I fell in love with pumpkin last year when I bought a couple of beautiful heirloom pumpkins for decoration. The elegant Rouge Vif d’Etampes and the whimsical grey Jarrehdale pumpkin looked amazing on my front porch throughout the fall. I took them inside when it started to freeze; and finally in December, when they’d enjoyed much admiration for their stunning appearance, I hacked them up, roasted them, and pureed them.
Prior to then, I didn’t have much experience baking with pumpkin and the commercial pumpkin products I’d tried hadn’t impressed me all that much. Now I found myself with an abundance of puree on my hands and I started to experiment.
Turned out I LOVED me some pumpkin. And those lovely decorative pumpkins ended up having sweeter, thicker, and smoother flesh than the traditional pie pumpkins I’d tried earlier. I used the puree mostly in muffins, breads, and risotto; but I loved it all so much I was eager to try it in different recipes as well. Pumpkin ice cream? Pumpkin cheesecake?!
This year I planted the seeds of those two pumpkins and ended up with a whole pile of their handsome offspring. Now it’s pumpkin every day!
One of my favourite creations so far is this pumpkin smoothie. I love it as a mid-afternoon snack. It was inspired by a recipe I saw on Pinterest from The Pioneer Woman, but that recipe called for canned pie filling and vanilla yogurt. Since I make my own pumpkin puree and yogurt, I knew I needed to deconstruct that recipe. Plus, I was pretty sure her recipe had more sugar and additives than I wanted. I was looking for a healthier, more frugal option. And so this smoothie was born. (If you are the kind of person who buys vanilla yogurt and canned pie filling, by all means, go ahead and try Pioneer Woman’s recipe).
It’s delicious and nutritious! The pumpkin provides lots of nutrients, like beta-carotene (an antioxidant), vitamin C, and potassium. The yogurt provides beneficial probiotics. We’ve got healthy fats, protein, and fiber going on here, making it good and filling. I sweeten mine with maple syrup — no refined sugars over here!
I personally find that the tang from the yogurt pairs perfectly with the pumpkin and the spice. The vanilla makes it extra-luxurious. And maple tastes great in every beverage, in my opinion.
Before you try this recipe, you have to freeze your pumpkin puree in ice cube trays. (Like, the night before.) That helps make it creamy. And if you don’t have your own pumpkin spice blend, I have a recipe for that at the bottom.
Healthy Vanilla Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe
- 3 cubes frozen pumpkin puree (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup whole milk (cow’s milk or coconut milk are both delectable)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice (recipe below)
- 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (I’m happy with 2; some might prefer sweeter)
- sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Blend everything together in a blender (I use my Magic Bullet). Make sure to do it good and long to make sure all the pumpkin gets blended in. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!
And if you need it:
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Recipe
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp allspice
Blend together and store in a sealed container. It’s ready to join in on your pumpkin adventures!