Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, which is a powerful cancer-protective anitoxidant.

For The Press

Of all the autumn colors, beautiful orange stands out, especially in pumpkins. Plentiful at this time of year, pumpkins are perfect for making unique dishes, like in this week's recipe for a super satisfying stew. As the weather turns colder, pumpkin combined with red and green peppers, black beans and yellow corn makes a colorful, comforting warm dish bursting with great taste and cancer protective nutrients.

Indigenous to the West-ern hemisphere, pumpkins have been grown in the Americas for more than five thousand years. A member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini, the largest pumpkin recorded weighed more than a whopping 2,000 pounds. Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, specifically beta-carotene, a plant form of vitamin A, which is a powerful cancer protective antioxidant. Count on pumpkin to provide vitamin C, fiber and potassium too.

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This easy recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but you can use fresh pumpkin, about 2 cups chopped. You can also substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin. Experiment to find what satisfies your taste.

The bell peppers, beans, corn and tomatoes pack even more flavor into this stew, so only a bit of cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper are needed to complement the wonderful taste. You can substitute curry for the cumin.

This Pumpkin Stew is perfect with some crusty whole-grain bread. Create a more robust meal by making a cucumber, avocado and tomato salad. Thickly slice the cucumbers, add tomato and avocado wedges and onion slices. Then drizzle on extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of good quality vinegar - or a squeeze of lemon juice - and some dried Italian seasoning. Gently toss. You have goodness in two bowls one orange and one green.

From the American Institute for Cancer Research

Pumpkin Stew


•1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 green bell pepper, chopped

• 1 red bell pepper, chopped

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/2 teaspoon. ground cumin (curry powder may be substituted)

• 1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin (2 cups fresh may be substituted)

•1 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, drained

•1 15-ounce can yellow corn kernels, no salt added, drained (1-1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen may be substituted)

•1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added

•2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (vegetable may be substituted)

• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, divided

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt, optional


In large saucepan warm oil over medium heat. Stir in peppers, onion and garlic and saut� about 6 minutes until peppers and onion soften. Stir in cumin and continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in pumpkin, beans, corn, tomatoes and broth. Add 1 teaspoon cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 25 minutes. Divide stew among four bowls and garnish with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.

Makes: 4 servings.

Nutritional information per 2 cup serving: 301 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 57 g carbohydrate, 14 g protein, 14 g dietary fiber, 307 mg sodium.

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