Pumpkin Treat

Halloween doesn't have to mean candy and other junk food. Cook up this wholesome, fun pumpkin meal instead. Pumpkins are loaded with the carotenoids alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein; the seeds contain vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Make the meal fun for kids by having them sketch a scary face on a pumpkin before cooking, then let them eat the stuffing and flesh right out of the head.

Serves 2

2 small pumpkins (sugar or pie variety)
4 ounces mashed tofu or cooked ground turkey
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Optional Flavorings:
Chopped fresh garlic or basil
Cayenne or white pepper
Crumbled sage
Chopped kale or spinach

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Carefully cut off the pumpkin top, leaving the stem attached; set aside. The hole should be big enough to allow you to stuff the pumpkin.

2. Remove the seeds and strings. (For a quick and healthy snack, toast the seeds on a baking sheet while the pumpkins cook.)

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the tofu or cooked ground turkey, cooked rice, onion, parsley, salt, and any optional flavorings. Fill the pumpkin with the stuffing, and put the top with stem back on. Bake for 45-60 minutes. The pumpkin is done when the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.

4. Scoop out the stuffing, adding some of the pumpkin flesh. Drizzle with olive oil or butter, if desired. Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

—Kristine Merrill