September 14, 2013

Ginger-Pumpkin Breakfast Smoothie

I was out for Thai food the other day and I saw a dish on the menu that caught my eye:  Pumpkin curry.  It was a no-brainer!  I’m a fan of all things pumpkin.  I have pumpkin tea at my work desk.  If I see pumpkin tempura when I’m out at sushi, I always order it!  And I admittedly get excited when all the pumpkin spice lattes get released as the leaves start to turn…..  Sadly, off season it can be hard to find canned pumpkin, let alone fresh.  Once we have reached autumn, though, I take this opportunity to reap the health benefits of eating every part of my favorite gourd.  Pumpkins aren’t just for carving anymore….

 Though China now produces the most pumpkins and pumpkin seeds in the world, did you know that Illinois is the biggest producing state in this country?  There is some compelling research on the health benefits of pumpkin (especially the seeds!) as well including a healthy lipid profile with high oxidative capacity and some anti-cancer benefits from the lignins and flavones in these seeds.   Pumpkin seeds are nutrient powerhouses rich in zinc, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and tryptophan.  To prepare seeds, separate them from the pumpkin innards and rinse well.  Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes at ~175 degrees.  There is some research that suggests increased health benefits when seeds are not overcooked. 

I like the seeds, but I also really like the flavor of the gourd itself.  Here is a new take on an old recipe of mine, perfect for a fall breakfast: 

Ginger Pumpkin Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup ice cubes
1 small-medium banana (ripe)
8 ounces almond milk (unsweetened)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (dried ginger is fine, too if you don’t have fresh)
1 tsp peanut or almond butter
½ tsp vanilla extract (pure, organic if possible)
½ cup pure pumpkin (can use organic canned or fresh pumpkin puree if possible)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Enjoy immediately. 

No comments:

Post a Comment