Open/Close Menu Supporting Research at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center

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

(Serves 4)

  • Mediterranean diet
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian/Plant-based


  • 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.

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