Our theme for October’s Recipe Redux has to do with one of my favorite colors: orange! “Orange You Glad It’s Fall?” I certainly am!

Markets are plentiful with the colors of autumn including pumpkin, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and even golden beets. Not only are these produce bursting with fall flavors but they are also chocked full of carotenoid antioxidants.

No matter how they look, pumpkins are loaded with carotenoids!

What’s a car…carrot…caroten…that thing you said? ker-ROT-n-oids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. Fruits and veggies in red, orange, and yellow (hey, fall colors!) have various concentrations of this. Even leafy greens like kale and spinach contain the yellow carotenoid hidden beneath a healthy concentration of chlorophyll. Vitamin A helps protect your cells against damaging free radicals, improves your immune system…and you know the old saying about how carrots are good for your eyesight? Well with all that beta-carotene,  there just might be some truth to what mom used to say at dinner time!

After making the Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding for the “How to Tofu” challenge sponsored by the National Soyfoods Council, not only have I been eating a lot of tofu (and scrapping several failed recipes), I’ve been craving the delicious taste of pumpkin. So much so that I’d like to share two pumpkin recipes with you today!

Recipe 1: Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
I love baking with spelt flour. It’s more substantial than regular white flour but can still result in tender cakes with the addition of fats, such as coconut oil. Plus, if you’re sensitive to wheat products but not allergic, spelt flour is easier on your stomach. Here I’m using several coconut ingredients: coconut extract, coconut milk, coconut oil, and dried coconut. Am I coo coo for coconut? You bet!

I asked my husband what he thought of these and he said, “It tastes like windmill cookies (spekulaas)…in cake form!”

mini pumpkin coconut muffins

Pumpkin Coconut Muffins
These tender muffins are filled with warm spices and delicate coconut flavor. 

Ingredients:

2 cups spelt flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/2 teaspoon allspice*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic (or non-organic) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted (or cooking oil)
1/2 cup organic coconut milk, such as Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk (or almond milk, soy moo or moo juice)
unsweetened coconut flakes

*alternatively, use 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray or line with paper baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients until well blended. Add to dry ingredients (mixture will be thick).

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pans until 2/3 full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. For mini muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes. For regular sized muffins, bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Makes  approximately 20 regular muffins, 40 mini muffins.


Recipe 2: Pumpkin Risotto:
After buying a few pumpkins at Frog Pond Produce Stand to decorate our front door I had pumpkins on my mind…again. I wanted a cozy, comforting pumpkin dish for dinner. What could be cozier than a creamy risotto?

Warm up a chilly evening with this creamy pumpkin risotto.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto, serves 2
Sage, nutmeg and allspice makes this dish warm and savory with a bit of heat from red pepper flakes.

Ingredients:

1/2 pie pumpkin, seeded (about 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)
cooking spray
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup arborio rice
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon dried sage, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In an 8″x8″ pan, add 1/2″ water. Place pumpkin cut side down in pan, carefully score with a knife. Spray outside with cooking spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until soft. Let cool for a few minutes, drain any remaining water from baking dish. Peel off pumpkin skin (I actually like to eat it!) and mash the filling in the baking dish with a fork. Set aside.

After the roast.

Pumpkin is very tender, removing skin and mashing with fork will be a cinch.

In a large frying pan, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cook for 1 minute. Add sage and salt, cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add onions, cook for 1 minute. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

In the same frying pan over medium heat, add risotto and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed, adding 1/2 cup more each time but don’t let the pan dry out. Stir frequently and keep adding broth and cook for 20 minutes. Risotto should be chewy, almost done.

If you like, replace 1/2 cup of the broth with a wheat beer or white wine.

After 20 minutes add half of roasted pumpkin (about 1 cup) to risotto, stirring well. Add rest of pumpkin, remaining sage and salt, and red pepper flakes and nutmeg, stirring well for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and onions and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more. Add more salt to taste.

Serve on a bed of spinach or lightly steamed kale, topped with roasted pumpkin pieces. Enjoy!

Check out other nutritious fall favorites from fellow Recipe Redux members:


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