What an incredibly useful plant the pumpkin is. It gives us the flowers to make fritters with, the tender leaves can be briefly cooked and used in salads or back home, my grandma makes the tastiest “al kanij ta waangun” ( pumpkin leaves and baby eggplants). Then, when Halloween is around the corner, we bring the pumpkins home and make them into Jack o lanterns, or make pies and soups. And when carving those pumpkins we save up the seeds to either roast or dry up and store to use later.
Pumpkin was not my favorite vegetable to eat, unless my mom cooked it in a spicy sauce, which she often did. However, I loved the dish made with its greens and also loved the fritters made from its flowers. Having said that, the most favorite part of the pumpkins for me was the seeds. And it still is.
There is a bond that establishes when you roast a batch of pumpkin seeds and sit together to eat them. You pick the nutty, salty seeds one by one and either chew it with its shell on or painstakingly peel it to reach to the meaty nut inside. Which ever way you eat your pumpkin seeds, it makes for lasting memories.
My sisters and I would carry roasted pumpkin seeds in the pockets of our Pheran along with some walnuts and almonds for snacks – to be munched on while we played for hours in snow or while we watched the local cricket team play a game. The cricket watching was mostly eye candy [9 fielders, 1 wicket keeper, 1 bowler, 2 batsmen = a Lot of
guy eye candy].
Now now, Don’t get distracted.. we are not talking about those guys. Today we are talking about the pumpkin seeds and why they are so good for us. Yes they are high in calories, BUT I don’t bother about that when I know that :-
Pumpkin seeds have phytosterols, these are compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol. They also contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep. They are a great source of zinc, making them a natural protector against osteoporosis. They are alkaline-forming seed and contain good quality protein.
Some studies have shown that pumpkin seeds prevent kidney stone formation, reduce inflammation for arthritis without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Need more? How about they just taste so so so so good ? And so is this recipe of Couscous Salad with Sauteed Greens & Pumpkin Seeds. It is Power food, to say the least.
Do check the recipes from Jeanette at jeanetteshealthyliving ; Martha at Simply Nourished Living ; Mireya at Myhealthyeatinghabits ; Alyce at More time at the table ; Minnie at thelady8home.com , Casey at Sweetsav .
Couscous Salad with Sauteed Greens & Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/2 C cooked whole wheat Couscous
- 1/4 C chopped kale
- 1/4 C bean sprouts
- 1/4 C purple cabbage
- 1/4 C braising Vegetables (or a mix of any green leafy vegetables)
- 2- 3 Tbs chopped carrots
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 Tbs pumpkin seeds
- Romaine lettuce leaves to serve (optional)
- Heat the oil and add in carrots to sautee for a bit.
- Add in the cabbage and sautee some more
- Add in the braising vegetables, and the kale and cook until they turn a deep shade of green. Add in the bean sprouts, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
- Mix to combine and now add in the couscous.
- Mix well, turn off heat.
- Add in the pumpkin seeds and serve in romaine lettuce cups.
I used carrots to balance out the tartness from vinegar, those can be substituted by peas. The taste of this salad depends largely on the quality of the produce, so use the best you can ( organic highly recommended) as there isn't much to help it out if the basic greens are not tasty.