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Picking a perfect pumpkin

There’s a difference between pumpkins you carve and pumpkins you crave. If a pumpkin is great for carving, the insides tend to be stringy and fibrous – and that’s not great for cooking.  Look instead for smaller sugar pumpkins, pie pumpkins or cheese pumpkins. A good cooking pumpkin is about 4-8 pounds. When in doubt, ask the seller.

Fall Pumpkin Salad

1 lb. pumpkin, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/8-1/4” slices
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. paprika
4 cups arugula
3 cups spinach greens
1 ½ cups quinoa, cooked (3/4 cup dry)
½ cup toasted pecans
1 cup spiced pumpkin seeds (see additional recipe)

Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat oven to 400F.

Toss pumpkin slices with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Spread pumpkin in a single layer on foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast pumpkin until golden and tender, about 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool. Chop roughly.

Place pecans on a separate baking sheet and toast for 3-5 minutes. Cool.

While pumpkin and pecans are roasting, whisk the dressing ingredients together and refrigerate.

Combine arugula, spinach greens, quinoa, toasted pecans and spiced pumpkin seeds. Dress with refrigerated vinaigrette and top with pumpkin seeds.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutritional information

Per serving: 243 calories, 17.4g fat, 4.7g protein, 19.1g carbohydrate, 2.7g dietary fiber, 0mg cholesterol, 103mg sodium, 405mg potassium, 51.7mg calcium.

How to cook quinoa

Place ¾ cup quinoa and 1 ½ cups water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Strain and fluff with a fork.