Pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin curry, pumpkin pie…there’s a lot you can make out of pumpkin. This was a vegetable I really didn’t like (or eat) in India. That was, until I tasted roasted pumpkin for the first time! After that, this was a veggie I’ve learned to love.

The cooler months are here and my veggie boxes come with pumpkins every other week.

I’ve made a pumpkin sweet, very similar to the carrot halwa that we make in India.

Instead of dairy milk, I’ve used almond or cashew milk. I’ve subbed raw honey for the processed sugar. I’m sure any other natural sweetener would work too.

This recipe uses only 5 ingredients, all of which are easy to find and buy.

What are the star ingredients? And what are their benefits?

Pumpkins – This is a starchy root vegetable that is a prebiotic. This means that it feeds certain good bacteria (and even the probiotics) in your gut. Together they work synergistically, so get both prebiotics and probiotics.

Most high-fiber foods are prebiotics, so you should be eating one cup a day at least. Pumpkins have a high vitamin A level, which is a potent antioxidant. It is essential to reduce the stress that we all are exposed to – environmental, diet, lifestyle, medications, etc.

This vegetable is great for eye health, preventing inflammation, stabilising blood sugar, bone health and could help prevent cancer. It is also an immune boosting food.

They contain vitamin C, B2, B3, B6, K, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

You can store pumkin for a long periods of time. Make sure it is outside the fridge in room temperature.

Studies show that the carotenoids present in pumpkin could increase with longer storage. All root vegetables have a high concentration of nutrients in their skin, so if you don’t like the skin on them, peel it and add it to your broth.

Also, don’t throw out the seeds. Wash, dry and oven roast them with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. They are crunchy, tasty and full of nutritional benefits. Be mindful though, as there are known cases of allergies to pumpkin seeds.

Ghee – It helps to reduce the risk of cancer due to its high CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) content.

It could help with weight loss, fighting inflammation, improving the health of the gut, etc.

Ghee also contains vitamins A, D and E. These vitamins help maintain bone strength, is good for the heart and brain, eyes, skin and balances hormones (among many other benefits).

It has also been proven to heal wounds fast and very effectively if applied topically.

Cardamom – or elaichi, is often called ‘the queen of spices’. It is a lovely spice which is used extensively in India. It has a slightly sweet taste and a divine smell.

These little pods with teeny seeds inside are full of phytonutrients which protect our bodies against free radical damage.

Cardamom also helps prevent cancer, tooth decay (it could also help with cavitites!) and prevents obesity.

There are numerous studies showing that it helps reduce inflammation in type 2 diabetes. Hooray! A simple dish, ready in minutes and so nutrient rich.

5 ingredient pumpkin pudding

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert, healthy snack, kids snacks, Snack
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dairy free, easy, gluten free, nutrient dense, processed sugar free, quick, snacks
Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsps ghee
  • 1-2 cups grated / whizzed raw pumpkin (skinless) butternut squash works best
  • 1 cup milk plant based or dairy
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 cup raisins optional
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts optional
  • 1 tbsp raw honey

Instructions

  • Heat the ghee in a thick bottomed pan on medium heat
  • Add the pumpkin and stir till incorporated
  • Add the milk, cardamom and salt and stir
  • Let it cook for around 13-15 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked. Stir occasionally
  • Once the milk is incorporated into the pumpkin, turn the stove off and add the cashews and raisins
  • Let it cool just a bit and mix the honey into the sweet
  • Serve immediately
 

REFERENCES

Jaswir I, Shahidan N, Othman R, et al. Effects of season and storage period on accumulation of individual carotenoids in pumpkin flesh (Cucurbita moschata). J Oleo Sci. 2014;63(8):761-7.

Kim HY, Nam SY, Yang SY, et al. Cucurbita moschata Duch. and its active component, β-carotene effectively promote the immune responses through the activation of splenocytes and macrophages. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2016 Oct;38(5):319-26.

Lee KW, Lee HJ, Cho HY, Kim YJ. Role of the conjugated linoleic acid in the prevention of cancer. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2005;45(2):135–144. doi:10.1080/10408690490911800

Kotian S, Bhat K, Pai S, et al. The Role of Natural Medicines on Wound Healing: A Biomechanical, Histological, Biochemical and Molecular Study. Ethiop J Health Sci. 2018;28(6):759–770. doi:10.4314/ejhs.v28i6.11

Effects of cow ghee (clarified butter oil) & soybean oil on carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes in rats Rita Rani and Vinod K. Kansal* Indian J Med Res. 2012 Sep; 136(3): 460–465. PMCID: PMC3510893 PMID: 23041740

Azimi P, Ghiasvand R, Feizi A, Hariri M, Abbasi B. Effects of Cinnamon, Cardamom, Saffron, and Ginger Consumption on Markers of Glycemic Control, Lipid Profile, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes Patients. Rev Diabet Stud. 2014;11(3-4):258-266

Aghasi M, Koohdani F, Qorbani M, et al. Beneficial effects of green cardamom on serum SIRT1, glycemic indices and triglyceride levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial. J Sci Food Agric. 2019;99(8):3933-3940

Rahman MM, Alam MN, Ulla A, et al. Cardamom powder supplementation prevents obesity, improves glucose intolerance, inflammation and oxidative stress in liver of high carbohydrate high fat diet induced obese rats. Lipids Health Dis. 2017;16(1):151. Published 2017 Aug 14. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0539-x

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