Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Alfredo

Every time around Hallowe'en, I like to try something with pumpkin in it. I'm not a big sweets eater, so it typically means something main dish. I found this and couldn't wait to try it!

Pumpkin Alfredo

1 package fettuccine noodles
1 package soft silken tofu
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flaxseed
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
olive oil and sea salt to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, combine all sauce ingredients together in a food processor. Blend until smooth. When pasta is finished cooking, drain, rinse and return to pot. Toss in a light amount of olive oil to evenly coat the noodles. Combine the sauce with the pasta and mix well. Throw some pecans on top!

The flavor was very nice and mild, not as spicy as I expected. I put whole pecans on top, but I think mixing in some chopped pecans would be a good idea.

I tried making the sauce in the blender at first, but that didn't work so well. Definitely use a food processor for getting a good blend of the ingredients. The flax seeds add a nice little crunch.

Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000 to 5500 B.C. References to pumpkins date back many centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was changed by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin." Native American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets centuries before the pilgrims landed. They called pumpkins "isqoutm squash", and used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine finding the seeds to be useful in eliminating intestinal parasites. The tribes also used pumpkin seeds to treat kidney problems. The seeds are still used to prevent kidney stones, but it is not known how this works. They also dried strips of pumpkin and wove them into mats. Indians would also roast long strips of pumpkin on the open fire and eat them. When white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by the Indians and pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets. As today, early settlers used them in a wide variety of recipes from desserts to stews and soups. The origin of pumpkin pie is thought to have occurred when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, removed the seeds, and then filled it with milk, spices and honey. The pumpkin was then baked in the hot ashes of a dying fire. In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.

A 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that 68 percent of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. A magnesium deficiency can eventually lead to serious conditions like heart disease, hypertension and diabetes if left untreated. One way to make sure you don’t fall into this category is to regularly incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet. Pumpkin seeds are so high in magnesium that just one quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains approximately 87 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium for an adult. A great source of phosphorus and manganese, pumpkin seeds also contain protein, iron, calcium, zinc and a variety of vitamins including B, K and A. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the zinc in these seeds has proven to help prevent osteoporosis in both men and women. Omega-3 fatty acids found in pumpkin seeds create a natural anti-inflammatory effect so arthritis-sufferers can find relief without the negative side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Phytosterols, a naturally occurring compound found in pumpkin seeds, have been found to be helpful for lowering LDL cholesterol. Pumpkin seed oil helps keep testosterone from inflicting damage on the male prostate cells and therefore helps reduce prostate cancer development. Pumpkin seeds help ease difficult urination by inhibiting enzymes associated with prostate enlargement. Pumpkin seed extract can also help those with incontinence issues by increasing testosterone levels and strengthening the pelvic muscles.

I can find pumpkin seeds year round at my local grocery store in the bulk aisle. I'll definitely be using pumpkin seeds much more often!


  1. It was! Some in my family prefer to salt their food more than others, so personal preference plays into it.


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