Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding (Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free)
It’s that time of the year again! The time when the plaid comes out, when the leaves start to fall, when every. single. thing. becomes a tribute to pumpkin. There are pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin donuts (I’m guilty here), pumpkin spice lattes…you name it. I’m as big a fan of the orange vegetable as anyone else – and there’s something so lovely about what it represents, the images it conjures, and having this very short period of time to embrace and celebrate it – but after awhile, I was beginning to feel a bit bombarded by sweets. I wanted something that embraced pumpkin’s glory without sending me into a sugar coma, something I could feel not only festive but good about putting in my body, something that was healthy enough to eat for breakfast.
Thus, the Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding was born.
This tastes almost exactly like pumpkin pie filling, you guys. The chia seeds expand and give it that dense, custard-y texture, and the pumpkin and spices give that wonderful, delicious fall feeling. It’s naturally gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free (thanks to the use of dates as a sweetener), and the pumpkin, when you take it out of the sugary shell it’s typically wrapped in, is actually quite good for you.
As you may have guessed from their bright orange color, pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A – one serving actually contains more than 200% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin A is important for both skin and eye health, and is best consumed with fat (such as chia seeds) to be absorbed properly. They’re also richer in potassium than even bananas, and their fiber will keep you full well into lunch, while helping cleanse your intestinal tract. Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that pumpkins contain in abundance, has been found to reduce bodily inflammation, and protect against heart disease, lung cancer and skin cancer. While you can use store-bought pumpkin puree, I’m sharing my recipe below for super easy homemade pumpkin puree.
Dates are used as the sweetener in this recipe, and they’re one of my favorite choices. Unlike syrups and crystallized sugars, dates are still the whole food in their original form. Because they retain all of their fiber, the sugars release more slowly into your system, so they don’t spike your blood sugar like other sweeteners. They’re also packed with minerals like potassium and magnesium, and their antioxidant quantity helps quell any bodily inflammation.
The one caveat – when working with dates, you want them to be blended completely to avoid chewy bits in your end results. I recommend always soaking dates for 10 minutes in boiling water before blending, and, if you can, using a high-powered blender. My Vitamix, which is literally my most used kitchen appliance, does the job wonderfully, resulting in a completely smooth and creamy finish that impresses me every time. It allows me to put dates in smoothies, puddings, nut milks, and even sometimes soups, to add a faint flavor and subtle sweetness that deepens the whole dish.
This recipe makes enough for one, but feel free to double or triple it to eat throughout the week. Also, I have a really huge giveaway coming up – make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss the announcement!
Serves: 1 serving
- 1 cup milk of choice (I used homemade coconut cashew)
- 1/2 cup fresh or canned pureed pumpkin
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, then drained
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 4-6 pound pumpkin
- 1 tsp neutral high heat oil, like coconut or avocado
- Sea salt
- Blend together all ingredients except chia seeds until very smooth. Pulse in chia seeds so they're well distributed, then pour into jars or bowls, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Serves 1, although you can double or triple the recipe and store it in the fridge as a grab and go breakfast throughout the week. Top with coconut whipped cream or yogurt and enjoy!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stem of your pumpkin and split it down the middle. Using a metal spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy fiber, then brush the flesh lightly with your favorite neutral oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then transfer to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a butter knife easily slides in and out. Remove and let cool a bit, then scrape out the orange flesh and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. This recipe makes 2 - 3 cups, enough for several batches of pudding. You can store your pumpkin puree in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 5 months.