It's quite unavoidable this time of year. It seems like everything comes in pumpkin pie flavour now, but usually it's all the flavour of the pie and none of the pumpkin! Which is a shame because pumpkin is incredibly good for you. It's an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. The carotenes are what makes the pumpkin orange and we all know it's good to eat fruit and veg with lots of color. They also offer protection against cancer and can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C boosts immunity and helps repair and regenerate tissues. It helps neutralize free radicals and balances the negative effects of processed foods.
So rather than just having something flavoured like pumpkin pie, go for the real thing and get all those incredible nutrients along with the warm spices that we all love. Below is a great option that lets you can trade in that green smoothie for an orange one!
These amounts are for one serving so you have an easy guide if you want to make a bigger batch.
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
1/2 – 1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp smooth nut butter of your choice
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend
1 small frozen green banana*
1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ice or as needed
*An unripe banana will be higher in resistant starch (the kind that feeds our healthy gut bacteria) compared to one that’s more ripe, and will help keep the sugar content of the recipe down.
If you're using fresh pumpkin cut it in half or quarters, remove the seeds and bake at 350 for about 30 min's or until soft, then puree. If you freeze the puree in ice cubes trays you can then eliminate the ice cubes from the recipe, giving you a creamier finished product.
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy.
Add toppings if you like, good options are a drizzle of coconut milk, pumpkin seeds for crunch or a little cinnamon to boost the flavour factor.
By the way, if you want to save the seeds from your fresh pumpkin, wash them and pat them dry then bake them at 325 for about 10 min's or until golden. They're so much better when they're fresh!