Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Uses of pumpkin purée

Published:Thursday | October 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Pumpkin purée's rich flavour and creamy sweetness work great in both sweet and savoury dishes. AP
Pumpkin peanut curry bisque.
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Melissa D'Arabian, Associated Press

Pumpkin purée's rich flavour and creamy sweetness work great in both sweet and savoury dishes. While we are so busy topping our pies with whipped cream, we have forgotten what a nutritional bargain this bulbous squash actually is, packing tons of fibre and vitamins. And while it is naturally sweet, one cup has only about as much sugar as milk.

One good part about canned pumpkin's association with Thanksgiving is, it often goes on sale this time of year. Since it stores so well, this is the time to stock up. (True story: I just used my final can of pumpkin from last fall this week in order to make today's recipe.)

Some of my favourite uses for pumpkin purée include:

Stirring 1/2 cup into brownie or chocolate cake batter to add nutrients and moisture.

Adding 1/4 cup to smoothies for creaminess and vitamins.

Slimming down baked goods by swapping out part of the fat for pumpkin purée.

Whisking a bit into stews or chillies for added richness and depth.

Layering it with Greek yogurt, bananas, maple syrup and granola for a super-charged breakfast parfait.

Blending it with coffee, milk and spices for a home-made fall latte.

And let's not forget that pumpkin is, after all, a squash. Why not consider making a pumpkin purée soup? No laborious peeling and cubing needed! The sweet flavour pairs perfectly with spices, but feel free to use pumpkin purée in any of your favourite winter squash soup recipes.

Pumpkin Peanut Curry Bisque

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and cubed (one-inch cubes)

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cubed (one-inch cubes)

3tbsp Thai red curry paste

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 cup water, plus more if needed

15-ounce can pumpkin purée

3tbsp smooth peanut butter

Salt and ground black pepper

Chopped fresh mint or cilantro, to serve.

(1) In a large saucepan at medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until tender, but not brown, about five minutes. Add the garlic, potato, apple and curry paste.

(2) Cook, stirring constantly until the curry paste is very fragrant, about three minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the stock and one cup of water.

(3) Once the liquid boils, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pan, then let the soup cook until the potato and apple are very tender, about 15 minutes.

(4) Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the pumpkin and peanut butter. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and purée until smooth, about one minute. The texture should be like heavy whipping cream. If the soup is too thick, whisk in a bit of water. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between 4 serving bowls and top with mint or cilantro.

Nutrition information per serving:

250 calories

120 calories from fat (48 per cent of total calories)

13g fat (2g saturated; 0g trans fats)

0mg cholesterol

28g carbohydrate

7g fibre

10g sugar

8g protein

770mg sodium

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the upcoming cookbook, 'Supermarket Healthy'. See her website at www.melissadarabian.net.