I may or may not be obsessed with pumpkin. OK, OK, I am. There, I admitted it. Now let me help you see why!
See, when I find something I like, I want to make to make the most of it. I put it to work for me. Kind of like a great circuit training session or bootcamp, I want superfoods that will "work" at 110 percent when it comes to fortifying my daily eating. Iceberg lettuce, processed chips and the like need not show up.
Pumpkin is that "all-in, 110 %" superfood for me this time of year. It can be eaten all day long, in multiple forms, and my diet is healthier for it. It falls under my Paleo eating plan. It is packed with fiber and good carbs plus beta-carotene and Vitamin A. It is also inexpensive and easy to find canned or whole in the fall. That's what I call #winning.
So here are my five favorite uses for pumpkin lately:
2. In pasta sauce: The pumpkin gives any marinara or bruschetta a smoky, rich, fall flavor and also boosts the nutritional profile of the sauce, which is already rich in lycopene. If you are a Paleo eater, use it over spaghetti squash. If not, use whole wheat pasta. So good, and so easy! Add chicken for extra protein and call it dinner!
3. In pancakes: This past weekend I took a coconut flour pancake recipe and added 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and voila! Fall pancake goodness!
4. In soups and curries: Last week I had this blogger geek moment when Sarah Fragoso, author of Everyday Paleo, started following me on Twitter and we had some chatter back and forth. Gah! Awesome! Well, her recipes are delicious whether you adhere to Paleo or not. And this time of year, pumpkin soups or curries with pumpkin added are so, so comforting - and healthy when done right. Check out Fragoso's Creamy Pumpkin Curry recipe. Wow. #EAT!
5. In Sweet Potato "Pie" Mash: My recent switch to Paleo eating has forced me to be very attentive to the carbs I take in. Specifically, I have to be sure to get enough, from the right sources, particularly on days when I teach two or more cycling and/or bootcamp classes. So sweet potatoes are my Paleo friend, but sometimes I want something a little more fun. And sadly, pumpkin pie isn't the best choice. But this is: Bake a sweet potato, turn it into a mash and add pumpkin, 1/2 a scoop of vanilla egg protein (I use Jay Robb brand), cinnamon and a little agave nectar or honey for sweet, high-octane "pie" fuel! Delicious!!!
So what am I missing? Are you finding other awesome ways to use pumpkin? PS: Next week I am sharing my Pumpkin-Apple "Pie" Paleo Cookie recipe, but in the meantime if someone sends me an amazing paleo-or-not pumpkin cookie recipe, I might just get happy enough to send a giveaway surprise!