3 Great Uses for Pumpkin + A Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
It’s so much fun to walk through the neighborhood and admire all the Jack-O-Lanterns guarding windowsills up and down our block. I love carving pumpkins, and I love roasted pumpkin seeds even more! Not just delicious, these little nuts are packed with good-quality protein and mono-unsaturated fats, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, including folates, niacin, B-6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid; and essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
After diligently cleaning the pumpkin “guts” off, rinse the seeds and pat dry. Place in a baking pan, toss lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and bake on top rack of a 400 degree oven until the seeds begin to brown, about 10-20 minutes.
What’s In The Can?
As it turns out, pumpkins aren’t just jolly squash. Like the seeds, the pulp is also a health-boosting storehouse of many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and E, B-complex, and the minerals I mentioned above, not to mention loads of carotene. It also happens to be very low in calories but high in fiber, with no saturated fat or cholesterol. It is a staple to serve Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving, so why not make your own organic prepared pumpkin?!
Simply split a sugar pumpkin into two equal halves, scoop out the seeds, place face-down in a greased baking dish or pan, and bake in a 350 degree oven until easily speared with a fork (20-60 minutes depending on the size of the pumpkin and the power of the oven). Let cool a bit, then scoop out the fruit and puree thoroughly. If it’s too early for pumpkin pie, try mixing in 1/3 cup of pumpkin into your morning smoothie in place of yogurt. With some almond milk, protein powder, a frozen half banana, and a dash of cinnamon, you won’t need that high-calorie pumpkin spice latte to commemorate autumn!
Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cupcakes
What’s even better about pumpkin…you can bake with it! I mean, I KNOW about pumpkin pie, but I heard a rumor that you can substitute pumpkin in place of oil and eggs in chocolate cake recipes, so I had to give it a try. I thought I might end up with pumpkin bread, which isn’t a bad thing by any means.
However, it works! With a little tweaking, I have developed a fantastic gluten free chocolate cake substitute that will fool even the most discerning chocaholic, and will satisfy your sweet tooth without filling you up with empty calories. The best part is, this cake is egg-free so you can lick the bowl (not recommended for young children unless you omit the coffee)!
- 2 cups organic brown rice flour
- 2 cups sugar (I used Xyla, an alternative sweetener)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup prepared pumpkin (pureed, baked pumpkin filling)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup strong coffee
- 1/2 cup almond milk (use 1 1/2 cups if omitting the coffee)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Mix thoroughly. Spoon into lined muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes. For complete decadence, try serving with a dollop of vanilla or coconut milk ice cream. Enjoy!
How do you like to celebrate the season of pumpkins? Share a favorite recipe or leave a comment below.