Pumpkins are quintessential fall. They represent the autumn harvest, are symbolic of change and growth, and glimmer with the same orange and yellow colors that define the seasonal foliage. So today, we’re celebrating with a traditional recipe for Roasted Pumpkin with Lifeway Kefir Sauce. We love this dish for its flavor. Our bodies love it for its nutrients. It’s a combination to feel good about.
Cultured Dairy: The Nutrition Benefits You Actually Need to Know
With increasing research linking the correlation between probiotics, gut health, and immunity, it’s no secret that the integrity of our gut is vital to our health. Although additional factors such as stress, antibiotic usage, and individual health conditions can contribute to the condition of our gut, a focus on healthy food choices is one of the easiest ways to support the microbiome.
Several studies have shown a strong association between the gut-brain-microbiota. Probiotics introduced to the gut have been found to support immunity, improve allergies, and improve digestion.
Studies have shown that reduced diversity of healthy gut bacteria during early years is associated with an increase in food allergies during school-age years. In addition, kefir made from whole-fat milk helps absorb key nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin K is important because it helps your bones absorb calcium. It’s important to know that kefir contains a special trio: vitamin D, K, and calcium – all three crucial elements to support bone health. Lifeway Farmer Cheese is also a great source of all these nutrients, just in a different format for all the cheese lovers out there.
Prebiotics + Probiotics = A Healthier You
Prebiotics are non-living, non-digestible carbohydrates naturally found in a variety of fiber-rich plant foods. Your body actually can’t digest prebiotics, so they’re what probiotics feed off of to remain actively working in your digestive system. They help the digestive system by promoting the growth of good bacteria. Prebiotics and probiotics work together in balance to make sure our digestive system stays on track and regular. Research has found that consuming a variety of prebiotic and probiotic food sources may improve your body’s natural functions, including both your immune and digestive systems.
- 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 6-8 mini pumpkins
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- Seeds of one pomegranate
- 1/4 cup Farmer Cheese
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 2 tbs. pumpkin seeds (from scooped out pumpkin)
- 2 tbs. honey
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing and roasting
- Juice of one lemon for dressing
- 2 tbsp. Plain Lowfat Kefir
- 1 tbs. sumac spice for dressing
- Salt and pepper to taste for dressing
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice the tops of your mini pumpkins and scoop out the seeds (set aside for baking). Place the pumpkins on a baking sheet and rub each with a little olive oil, salt + pepper.
- Dice butternut squash into small cubes. Arrange on a baking paper lined tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until tender and golden. Add in your mini pumpkins and roast for 15-20 mins.
- While squash is baking, heat walnuts and pumpkin seeds in a small saucepan and add honey and sea salt flakes. Stir while honey bubbles for 2 minutes or so.
- Remove from heat then spoon out nuts and seeds onto a clean sheet of baking paper to harden and cool.
- Combine 4 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, sumac, Lowfat Plain Kefir, salt and pepper in a small cup for the dressing.
- Arrange roasted squash cubes in your roasted mini pumpkin, top with mint leaves, Farmer cheese, honeyed walnuts and pumpkin seeds, sliced avocado, and pomegranate jewels. Pour over dressing and sprinkle with extra sumac. Enjoy!