Pumpkin isn’t just a key component in pumpkin pies. This delicious and bright winter vegetable can be added to a large variety of dishes, from soups and curries to cereals and beverages.
Like most brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Daily intake of vitamin A is crucial for healthy vision, brain function and great skin.
Note that beta-carotene is an antioxidant as well. Antioxidants help protect the body against free radical damage, thereby reducing risk of cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Don’t throw the seeds away! Pumpkin seeds are packed with fibre, which help you feel fuller for longer. A diet rich in fibre can also help protect your ticker. One study shows that women who had a fibre-rich diet had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who had a low fibre diet.
Furthermore, pumpkin seeds are also rich in phytoestrogens, which can help in preventing high blood pressure.
They also help you feel relaxed and sleep better thanks to their tryptophan content. Tryptophan is an amino acid, which helps the body make serotonin – a feel good neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of relaxation.
Here are our favourite healthy autumn-inspired pumpkin recipes, which contain plenty of pumpkin with other wholesome ingredients and zero refined and artificial ingredients. Best of all, they’re incredibly easy!
PUMPKIN SPICE SMOOTHIE
Nothing screams fall more than pumpkin spice, but there’s a way to incorporate this seasonal treat into other recipes other than just your go-to fall latte. Spice up your morning smoothie with our rich and velvety pumpkin spice smoothie. Blend the following ingredients until the smoothie reaches a smooth consistency:
½ cup of fresh pumpkin puree
1 frozen sliced banana
1 cup almond, coconut or cashew milk
A pinch of nutmeg and allspice each
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup (or to taste)
VEGAN PUMPKIN BUTTER
You’ve quit butter and have made avocado toast your best pal. However, most of us don’t have avocados in stock every day, given that they oxidize rapidly after being cut. If you’re a fan of pumpkin, we have a solution.
Curb your pumpkin cravings and add oomph to your morning breakfast minus the excessive calories from regular butter, with our DIY vegan pumpkin butter recipe. Pumpkin butter can be added to whole wheat toast, pancakes, oats, yoghurt and many other dishes.
For this recipe, you will need:
4 cups of pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup apple cider
1 tsp of your favourite natural sweetener (stevia, agave nectar or maple syrup work wonderfully)
Add all the ingredients to a stand mixer and mix until everything is well incorporated. Pour the mixture into a medium size sauce pan over medium heat, and bring contents to a boil. Reduce heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir regularly. Once the mixture has reduced and thickened, remove from heat and allow contents to cool. Store the pumpkin butter in an airtight container in the fridge.
PUMPKIN SPICE BREAKFAST MUFFINS
These pumpkin muffins are incredibly rich in fibre and taste so delicious, that it is hard to believe they’re made with healthy ingredients. We’ve opted for whole wheat flour and the muffins turn out fluffy each time we make it. Feel free to make this recipe your own by incorporating coconut flakes, blueberries, dark chocolate nibs or nuts.
1 leveled cup pumpkin puree (use a dry ingredients cup)
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup almond, lite coconut or cashew milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp of nutmeg and allspice each
½ tsp of cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
A handful of pumpkin seeds for garnish
Preheat oven to 165 degrees Celsius and grease 10 cups of your muffin pan cups.
In a stand mixer, mix all wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients separately (excluding garnish), remove the wet ingredients bowl from the mixer and incorporate the dry gently into the wet. Fold the mixture using a large spoon and if you’re using additional ingredients such as nuts or berries, fold them in as well.
Pour the batter into the muffin cups, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait till muffins cook before removing them from the pan. Store packaged in a zip lock in the freezer and microwave before use.
CLEAN PUMPKIN BERRY PANCAKES
If you’re not a fan of any of the clean or paleo pancakes you’ve come across, here’s another one you can try. This recipe is a favorite among those who have tried it and yes, it really does include pumpkin!
1 cup almond flour or oat flour (simply grind the oats till it becomes a powder)
1 cup almond or coconut milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
A handful of frozen blueberries
Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and slowly whisk dry ingredients, preventing any clumps. Stir in blueberries.
Heat a greased pan over medium heat and pour 1/3 cup of butter. Cook until bubbles form on top and flip. Once cooked, serve warm with maple syrup.
PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE
Yes, you can make it at home. This recipe doesn’t only taste fantastic; it will also save you a lot of cash by the end of the season. Best of all, unlike commercial pumpkin spice lattes, which only use pumpkin spice, this recipe actually uses pumpkin puree.
For one cup of our healthy pumpkin spice latte, you’ll need:
1 tsp pumpkin puree
1 cup milk of your choice
¼ tsp pumpkin spice (and more to garnish)
1 tbsp stevia or maple syrup (or to taste)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 shot espresso
1/8 cup whipped coconut cream
Ground black pepper
Heat the pumpkin along with the spices in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture is hot and smells like it is cooked (about 2 minutes). Add a pinch of ground black pepper and the maple syrup and stir.
Warm the milk and whisk over medium heat. Add in vanilla extract. Blend the milk in a blender or with a hand blender until it becomes frothy. Add the frothed milk to the espresso and top with coconut cream and pumpkin spice.
Keep an eye out as we will have lots more recipes coming to our blog soon! To find out how mindfulness can transform the way you eat click here
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