chickpea

I’m Bringing Pumpkin Back. Yeah!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought we’d talk a little bit about pumpkin. And seriously, in the season of dry skin, what else is there to discuss as the temperature drops around us. I’m serious, these days my skin looks like I have a serious problem. No lie, I literally Googled ‘itchy arms’ today and went through a slide show titled, ‘The Ten Most Common Skin Rashes’ on WebMD. The good news: I am 95% sure I do not have ring worm. Fingers crossed. PS – when did googled become a verb?

Let’s get back to pumpkin. Boasting ~50 calories per cup (cubed), this little wonder should be a fall/winter staple in your kitchen. While it’s low in calories and fat, it also contains an ample, almost excessive, amount of vitamin A – a key nutrient in maintaining healthy skin, teeth, bone, retina and soft tissue. It is found in vegetables and fruits in the form of pro-vitamin A, beta carotene. If you did not know, beta carotene is an antioxidant crucial in protecting cells from damage.

For more benefits of the beautiful of pumpkin, click here.

In the meantime, here is one mean pumpkin recipe sure to provide you with warm comfort food during the week or please your Thanksgiving Day (Vegetarian) crowd.

Kale, Pumpkin and Chickpea Skillet

Serves 4-6 (entree)

1 bunch of kale, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh pumpkin
1 can chickpeas, partially drained
1 small jalapeño, minced*
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Olive oil
Juice from 1/2 Lemon

Heat a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, add chickpeas and simmer for ~10 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed. Add minced jalapano and continue to sautee until liquid is gone and pepper is slightly cooked.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LRN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LRN

Meanwhile, in a duct oven, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add pumpkin and continue sauté for ~15 minutes until pumpkin is fork tender.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Stir in kale and garlic cook for another 3 minutes until kale has wilted and garlic is fragrant, but not browned.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Remove from heat. Fold in chickpeas, walnut, parmesan and lemon juice.

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Image by Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Plate and serve!

Recipe Notes:

Jalapeño – I kept 1/2 the seeds from the pepper, feel free to adjust seed amount. The more seeds, the hotter this dish.

Summer Barley Bowl

THR is back! Not that it went anywhere, but I’m sure a one week hiatus left you all pretty worried. It’s been a busy week for yours truly, what with a trip home and a nonstop work schedule for the last couple of weeks. In case you were wondering what my trip looked like back to the Midwest – please just see below.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Yeah, all I ate was BBQ. If you’re ever in St. Louis be sure to hit up Pappy’s Smokehouse. This fine establishment opens at 11am and closes when they run out of succulent smoked meat – seriously. So when I returned from my long journey home, there was only one thing to do: reintroduce myself to plant foods. Thus was born this beautiful Summer Barley Bowl.

Temperatures are rising out there and cool, light foods are where it’s at! This is a dinner that won’t heat up your kitchen or weigh you down as the summer nights get longer. In an effort to think outside the rice bowl, I used an alternative whole grain – barley. Do not be intimidated by this lovely grain, it cooks up just like rice and turns out a meatier product than its step sister rice. Feel free to experiment with this recipe. Enjoy my dear readers!

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Summer Barely Bowl

Serves 2

Lemon Yogurt
1 (6 oz) nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives
salt

Barley
3/4 cup dry quick-cooking barley
2 tablespoons fat-free ricotta
1 ounce light feta

1 can chickpeas, drained
Olive oil
Pepper

Toppings:
Pea shoots
2 tablespoon toasted slivered almonds
1 small avocado, sliced
1/2 English cucumber, sliced
Fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine lemon yogurt ingredients, cover and chill while you prepare the rest of the bowl components.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada MS, RD, LDN

Place chickpeas in an 8×8 baking dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with pepper. Place in preheated oven and roast for ~30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare quick-cooking barley according to directions. Once cooked, fold in feta and ricotta cheese.

Divide barley evenly between two bowls. Top with chickpeas, cucumber, pea shoots, almonds, avocado and parsley. Top with a dollop of yogurt and serve.