When you’re gifted a sugar pumpkin from an organic farm as thanks for using their leeks in a cooking demo at a farmers market, the world becomes your culinary oyster. Okay, maybe my world. Maybe most people’s worlds turn into a black hole of worrisome thoughts along the lines of, “What the heck do I do with this?”
But me, I think Ethiopian pumpkin stew, Thai pumpkin and sweet potato curry, and a local replacement for bananas in morning smoothies. I’m not a huge smoothie person, but every now and then I get a hankering for a sweet in the morning, and I justify the sugar by reminding myself that since smoothies are blened, they’re easier to digest (like baby food). And I throw in a few swiss chard or baby spinach leaves, or whatever soft green I have lying around (no iceberg lettuce, for example) to make it healthier, plus some flax seeds or chia seeds and vanilla unsweetened almond milk to make it creamy. Then I don’t worry about the generous drizzle of deep, rich, amber honey (and maybe some molasses for oomph). Fall gets a lot sunnier for a girl who hates the cold and the wet with this smoothie.Oh, and I threw in some cinnamon and nutmeg from a birthday card my parents sent me that came with a few little packages of spice attached to the front, and a script on the inside that said something along the lines of, “May your year be full of spice,” or “wishing you a year filled with the spice of life,” or something equally as lovely.
I roasted half the pumpkin and had enough purée for a week of smoothies. I got pumpkin pie smoothie’d out by day 3, though, and ate the rest with lghtly scrambled eggs and a red wine vinaigrette I had leftover from a salad dressing. Weird, I know. So stick with the smoothie if that sounds less than delicious to you. You’ll be missing out on my world of pumpkin possibilities, but there are worse things. Such as winter.
Pumpkin Pie Smoothies
inspired by Oh She Glows
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3/4 cup roasted pumpkin*
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp molasses
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp flax seeds or chia seeds
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Optional: leaves of 2-3 branches of swiss chard or other delicate leafy green, removed from stems, optional. Mustard greens are no good and neither is lettuce, but baby spinach works. Some people would also use lacinato kale. Not me, but some people. If you’re new to green smoothies, start with just a little green, and work your way up to more. The pumpkin and honey should mask the green bitterness. Unless you like that sort of thing. It grows on you.
- Optional: 2 tsp coconut milk to drizzle as garnish. You can also make the smoothie with coconut milk instead of almond, but I find it too rich. Try half and half, or 2/3rds almond and 1/3rd coconut.
Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. The more, the better. Add more milk if you want it thinner, add more honey or molasses for sweet, and more salt if it’s just generally bland. Honestly, a little extra salt can go a long way here. Add more pumpkin to make it thicker.
*To roast a pumpkin, get a sugar pumpkin, not a carving pumpkin. A butternut, buttercup or delicata squash also works. Spaghetti squash does not. Slice it in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place it sut side-down on a baking sheet and roasted in a 400F oven until soft when poked with a fork. Let cool, then scrape out flesh from skin. Keeps in the fridge for up a week. Or freeze in 3/4 cup of 1 1/2 cup size portions.