Those orange fall gourds are great for much more than jack-o’-lanterns. Extremely rich in carotenoids, which can help lower heart disease and cancer risk, and bursting with night-vision-friendly vitamin A, they can be cooked or baked into unforgettable fall treats. Try a spook-tacular pumpkin recipe from The Clean Plates Cookbook, plus three more from friends of Clean Plates. We recommend choosing organic ingredients wherever possible.
Apple and Pumpkin Purée Bran Muffins adapted from The Clean Plates Cookbook
Our original recipe uses applesauce. But for the season, we’ve subbed in antioxidant-rich pumpkin purée!
Makes 1 dozen muffins
1 1⁄2 c. wheat bran
1 1⁄4 c. spelt flour
1 1⁄2 tsp. aluminum-free baking soda
1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt
organic neutral-flavored high-heat cooking oil, such as grapeseed, as needed
2⁄3 c. grass-fed organic plain yogurt or kefir
1⁄2 c. coconut nectar
1/4c. unsweetened or homemade organic pumpkin purée (try the simple pumpkin cooking instructions here, or use instructions from Diane Piazza*)
1 large organic, pasture-raised or antibiotic-free egg
1⁄2 small apple, cored, sliced thinly, then slices cut in half crosswise
Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran and 1⁄2 c. boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Coat twelve standard-size muffin cups with oil. Set the flour mixture and muffin pan aside.
Add the yogurt, coconut nectar, pumpkin purée and egg to the bran mixture, stirring to thoroughly combine. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just shy of combined. Add the apple, stirring just until combined.
Fill the prepared muffin cups to slightly rounded over the top. Bake until tops are browned and set, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and return them to the rack to cool thoroughly.
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Petite Savory Stuffed Pumpkins from Chef Kelly Boyer of PALETA
Farm-to-table meal delivery service PALETA offers fresh (not frozen) meals for busy people. Creator and chef Kelly Boyer especially loves pumpkin, and it’s the highlight of this recipe!
4 mini pumpkins (each about 5” in diameter)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & fresh black pepper
1 c. packaged, uncooked wild rice mix
1 ¼ c. vegetable stock or water
1 whole orange, zested and juiced
¼ c. dried cranberries or cherries
2-3 finely chopped dried dates
2 scallions, chopped
½ c. toasted almond slivers (or rinse, dry and toast the pumpkin seeds from inside the pumpkins)
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. coconut nectar or raw agave
Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly wash pumpkins and core the top inch and stem (do not throw away). Scoop out seeds and use to make roasted pumpkin seeds to replace the almond slivers, if desired.
Lightly coat the insides of the pumpkins with olive oil; salt & pepper the insides of the pumpkins and bottoms of the pumpkin tops. Place pumpkin tops with stems sticking up and pumpkins upside down on a baking sheet; roast for 20-30 minutes, until the flesh is fork-tender. Remove from oven.
While pumpkins are in the oven, prepare the wild rice mix according to the directions on the package (you can use vegetable stock instead of water for a deeper flavor), then set aside.
Zest the orange and put it to the side. Press the juice from the citrus and add to the the dried fruit, in a small bowl.
Add the scallions, orange zest, juice, dried fruit, nuts or toasted seeds, herbs, seasonings and nectar to the cooked wild rice, and combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the wild rice mixture into your roasted pumpkins and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
Top with the pumpkin tops and serve hot.
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Pumpkin Hummus by Chef Charles of RawYouth.org
Charles Chen, a Los Angeles-based chef, cooking teacher and wellness coach, personally transformed his health through food (see before/after pics here). This quick recipe can even be made raw.
1 c. raw cubed pumpkin or lightly steamed pumpkin
1/2 tsp. fresh, grated ginger
juice from 1/2 large lemon
2 Tbsp. tahini
1/4 c. water
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
dash of pepper
raw or toasted pumpkin seeds, as garnish
Blend all ingredients except seeds in a food processor until creamy. Spoon into in a bowl and top with pumpkin seeds, if desired.
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Pumpkin Spice Pudding by nutrition specialist Diane Piazza
New Jersey-based nutritional advisor and recipe developer Diane Piazza created this no-cook pumpkin pudding that’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free—so everyone can dig in!
30 oz. fresh pumpkin purée*, or two 15-oz. cans of organic, unsweetened pumpkin
3/4 c. extra virgin coconut oil, warmed just to liquid consistency
2/3 c. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
In the jar of a blender, mix the pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Blend on high speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the blender jar and blend again for one more minute.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into parfait glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours.
Keep the pudding refrigerated until just before serving. Garnish with your choice of whipped topping and cinnamon, if desired. Will keep for a couple of days covered in the refrigerator.
* To cook the pumpkin, cut it in half. Remove the seeds and strings. Place it on a baking sheet, cut side down and bake in a 325°F oven for one hour or until tender. Scoop the pulp out of the shell and run it through a ricer, strainer or blender.
That’s a great pumpkin.