Chef Lauren Creates a Gourmet Pumpkin-Inspired Meal for a Fabulous Fall Feast!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 by Chef Lauren

‘Tis the season for pumpkin everything—lattes, beers, cupcakes, spice. You name it, it’s been pumpkin-ed this month. Beyond tasting delicious, pumpkin has plenty of health benefits. Lucky you, right?

Pumpkins are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, most notably vitamin A. Vitamin A not only promotes healthy vision, but along with antioxidant vitamin E, it aids in immune health, which is oh-so-important as the weather turns chilly.

For your cooking and eating enjoyment I have developed some pumpkin-inspired recipes guaranteed to warm you up and fill you with important micronutrients.

Remember that everyone’s tastes are different, so taste as you go and tailor to your own taste preferences!

 

Mixed Greens with Pear, Bleu Cheese and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

This salad combines creamy bleu cheese with sweet pears and nutty pumpkin seeds for a beautiful and healthy fall salad. The crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed vinaigrette provide you with essential fatty acids as well as plenty of magnesium, zinc and potassium, benefiting both your body and your taste buds.

Note: Use just enough dressing to coat the greens. You will have extra.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix raw pumpkin seeds with spices, honey and oil in a plastic bag and shake until coated.

3. Spread seed mixture over baking sheet and toast for 10–15 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients and stir with a fork or whisk until incorporated.

 

Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 3–4 oz bleu cheese - crumbled
  • 2 pears – sliced

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breast over Wilted Kale with Pumpkin-Orange Puree

This dish provides a combination of ingredients that is sure to impress your friends and family. In addition, this dish is an excellent natural source of vitamins A, C, K, and E as well as iron and calcium.  I think the dish is prettiest when the chicken is plated on top of the kale and the pumpkin puree is drizzled alongside the kale--but get creative, these flavors marry well together no matter how you plate it.

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Breast

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder, honey, mustard and olive oil.

3. Slice chicken breasts in half cross-wise.

4. Pour marinade over chicken breasts. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

5. Remove chicken from refrigerator and wrap each portion of chicken in prosciutto.

6. Assemble on baking pan and roast for 15–20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees F.

 

Wilted Kale

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat.

2. Add garlic and onions and heat until translucent – about 10 minutes.

3. Add chopped kale to onion and garlic mixture along with salt, pepper and chicken broth.

4. Allow to simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

 

 Pumpkin Puree

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Heat a small sauce pan with coconut oil over medium heat.

2. Add garlic and oil, salt and pepper and heat until they are translucent.

3. Add the pumpkin, vinegar, honey and chicken broth.

4. Bring to a simmer. Add more water 2 tbsp at a time if it appears too thick. Simmer for 10 minutes if it appears too thin.

5. Finish with orange zest.
 


 

Chai Spiced Cupcakes
(with bonus Italian Buttercream Frosting!)

This is one of my absolute favorite desserts. While there is no actual pumpkin in this recipe, the combination of spices is reminiscent of everything we love about pumpkin-spiced dishes. Even better news: They’re vegan! I dare you to eat only one.

 

Chai Spiced Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Melt coconut oil.

3. Combine oil, coconut milk, vinegar, and vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

5. Slowly add dry ingredients to the coconut milk mixture and mix until combined. Be careful not to over-mix.

6. Pour batter into greased cupcake liners, 2/3 of the way.

7. Bake for 10–15 minutes.

8. Cupcakes are done when you can insert a knife or toothpick into the center of the cupcake and it comes out clean.

 

At this point you can quit and enjoy your healthier vegan chai spiced cupcakes. If you would like something a little more decadent, I have provided a frosting recipe that is neither healthy nor vegan, but is incredibly delicious. Sometimes it’s nice to indulge.

 

Italian Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl that will fit nicely over a sauce pot.

2. Fill sauce pot 1/3 of the way up with water and bring to a simmer.

3. Place glass bowl over sauce pot and stir egg whites gently until the sugar melts and the egg whites are a warm 130°F.

4. Remove egg white mixture and beat vigorously, preferably with an electric mixer, until fluffy.

5. When egg whites are fluffy, add 2 sticks of softened butter, salt and vanilla and combine.


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