better for you food, fall, Florida winter, food, salads, soups, Tasty Tuesday, winter

Pumpkin for Lunch

One my favorite things about fall is the cooler weather. I know what you’re thinking – “Erin, you have no idea what cool weather is. You lives in Florida.” Well, I do know a thing or two about weather because I haven’t always lived in Florida. And hey, don’t knock Florida – it can get cold down here too!!


Anyways, as I was saying, I love the feeling of fall. The leaves begin to turn different colors before they make their final descent to the ground. The days shift between bright and sunny to cloudy and almost snowy looking. The winds begin to pick up and there’s a crisp chilliness in the air. Even the air begins to smell sweeter. Everything about this weather makes me want to bundle up in a sweater and sip some hot soup. And so, I thought I would feature some pumpkin soups and stews for you to try. Of course, it’s still a bit warm here, so I’m also sharing a pumpkin salad dressing!




Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. While the oven is pre-heating, rinse off your pumpkin. Use a knife to stab the hard outer shell a few times for ventilation.
  3. Place the whole pumpkin in an 8×8″ glass baking dish, and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you may to use a larger pan and bake for longer. You know the pumpkin is ready when the flesh is darker, and the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and carefully cut it in half. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes, until cool enough to handle.
  5. Use a large spoon to scrape out the seeds, and reserve them for another use (like the pumpkin seeds in my last post!)
  6. Remove the skin and transfer chunks of the cooked pumpkin into a food processor. Blend until a smooth puree is formed. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pumpkin.
  7. Now you have homemade pumpkin puree to use it in your favorite pumpkin recipes! The puree can be refrigerated for up to a week in a sealed container. It can also be frozen.



Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing



1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree 
1 teaspoon minced garlic or about ½ teaspoon garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and combine. Chill until ready to use. (Super easy, right?)


Pumpkin & Red Lentil Soup


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups cubed pumpkin 
1 cup dry red lentils
6 cups water
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
Cayenne pepper to taste
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until translucent (about 5-6 minutes).
  2. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add pumpkin, lentils, and water. Bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat and cover with a lid. Gently boil for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  5. Place small batches of soup in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Return soup to sauce pan over medium heat. Add ginger and cumin. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper, if desired; cook, stirring constantly, until soup is hot.


Pumpkin Turkey Chili


1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilis 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 lbs ground turkey
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin puree
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans (or your fave), drained and rinsed
½ – 1 cup water
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp oregano
1 T chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste 

  1. In a skillet, brown the turkey until cooked through, breaking it into smaller pieces.
  2. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  3. Serve topped with some plain Greek yogurt, green onions or shredded cheese.

21 day fix counts: 1 Red, 1 Green, 1/3 Purple, 1/3 Yellow, 1 blue (if you add cheese)

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Serves 6.



Pumpkin Thai Soup


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

1 small onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 T Thai red curry paste
3 cups pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
5 cups chicken broth
1 lime, juice
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1, 13.5 fl oz can coconut milk 
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

  1. Sauté the onion, red pepper, garlic, ginger and curry paste in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add to the slow cooker, along with the pumpkin puree and chicken broth.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Allow to cool for about an hour.
  4. Pour the cooled soup into a blender and puree until it is completely smooth.
  5. Pour back into the slow cooker. Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, sriracha, salt, pepper and cilantro.
  6. Cook on low for an additional 20-30 minutes.
  7. Serve with more cilantro, coconut milk and peanuts on top.

Serves 6.



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