Pumpkins are not just for Halloween. You can have fun with pumpkin on your plate too...because this vegetable I believe is straight out of a health fairy tale!
For starters it is extremely low calorie (just 26 per 100 gm), is loaded with fibre that keeps your gut happy, and it also delivers a lot of vitamin A—a nutrient which keeps our eyes sharp and also has a role in cancer prevention.
It also pumps up potassium, an important electrolyte that keeps our muscles functioning at their best, and delivers vitamin C that can help ward off colds and flus.
Inspired! You can do a lot with it. Add pumpkin to smoothies, purée into soups, mix into oats, stir into plain yogurt and top with cinnamon, whisk pumpkin into cheesy pasta sauces.
To spice things up, here are 10 fun recipes with this extremely versatile vegetable that you should try.
1. Lentil and Pumpkin Soup
Boil red lentil with a little salt till it gets soft. Marinate cubed pumpkin with coconut oil and salt and roast in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius.
Heat coconut oil, temper with curry leaf, add chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chili, coriander powder, cumin powder, and curry powder, and cook until the masalas are cooked.
Now add boiled dal and cooked pumpkin and purée in a blender.
Add water or vegetable stock to it get the desired consistency of the soup, season with salt, warm it and sip.
2. Cold Pumpkin Salad
Steam cubed pumpkin and then mix them with apple, some lettuce, and dress the dish with olive oil, ginger juliennes, pumpkin seeds, and some lemon juice.
3. Warm Pumpkin Salad
Taken cubed and boiled pumpkin. Add fresh coconut, yoghurt, finely chopped coriander.
Add ground black pepper and salt.
Make a tadka of oil, cumin, mustard, green chili, asafoeteda, kari patta, mix it up with the pumpkin, add roasted and crushed peanuts on the top.
4. Quick Pumpkin Stir Fry
Mix steamed broccoli, roasted pumpkin and sliced, caramelised onions, add spices, and season with salt and pepper.
5. Pumpkin Bread
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8" or 9" loaf pan.
In a large bowl blend 1/2 cup honey, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4th cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla, and 2 eggs.
Stir in 1 1/2 cup maida, 1/2 cup mixed nuts, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4th tsp salt.
Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once cooled, loosen the sides of the loaf from the pan and remove the bread from the pan.
Cool completely before slicing.
6. Coconut Pumpkin Subzi
Cook pumpkin cubes with some water. When the pumpkin is three-fourth way done, drain it and keep it aside.
In a pan heat some oil, splutter mustard and cumin seeds, sauté some sliced onion to golden brown, add chopped tomato and fry it for few minutes.
Now add a ground paste of coriander seeds, garlic, ginger, coconut, onion and tomato along with turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala powder, a splash of water and let it boil for a couple of minutes.
Add the pumpkin pieces along with salt and cook for another 5 minutes.
Adjust water according to the required consistency. Garnish it with coriander leaves.
The Sabzi is paired best with roti.
7. Simplest Pumpkin Subzi
Cut the pumpkin into medium-sized cubes.
Heat some oil, splutter Jeera and methi seeds and red chillies. Add the cubed pumpkins and saute for a bit.
Add cumin powder, coriander powder, amchur powder, red chili powder and salt to taste.
Stir, cover, and cook till the pumpkin pieces are tender. Splash water at intervals if needed.
8. Pumpkin Risotto
Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onion and garlic.
Add risotto rice and stir it for a minute.
Add hot vegetable stock or water to the rice and cook till the rice becomes al dente. Add mascarpone (or any other) cheese and butter to the risotto and cook.
Keep stirring while you add chopped roasted pumpkin to the risotto. Season with salt and pepper.
Add chopped parsley, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped toasted walnuts on top.
9. Pumpkin Bake with Feta
Toss cubed pumpkin and quartered onion with oil, honey, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until caramelised and tender in a preheated oven at 425°F . Top with the feta cheese and dig in.
10. One Pot Chicken and Pumpkin Rice
Heat oil, add sliced onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
Add cubed chicken and cook till browned.
Add water, rice, cubed pumpkin, salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is done.
Stir in the chopped spinach, cover, and cook until wilted. Sprinkle some Parmesan on top.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa))