Let’s face it: most people have a tendency to overeat on Thanksgiving, and later they feel somewhat guilty about all the extra fat and calories. You can avoid some of that guilt this year with a low-fat pumpkin and sweet potato recipe that is also packed with vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene
Both pumpkin and sweet potatoes (and carrots—this recipe has those, too) are a rich source of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant and carotenoid that is converted by the body into retinol, the active form of vitamin A that is essential for vision and bone development. Beta-carotene is also important for the immune system, slowing the aging process, and skin disorders.
This pumpkin and sweet potato recipe also provides other nutritional elements. The barley, for example, is an excellent source of fiber (as are the pumpkin and sweet potatoes as well). In fact, barley contains both soluble and insoluble fiber: soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and slows the absorption of sugar, which in turn reduces the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Insoluble fiber can help maintain regular bowel function and reduce the risk for colon cancer.
This recipe is topped off with crushed walnuts and ground flaxseed, two sources of the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid (ALA). The body converts ALA into another omega-3, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which has anti-inflammatory properties. ALA also promotes bone health by helping to prevent excessive bone loss.
So now, let’s get ready to prepare this nutrient rich, low-fat recipe that serves 8.
Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Medley
2 cups cubed peeled fresh pumpkin
2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato
½ cup red onion, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
½ cup carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
¼ cup crushed walnuts
2 Tbs ground flaxseed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan with oil and place the cubed pumpkin and sweet potato in the pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Take the pan out of the oven and set aside. In the meantime, spray a large saucepan with oil and rapidly sauté the onion, garlic, and red pepper for a minute or two. Add the water, salt, cumin, barley, and carrots to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the barley is done. Remove from heat and arrange on a platter. Dish the pumpkin and sweet potato mixture on top of the barley and mix together. Top with crushed walnuts and ground flaxseed.
This low-fat pumpkin and sweet potato recipe is a perfect complement to your Thanksgiving day table. You’ll be thankful for the no oils and fats and the rich array of antioxidants and other nutritious elements.
Picture credit: Wikimedia Commons