Thanksgiving is upon us and one of my favorite fall foods is pumpkin! Ah, the magical properties of pumpkin! On top of their overall flavor and all the diverse things you can make from them, I love that pumpkins can sooth common Fall complaints such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, skin issues, and constipation.
In Chinese medicine, the Fall is linked to the lungs and large intestine. It’s a time of being inspired and also of letting go. Many of us tend to feel a bit “thin skinned” or sensitive physically and emotionally at this time. Our lungs can be a bit more tender and delicate in relation to the dry air. Simultaneously, allergens can trigger our bodies to produce mucus, which accumulates and irritates the respiratory system creating a prime breeding ground for infections. According to Paul Pitchford of Healing with Whole Foods, pumpkin can dry excess fluids, helping to resolve phlegm from the lungs, which is a common part of the problem in asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and sinus infections. At the same time, pumpkin seeds are excellent for moistening the bowels for constipation and for resolving dry skin issues including eczema. Pumpkin seeds are also good for reducing inflammation in conditions like arthritis and prostititis because they are high in antioxidants.
Here are 5 very different recipes including pumpkin or pumpkin seeds that you can enjoy over the holiday weekend!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- raw pumpkin seeds
- sea salt
- olive oil or butter
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Clean and dry pumpkin seeds.
Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or olive oil and sea salt.
Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.
Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
OR for a quicker preparation
Cook pumpkin seeds in a dry 9- to 10-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 4 or 5 minutes until puffed and golden. Transfer to a bowl or serving dish and sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil or butter
Other optional seasonings:
- cumin and coriander
- vanilla sugar and cinnamon
- black and red pepper, celery salt, and paprika
Eat them whole or cook then grind them into a powder to put into your smoothie
Pumpkin Chai Smoothie
I’m not a big fan or frozen drinks. They are way too hard on my digestion and feel like a rock in my stomach. That said, I still have a desire for smoothies from time to time. To manage the craving, I whip up a frozen smoothie recipe removing the ice and adding more liquid. Here’s a smoothie that I recently made in my Vitamix that I loved! I’ve listed how to make it with or without ice.
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice cube
- 1/3 cup almond milk or 3/4 cup almond milk if you remove the ice cubes
- 1 chai tea bag
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen OR 4 datesDash of ground cloves
- Dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
- 3 T of roasted pumpkin seeds, ground
Warm the milk, steep the tea bag for 5 minutes and add honey (can be made in advance and left in the fridge)
Add all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Ethiopian Spiced Pumpkin Bisque
I found this pumpkin recipe on FatFreeVegan.com and it's almost impossible to believe that it has no dairy or animal products. You can see the recipe here as I've made no changes to it. You can substitute a nice organic beef stock instead of vegetable stock if you want a richer flavor, but it's certainly not necessary. Personally, I would use coconut milk over soy milk. And go ahead and sprinkle some of those roasted pumpkin seeds you made on top - the cumin and coriander ones are a perfect addition.
Pumpkin Chai Bread
While I'm not a regular wheat eater, a good sweet bread will always get me excited, especially a pumpkin one. I contemplate eating this the Friday morning after Thanksgiving with a nice cup of Pu-er tea. I found this recipe on Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach but it's from All That's Left Are the Crumbs. Again, no major changes are needed. It's pretty lovely the way it is. She's also got her own version of a Pumpkin Smoothie on the same page that's simple but delicious.
Easy Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream
Finally, it wouldn't be right to list pumpkin recipes without including at least one pie. When a patient recently asked me for a simple and easy pumpkin pie recipe, this is the one I gave her. While I've got lots of fancy schmancy pumpkin pie recipes, this is always the old standby. It’s is a slightly adapted version of a very dependable and delicious pumpkin pie recipe guaranteed to satisfy on a cold fall night. Oh, and like every other recipe I've mentioned today, add some roasted pumpkin seeds as a garnish. The vanilla sugar cinnamon ones are perfect here.
- 1 frozen 9-inch deep-dish pie crust, thawed, pierced all over with fork
- 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
Preheat oven to 400°F. Reshape crust edge to form high-standing rim. Bake crust until browned, pressing bottom and sides of crust occasionally with back of fork, about 14 minutes. Cool crust on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, vanilla, and allspice in large bowl to blend. Whisk in eggs. Pour into crust (some filling may be left over).
Bake pie until filling is puffed around sides and set in center, about 55 minutes. Cool pie on rack. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours, or cover and chill overnight.)
Beat whipping cream, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in bowl until peaks form. Spoon large dollops around edge of pie and serve.
(Gently adapted from Bon Appetite)