Fall is definitely in the air. The mornings are chilly and the evenings now require an oversized sweatshirt and a down comforter. All the best TV shows are slowly creeping back onto the air. And, most importantly, it’s becoming socially acceptable (even encouraged) again to eat pumpkin everything.
Good riddance, summer. You’ve never been all that great to me. I burn under your season’s sun whether I’m wearing SPF 75 or no protection at all; sun block does nothing to protect my fair Irish skin. And don’t even get me started on the heat! Temperatures breaking 100º?! The humidity?!
No, no. Fall is much more my style. The fuzzy sweaters and long scarves. The tall boots. The crisp apples and warm cider.
The pumpkins. I can’t forget about those pumpkins.
Every year around this time I tend to stock up on canned pumpkin. 100% pure pumpkin, not the pie mix…there’s a huge difference in calories, sugar, and added ingredients. Libby’s is my favorite brand of canned pumpkin (and very easy to find in your regular grocery store), however any brand will work well in your fall baking treats.
Pumpkin is so versatile. Many might only associate it with pie or Starbucks, but I encourage you to test the waters when it comes to this superb squash. It’s creamy texture and subtly-sweet taste lends itself nicely to sauces, shakes, and fillings.
Pumpkin ravioli in a brown-butter sage sauce.
Pumpkin overnight oats.
Pumpkin butter spread on warmed bread.
Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
Oven roasted pumpkin slices.
Experimenting with pumpkin is fun and a good way to sneak something healthy into seasonal meals and dishes.
With all its health benefits, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t start implementing the yummy veggie into your dinner (or dessert, or protein shake, or breakfast) rotation. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Like many of its orange comrades, pumpkin contains beta-carotene—an antioxidant that may prevent cancer. Pumpkin is also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and Potassium.
So the next time you’re grocery shopping, stop by the baking aisle and pick up a can of pumpkin (but check the labels first, you really don’t want the pie mix). The blogosphere is flooded with pumpkin-inspired recipes right now (and Pinterest is always on pumpkin overload), so start toying around in your kitchen and create your own autumnal treat, or try out my recipe below. I’d love to hear what you come up with!
And if you already cook with pumpkin, what is your favorite recipe using it?
This Pumpkin Pie Baked Quinoa is the perfect pumpkin starter recipe. The sweetness can be adjusted to fit your needs, and it makes a great warm, fall breakfast. The topping gives it an extra bit of sweetness and provides a nice crunch.
*Reader note: I split the recipe below into two separate mini-loaf tins. I made one exactly as the recipe below calls for, and to the other I made a few adjustments. The adjusted loaf tin was cooked for less time (about 5 minutes less) which allowed it to be slightly creamier in texture. I also added pumpkin spice marshmallows (how could I resist?) on top for the last 5 minutes of cooking. For those of you who are looking for something a little sweeter, I definitely recommend those marshmallows.
Pumpkin Pie Baked Quinoa
Yield: 2 servings
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- ¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup raw quinoa (red or white would work)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1.5 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1.5 tablespoons whole oat flour (whole wheat flour would work)
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- *Optional: 6 pumpkin spice marshmallows, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Grease a casserole dish, or 2 mini-loaf tins, lightly with coconut oil
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients (not the topping) and stir until fully mixed.
- Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish or 2 mini-loaf tins.
- Cover tightly with tin foil for 30 minutes (25 minutes for slightly creamier texture)
- While quinoa is cooking, mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl
- After 30 minutes, remove dish(s) from oven and pour topping over baked quinoa
- Return to oven and cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, watching closely.
- Remove when top has reached a golden brown.
Recipe adapted from Healthful Pursuit.
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