Can I Eat My Halloween Pumpkin?
Typically, the best pumpkins to eat are baking pumpkins, also called sugar, sweet, or pie pumpkins. They are sweeter and less fibrous than pumpkins grown for decorative purposes. Pie pumpkins range in size, but the 5- to 10-pound pie pumpkins are most often grown. Pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns are usually 10-25 lbs.
I had a baking pumpkin from Halloween sitting on my porch. After I roasted it, I made some pumpkin muffins, but had too much pumpkin! The leftover pumpkin puree was sitting in the fridge for a week and I don't like to waste food. So on a whim, I decided to try to make gluten free pumpkin waffles.
I know gluten free recipes can be a bit finicky sometimes. Keeping that in mind, I decided to use the Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Waffle & Pancake mix I already had on hand.
Arrowhead Mills actually had a recipe on the back of the package for plain waffles, which I adapted (recipe below). As a dietitian, I wanted to add a few extra ingredients to kick-up the nutritional profile.
Nutritious Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles
First, the added pumpkin made the waffles a healthy breakfast on their own, which is packed full of vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and fiber. These contribute to everything from eye to digestive health.
Nevertheless, I added more!
Both for flavor and nutrition, I threw in a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa. (Learn about the nutritional benefits of chocolate in my blog "Is Dark Chocolate Really Good For You?".)
Cocoa is low in calories, and has a small amount of fiber, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and niacin. You won't get your daily recommended value of these vitamins and minerals with a tablespoon of cocoa, but it contributes towards the amounts you need during the course of the day. Plus, it made the house smell like cake!
The two teaspoons of cinnamon I tossed in provide polyphenols and anti-inflammatory properties. These can help fight off pain, inflammation of the arteries, and even help protect against cancer. Cinnamon also may lower your cholesterol, and reduce your blood sugar. Believe it or not, cinnamon may help fight off fungal and bacterial infections, too, including bad breath and cavities!
Finally, after the waffles came off the iron, I topped them with a bit of maple syrup, fresh strawberries, and slices of banana. The strawberries offer phytonutrients that are being researched for their role in preventing Alzheimer's dementia. Bananas, along with the strawberries, provide potassium, fiber, and can even improve mood.
The outcome you ask?
The Taste and Texture of Gluten Free Waffles
These gluten free pumpkin waffles came out soft, warm, and with the coziest of flavors. And despite the syrup, I didn't feel guilty about eating these at all. They made a healthy breakfast, and when I paired the waffles with chicken, made a great dinner as well.
So how do you make them? The recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffles is below, but remember, you can add your own spices like nutmeg or ginger, toppings like ice cream or nuts, and even use canned pumpkin instead of fresh. (Find home-made ice cream recipes here.) Add your own creativity to make it delicious!
The brand of gluten free waffle mix can be exchanged for another as long as it has xantham gum or you add it in.
The recipe called for whole milk, but I used almond milk. Ensure the milk has some fat and protein to activate the baking powder in the waffle mix. Any oil that you have in the pantry will work, but canola and olive oil are low in saturated fat.
GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN WAFFLES
(adapted from Arrowhead Mills' recipe)
1 cup gluten free waffle & pancake mix (I used Arrowhead Mills)
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup milk (any kind)
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (or baking pumpkin pureed at home)
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl while the waffle iron preheats.
Let stand for 2 minutes.
Cook waffles until the steam coming out of the waffle iron decreases.
Serve with your choice of topping(s).
Chocolate, agave, or maple syrup
For nutrition services, including coaching by a dietitian and protein assessments, visit www.ZESTNutritionService.com