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The Taste of Autumn

by Helen Houston

Pumpkin is a superfood that is rich in vitamin A, a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, and a good source of fiber. This seasonal squash is great in both savory and sweet dishes.


Oh-So-Refreshing Pumpkin-Orange Granita

Similar to a sorbet, this delicious, sweet Pumpkin-Orange Granita treat couldn’t be easier to make. Cool and refreshing, this dessert is a frozen blend of pumpkin and orange citrus. It is elegant enough to impress guests, yet simple enough to enjoy any day of the week.

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin

1 ¼ cups water

½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate

½ cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon


Combine pumpkin, water, concentrate, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour into 8” square baking pan. Freeze, stirring every 30 minutes to break up ice crystals, for 3 hours or until slushy and uniform in texture. Scoop into chilled dessert dishes.  Serve immediately.  Makes 16 servings of ½ cup each.


Banana Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Banana smoothies.

Frozen banana gives this pumpkin smoothie a thick texture


1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

¾ cup canned pumpkin, chilled

½ cup ice cubes

⅓ cup fresh orange juice

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg

Dash of ground cloves

1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen

Dash of ground cinnamon


Combine all ingredients except cinnamon in a blender and process until smooth. Garnish with ground cinnamon. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.


Pumpkin Pie Dip

This rich, creamy pumpkin dip is also great served with sliced pears, apples, or as a spread on any nut bread.


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sour cream

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp. ground ginger

Gingersnap cookies


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, sour cream and spices until blended. Serve with gingersnaps. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 4 cups.


Pumpkin Soup With Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Soup With Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

No shortcuts with this recipe. It’s worth the effort in celebrating this distinctive vegetable.


1 small pumpkin (3 lbs.)  peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt & freshly ground pepper

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground coriander

4 cups chicken broth


For Spicy Seeds:

½ cup pumpkin seeds, cleaned

1 tsp. canola oil


¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. ground cumin

Pinch of ground cinnamon


Toss the pumpkin with the oil, season with salt and pepper, and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the pumpkin at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes.

In a large, heavy pot, warm the butter. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent.  Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute more. Add the broth and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot and season with salt and pepper.

To make the spicy pumpkin seeds, toss the seeds in the oil. In another bowl, combine the spices. Add the seeds to the spice mixture and toss to coat. Spread the seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. Serve the soup garnished with the pumpkin seeds. Serves 6.



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