The older I get, the faster life flies by and summer, is well….sort of over, and we are now approaching fall? Saying that, we now get to focus on savoury comfort foods at Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and LettuceLove Cafe (Erinn’s favourite time of year!). As I said in an earlier post, I LOVE pumpkin every day of the year, it doesn’t have to be cold weather for me. Pumpkin is a warming or comforting flavour, it’s easy to work with and totally full of a different kind of nutrition, that we really don’t get enough of during the other seasons.
Pumpkin is incredibly rich in vital anti-oxidants and vitamins like Vitamin A (a cancer protective anti-oxidant and one serving of pumpkin gives us 246% RDA). This humbly healthy vegetable is very low in calories yet a tremendous source of Copper, Magnesium (Bone Health), Calcium (who needs a cow?!), Phosphorus, Potassium. It is also an excellent natural source of poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like alpha and beta-carotenes (carotenes convert to vitamin A in the body), lutein (eye health), zea-xanthin (natural UV filter and sunscreen) and cryptoxanthin. Pumpkin is also high in B Vitamins like niacin, folates, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid and thiamin – which helps us all with stress management (that is ME!). This is just to name a few of the anti-aging and nutritious qualities of pumpkin.
…And the Seeds?? Well, they are full of fibre! As well as, protein, iron, niacin, selenium, tryptophan (brain calming food) and zinc!
In one lovely beautiful, colourful vegetable, we get a powerhouse of nutrition all packed into one big round veggie. Plants are an amazing source of nutrition just waiting for us to explore and enjoy. Just think if you ate for the whole rainbow of colours in the vegetable world, how healthy you’d be!
I’ve included a main dish today for you to enjoy for our upcoming Canadian Thanksgiving. I know it’s a couple of weeks away, but now you have the chance to practice before the big day. I love this dish! It’s one of my favourites and will make your Thanksgiving table look like you slaved all day over a hot stove.
½ cup yellow onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic, (minced)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
1 cup white wine (or veg broth )
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup canned organic pumpkin
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp Earth Balance (Vegan Butter)
½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds (baked in oven or tossed in frying pan)
salt and pepper to taste
- Roast Pumpkin Seeds in oven for 5 minutes or until brown.
- Saute the onion in coconut oil over heat until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add garlic and continue for another minute or so.
- Add the rice and continue to stir for a minute or two.
- Slowly add the wine (or 1 cup veg broth) and stir. Cook for a few minutes to allow the wine flavour to go into the rice.
- Add the veggie broth a little at a time as you want the liquid to be absorbed into the rice. Let the risotto simmer for a few minutes after the addition of liquid. I know this is a little time consuming but it’s worth it. Stir frequently until all the liquid has been used.
- Add pumpkin, nutritional yeast, thyme, dried basil, Earth Balance, roasted pumpkin seeds, salt and pepper. Stirring continually, for a few minutes until the risotto has fully been heated.
- Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds – my favourite!), toasted pine nuts, cashew cream and/or fresh chopped basil