Pumpkins are not just for making pumpkin pies and carving into scary faces at Halloween. In fact, there are lots of savory pumpkin recipes including classic pumpkin soup, pumpkin stew and you can even use this tasty squash family vegetable in salad recipes.
The next time you make a salad, why not chop some small cubes of pumpkin and boil them until they are soft, then incorporate them into your rice or macaroni salad for a splash of color and for their nutritional benefits?
Pumpkins and squashes are used all over the world. They are used to make curries and braises in India, risottos in Italy, oriental pumpkin soup recipes in China and Vietnam, and stuffed pumpkin dishes in the Middle East.
The best pumpkin seed oil comes from Austria and this dark green oil, which is nicknamed “black gold,” is drizzled over salad recipes for a nutty, sweet flavor, or whipped into soft cheese.
Different Types of Pumpkins
You can get great pumpkins from grocery stores or farmers’ markets. If a pumpkin recipe calls for one type of pumpkin and you cannot find it, you can usually use a different variety instead.
Baby Bear is a good variety of pumpkin for cooking. It is firm fleshed, sweet, and suitable for sweet or savory recipes. Delicata is a small white pumpkin with green stripes. This pumpkin has a nutty taste and it dries out when you cook it.
Crown Prince is a bluish gray pumpkin, which is golden inside. It is great for making vegetarian kabobs or roasting. Sweet Mama is richly orange and it is great if you cut off the top, scoop out the seeds, and then bake it whole.
Small Sugar is a medium sized pumpkin with orange flesh. Its high sugar content is the reason it caramelizes so wonderfully. Small Sugar pumpkins are great for making pie fillings. Sweet Dumpling is a small green and white squash, which has a sweet flavor when you cook it and its flesh tastes slightly like chestnuts.
How to Use Pumpkin in a Salad Recipe
The following recipe for Japanese pumpkin salad shows that you can do more with pumpkin that save it for classic pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie fillings.
This recipe is healthy and very tasty. You can use any type of small pumpkin for it. This recipe serves six to eight people.
Healthy Japanese Pumpkin Salad
What you will need:
- 1 small pumpkin, de-seeded and quartered
- 9 oz frozen chestnuts
- 1/3 cucumber, diced
- 5 oz sliced mushrooms
- 2 sticks celery
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
For the Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 crushed cloves garlic
How to make it:Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pumpkin and drizzle it with olive oil. Bake it on a roasting tray for 20 minutes, then add the frozen chestnuts and bake it for another 15 minutes.
Let the pumpkin and chestnuts cool. Chop the pumpkin into bite-sized pieces and mix it with the chestnuts and the other vegetables.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour them over the pumpkin salad. Toss well and serve.
Christine Szalay-Kudra is an author, food expert and mom of four boys. She is the owner of the Recipe Publishing Network, a group of sites dedicated to fine food and information for cooks. When not busy with her business you can find her sharing on one of these social networks at her own URL: http://www.recipepublishingnetwork.org/
Article Source: EzineArticles.com