Snack Today: Pumpkin Chickpea Hummus

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pumpkin-chickpea-hummusHappy Halloween! The last few days around our house have been spent carving pumpkins and roasting seeds. Although most people compost the insides of the pumpkin, I say save them and use it to make this great hummus. It makes a great snack, while you are handing out candy!

Pumpkins contain a rich supply of beta carotene and alpha carotene. Loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, you’ll get a mouthful of potassium, magnesium, selenium, and lutein in every bite, plus a good dose of vitamins A, C and E.

There are many healthy benefits of pumpkins. Eating pumpkin has been linked to a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, and its natural anti-inflammatory properties aid in fighting asthma and arthritis. Pumpkin also helps maintain fluid balance, regulate blood pressure, modulate the immune system, and prevent cataracts and arteriosclerosis. A digestive aid, pumpkin soothes the stomach and decreases bloating and flatulence.

If you’re buying a pumpkin to cook rather than carve, get a small sugar pumpkin. Look for a deep orange color and a smooth, dull rind, indicating a mature, sweet pumpkin. Store it in a dry place away from direct sunlight. Once cut, cook pumpkin the same day to preserve its nutrients. Cook pumpkin just like you would a potato. You can use it in soups, or puree it and add to muffins, cakes and breads to enrich their fiber and nutrient content and produce moist, delicious baked goods.

Pumpkin Chickpea Hummus

• 5 cups fresh pumpkin, cubed
• 1 cup canned chickpeas
• Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
• 1/2 cup tahini
• 4 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1/4 tsp ground cumin
• Salt and pepper
• 1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

Place pumpkin cubes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a gentle boil and continue to boil until soft (about 40 minutes). Drain well and blend in a food processor. Return pumpkin to saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until liquid is nearly evaporated (about 25 minutes).

Drain and rinse canned chickpeas. Place chickpeas and pumpkin in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add oil in small amounts, if needed. Transfer to a medium-size bowl.

Stir tahini into pumpkin/chickpea mixture, followed by garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with cut up veggies.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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