Pumpkin addicts unite! This adorable plant is actually worth obsessing over not only because of its delicious taste, but also due to its many health benefits.
Exploring Pumpkin Smoothie Recipes and Beyond
Pumpkin, considered a fruit (the stem and leaves are categorized as a vegetable) is a member of the squash family and can be used in many dishes, such as roasting, sautéing in stir fries or curry dishes, and yes, as a dessert. The canned form of pumpkin (make sure 100% pumpkin puree only when looking at ingredients) is really useful for adding in smoothies, chili, and even pasta sauce. I have not tackled it in dessert form yet (baking is still a mystery that I will dive into in the near future), but I did sneak it into my energy bars for a seasonal pumpkin flavor!
As I mentioned, there are many great ways to add pumpkin into your cooking. One of my favorite blogs, Cookie and Kate, discusses multiple vegetarian recipes using pumpkin.
My take on the Pumpkin Smoothie came out really filling and I personally couldn’t have been happier with the results. The pumpkin puree added great thickness and a sweet and earthy taste. I included protein powder (which can be optional) and sunflower seed butter for more protein in this pumpkin smoothie. This recipe only took 5 minutes and I highly recommend it for packing in more protein at the start of your day for breakfast or as a healthy snack option. I dare you not to lick the glass when you are finished!
This recipe makes 20 ounces which can be divided into two smoothies. If you want to bulk it up more, add 2-4 ice cubes to make 24 ounces. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or milk of your choice)
- 1 large banana, frozen or ripe
- 1 tablespoon unsalted sunflower seed butter (or a nut butter of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1-2 teaspoons pie spice (or cinnamon, nutmeg blend)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder, optional
- 2-4 ice cubes, optional for thickening
- Simply throw all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Makes two small servings or one large smoothie.
If you don't have protein powder, feel free to add an additional tablespoon of a nut butter, or use soy or cows milk to provide an excellent serving of protein.
Excellent Source of Nutrition
Sorry to break it to you PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) fans, but you’re only getting sugar in these yummy drinks. When made from the actual pumpkin and not in the form of a flavoring, you get excellent sources of Vitamins A and C, Potassium, and fiber. Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene (a form converted into Vitamin A) act as antioxidants that may reduce the risk of certain cancers, promote good skin integrity, and keep your vision strong. The beta-carotene is also the reason for the pumpkin’s beautiful orange glow. Vitamin C, also a wrinkle fighter, can keep cold season away by boosting our immune system.
Bananas and coconut water as post-workout snacks may have some competition; pumpkins are a good source with over 500mg Potassium in a one cup serving, according to an article by the Huffington Post. Instead of the Pumpkin Smoothie for breakfast, feel free to try it after a sweaty workout session!
I hope you enjoy your dose of pumpkin this fall season. Whether it is in the form of skin care, smoothies, soups, or dessert, be sure to get the extra nutritious benefits that pumpkin provides and have a Happy Halloween!