Wellness for the Family: National Pumpkin Day

National Pumpkin Day is almost here and we are all ready to celebrate with registered dietitian Grace Derocha from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in this week’s Wellness for the Family. She showed Michelle how to whip up a sweet breakfast and a savory dinner, all using pumpkin.

Here are her recipes:

Slow Cooker Quinoa Pumpkin Porridge


  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 cup to 1 1/2 c pumpkin puree (a few tbsp for topping as well)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1/3 cup additional coconut cream or coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (and some for topping)
  • Any additional toppings such as nuts, gluten free oats or granola, coconut sugar, etc.
  • optional 2–3 tbsp of coconut sugar or raw sugar if you want it sweeter
  • optional pinch of ground ginger


  1. In the slow cooker add quinoa, water, and milk. Also add your pumpkin puree, coconut oil, spices, and maple syrup.
  2. Cook on High for 2 hours (or until liquid is absorbed – you may need to add more liquid), stirring half way. Once cooked, place on warm or low and Add additional ingredients, the coconut cream or milk and stir in shredded coconut.
  3. Before serving add extra toppings/sweeteners of choice. Enjoy!


One-Pot Eggplant, Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry


  • 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 eggplant, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, de-seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, clean and dried
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds or ground cumin
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced (de-seed to make it less spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon of homemade or store-bought vegetable stock paste
  • 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
  • brown rice to serve


  1. Place eggplant, red bell pepper, and chickpeas into a dutch oven or large saucep
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 390°F
  3. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and sauté it on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add spices and another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté for another minute. Be sure not to let it burn. Add the dices tomatoes, vegetable stock paste, coconut milk and tamari, and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the coconut-tomato mix over the vegetables and place the dutch oven into the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can place everything into a large saucepan and let the curry simmer at medium heat for about 30 minutes on the stove. The next steps are identical no matter if you are using a dutch oven or saucepan.
  5. In the meantime cook the rice according to instructions.
  6. Once the curry is done, place the spinach into the dutch oven or saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until it is wilted. This should not take more than 3 minutes.
  7. Serve the curry with rice and add more spices or vegetables stock paste according to taste.


Categories: Recipes, the four, Wellness for the Family