Just recently, as though to welcome Halloween, sugar pumpkins began to appear in farmers’ markets and the weather turned fall like. In response, at Go Folic! our thoughts naturally turn towards hearty pumpkin soups and stews.
While not high in folate, this orange fall favorite packs many health benefits. Pumpkin is high in fiber (good for digestion), the antioxidant beta-carotene (which may reduce the risk for cancer and reduce wrinkles), and the immune system booster, Vitamin-C. One cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana (crucial for heart and other muscle function). When you cook pumpkin, save and roast the seeds, which are full of the mood booster, tryptophan and phytosterols, shown in studies to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
Today’s recipe contains both pumpkin and folate-full white beans. This elegant, easy-to-make vegetarian entree is a slow-cooker adaptation of a Basque recipe published in the original Greens Restaurant Cookbook by Deborah Madison.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin and White Bean Stew
Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4, 160 mcg folate (33% RDA)
- 1/2 cup dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1.5 pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 tbs. virgin olive oil
- 3 leeks, white parts only, rinsed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried sage, crumbled
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- pepper to taste
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- Parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for garnish)
- Soak beans in water overnight; drain, then place in bottom of crock pot.
- Toss vegetables with olive oil to coat; mix in sage, salt and pepper; place vegetables on top of beans.
- Pour vegetable stock over all; stock should cover all ingredients. If not, add stock to cover.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Serve topped with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil for garnish.