Remember two weeks ago when I said that fall had arrived in the Bay Area?
I guess I should have knocked on wood or something because it definitely did not feel very fall like this past weekend with temps creeping toward 90 degrees (again). And from what I’ve heard, I think it’s fair to say most of the country is in the same boat.
But fear not, friends.
While summer may have snuck back in for one last sucker punch, things are feeling all sorts of fall in my kitchen.
I spent the better part of the weekend cooking up a storm, developing healthy fall recipes that you guys are going to L-O-V-E. To start, I want to share this simple paleo, low-sugar pumpkin pie smoothie.
Before you try to argue that smoothies after Labor Day are a foodie faux pas, hear me out. And keep in mind fashion rules don’t apply to food. Especially when I’m pretty sure no one follows the whole white pants rule anymore. Do they? Shrug.
REASONS THIS SMOOTHIE IS ON POINT
- It’s totally seasonal with pumpkin, ginger, and spice.
- A cold smoothie with warming flavors is truly the perfect way to bridge the gap between summer and fall.
- And because you know I’m all about that low-sugar lifestyle, there’s no additional sugar added to this recipe.
- Healthy fats, nutrient-rich carbs, and protein per your choice make it a wholesome, nourishing meal or snack.
BRING ON THE PUMPKIN
I couldn’t not jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. Afterall, pumpkin recipes are pretty much mandatory this time of year regardless of the weather. The nutrition and wellness side of me totally supports the pumpkin craze because pumpkin is hella healthy. I can say “hella,” right? Or is that only allowed for SoCal peeps? Shrug.
Anyway—pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. The carotenes (a.k.a. the flavonoids responsible for pumpkin’s orange glow) lend a protective effect against cancers and consuming pumpkin has also been shown to be effective at preventing developing type 2 diabetes. Vitamin C aids in iron absorption and is necessary to repair and regenerate our tissues. It helps neutralize free radicals and the effects of nitrates often found in processed foods. Vitamin C boosts immunity and can less the miserable effects of a cold.
Pumpkin seeds are higher in protein than other seeds and nuts and are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are an excellent source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin A. Zinc is essential for immune function (especially helpful as we head into flu season) and plays an important role in stimulating more than 100 different enzymes necessary for a myriad of reactions in the body. Zinc deficiency can lead to altered sense of taste, as well as slow wound healing since zinc is needed to protect the skin’s mucosal membranes and maintain its integrity.
Vitamin A is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and vital for immune function, too. It also helps slow the decline of vision loss as we age and protects our skin by repelling harmful bacteria. Pumpkin seeds also contain a small bit of calcium and B vitamins. I love them for their slightly nutty flavor and the crunch factor they add to the top of this smoothie.
I mean, you gotta have a crunchy topping even on a smoothie, right? Duh.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
This recipe uses canned pumpkin puree, which is the quickest, easiest way to go. However, if you are feeling ambitious seek out one of the little sugar pumpkins popping up in markets everywhere these days and have at it. You’ll want to cut a hole in the top and scoop out the insides or attempt to cut it in half using a large, sharp knife. Then scoop out the pumpkin and plop it into your blender.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? For these reasons, I prefer to stick to canned pumpkin, which is still delicious and totes healthy. Trust.
As with all my smoothie recipes, feel free to use whatever protein powder you like in it. I am a huge fan of Great Lakes grass-fed collagen for protein because it’s highly bioavailable and totally flavorless. It also packs 15 grams of protein in just two tablespoons.
SECRET INGREDIENT: THE POWER OF PERUVIAN GINSENG
Are you guys familiar with maca root? I’ve mentioned before on Instagram, but can’t recall if we’ve talked about it here. It’s a supplement also known as Peruvian ginseng for its energy- and stamina-boosting powers. Other uses include treating anemia, improving athletic performance and memory, balancing female hormones, and libido enhancement. As far as nutrients, maca contains significant sources of iron, calcium, and copper.
It’s also has a sort of nutty, butterscotch flavor, which makes it delicious when added to this paleo, low-sugar pumpkin pie smoothie. If you’ve never tried maca before, start with a small serving—1/2 teaspoon—and gradually work your way up to 1 tablespoon depending on how it effects you. Personally, I prefer to not use it daily, including it in meals a few times a week at most.
Enough nerd talk. Let’s get blending!
SIMPLE PALEO LOW-SUGAR PUMPKIN PIE SMOOTHIE
Serves: 1 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 5 minutes
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree, canned or boxed
1/2 – 1 cup almond milk or coconut milk (light or full fat—totally up to you)*
1 tbsp creamy almond butter, salted
1/2 to 1 tsp maca powder (I use Gaia or Organic Burst brands)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend
1 small frozen green banana**
2 tbs Great Lakes grass-fed collagen powder (or substitute a protein powder of your choice)
1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup ice
- 1 tsp full-fat coconut milk for drizzling (optional)
- 1 tsp pumpkin seeds for topping (optional)
- dash of cinnamon for topping (NOT optional – wink!)
- Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy.
- Add toppings as you like and enjoy!
*If you prefer to make a thicker smoothie (usually I do), then use less almond or coconut milk and add as needed to achieve desired consistency.
**You’ll also notice that I suggest using a frozen green banana. An unripe banana will be higher in resistant starch (the kind that feeds our healthy gut bacteria) compared to one that’s more ripe. It also keeps the flavor from being too sweet, but adjust however you like by using a ripe nanner or adding a teaspoon of stevia to sweeten it up without impacting your blood sugar too much.
Did I tell you it was simple or what?
Next month, I’ve got all sorts of fall flavors coming you way via nourishing and easy-to-make recipes. I asked for requests over on Instagram and you guys had some great ideas. If you didn’t get to share on social media, I’d love to hear what you guys want to see here on Honestly Nourished.
Tell me below in the comments! I am here to serve!