Melissa O’Shea (aka Market Melissa) tackles Pumpkin.

On Market Foodtraining tours, I encourage participants to buy one new fruit or vegetable each time they are at the farmers’ market or supermarket. What inevitably happens is that I then receive questions such as “what does one do with purple kale?” I decided it would be fun to pick a vegetable, pretend I am the client, and see what I could find. Since Halloween was only a few days ago and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, pumpkin was the first veggie to come to mind.

Pumpkins (a winter squash) are loaded with beta-carotene which is a potent antioxidant and a precursor for Vitamin A (needed for healthy vision). One cup of cooked pumpkin has only50 calories, 3 grams of fiber and zero grams of fat. And don’t discard the seeds, they are loaded with protein, healthy fats and zinc, which is good for immunity.

When cooking, pumpkin certainly isn’t just for pumpkin pie! Try adding pumpkin puree to oatmeal or bread mixes, toasting some pumpkin seeds and adding them to salads, or carving into the pumpkin flesh and using it in soups or roasting it in the oven and enjoying it as a side dish.

To broaden my pumpkin horizons, I made two recipes this weekend. First, a Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup and then a Turkey Pumpkin Chili. Both were delicious and easy to make. You’ll Find the Chili Recipe below, which I adapted from a few that I found in my search.

Turkey & Pumpkin Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground extra lean turkey meat
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid (I like Bionaturae)
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not sweetened pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cumin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Place turkey in pot and cook until brown with a little bit of the garlic. Stir in onion and cook until tender.
Pour water in pot. Mix in tomatoes, pumpkin, beans and garlic. Season with rest of ingredients (chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Simmer longer for a thicker consistency.

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe to share?


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