Pumpkin power: gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin muffins
By Joel MacKenzie, Staff Writer
Did you have a microwavable, turkey TV dinner this Thanksgiving? Doesn’t this depress you? Look to College Cooking for recipes, ideas, and healthy eating information to help post-secondary students create healthy, unique, satisfying food for cheap.
Nothing reminds me of fall more than pumpkin. But it’s more than just a flavour. The squash has unique properties that make it a great addition to any healthy diet.
Pumpkin is high in fibre and phytonutrients. One such phytonutrient found in pumpkin meat is called beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid and antioxidant. Carotenoids typically give foods an orange colour; they may also have a direct healthy effect on the body. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1998 found that people eating higher amounts of carotenoids coming from natural sources, like fruits and vegetables, have a lower mortality from chronic illnesses. Antioxidants terminate chain reactions in the body caused by oxidation, a complicated process that can cause damage or death to cells. And beta-carotene is changed to vitamin A in the body, healthy for the eyes and other processes within the body.
Pumpkin seeds are pretty flippin’ good for you, too. They’re particularly high in zinc, a necessary mineral especially important for men, as it prevents testosterone deficiency. In fact, a zinc deficiency can lead to prostate enlargement, as well as other male sexual health problems, including weak sperm production. Also notable, pumpkin seeds provide many different forms of vitamin E, including ones with strong antioxidant qualities.
One easy way to prepare pumpkin is to cube it and steam it until tender, served with olive oil and spices like paprika or rosemary. Canned pumpkin, with raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg, can turn boring oatmeal into a delicious, nutrient-dense breakfast.
This week’s recipe comes from The Blender Girl, Tess Masters, and can be found at her website, http://healthyblenderrecipes.com. It’s a gluten-free, dairy-free, pumpkin muffin recipe that tastes like autumn. Literally.
Xanthan gum may look scary, but it’s a natural gum that can be found in powdered form in the bulk section of the supermarkets. The recipe can also be made vegan by substituting the egg with egg replacer, or with one tablespoon of ground flax and three tablespoons of water.
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup raisins
1/4¼ cup canola oil
1/2 cup to a cup of mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup substitute milk
Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and spices in a bowl and mix evenly. Add the egg into the mixer and gradually add in the oil, milk, then pumpkin, until mixed. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a thick batter forms. Fold in the raisins and spoon into a well-greased muffin pan. Bake at 170° C/325° F for approximately 20 minutes.