warm fall meal.
Food For Thought: “Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” ~ Teresa of Ávila