October might call for cozying up with pumpkin spice lattes and muffins, but the sugar and fat (and cream cheese frosting!) can offset the nutritional benefits of this fall favorite. A delicious part of many healthy diet plans, and high in beta-carotene and potassium, pumpkin can be roasted and eaten like any other squash, making it a great option for hearty grain bowls and salads.
Explains Lori Welstead, RD, at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center, “Pumpkin is a good source of soluble fiber, which has heart healthy benefits. It is often well tolerated from a gastro-intestinal standpoint. Pumpkin is delicious roasted, in soups or used in replacement for oil in brownie recipes. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, which is important for immunity boosting during this time of year.”
Roasted Pumpkin and Pear Grain Salad
- Mediterranean diet
- 1 small pie pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 ripe pears cut into cubes, peeled or unpeeled
- 2 cups cooked grain (brown rice, white rice, or quinoa, or a combination)
- 4 cups mixed greens
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 T. fig jam
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lightly oil a baking pan and roast pumpkin for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until just tender when pierced by a fork.
- Let cool for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Whisk olive oil, vinegar, jam, mustard and salt and pepper in a bowl (or shake in a sealed jar) until combined.
- Gently mix pumpkin, grains, cranberries in a large bowl with 4 T. of dressing.
- Place pumpkin mixture on bed of greens and top with diced pears and crumbled cheese. Serve immediately.