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PUMPKIN PECAN PROTEIN "PANNA COTTA"

This easy pumpkin jello-meets-pudding dessert can be whipped together in just a few minutes and is a total crowd pleaser. Super yummy, super healthy, and good for the gut, too. Sounds like a winner to me!

Pumpkin is incredibly nutrient dense.  A cup of mashed pumpkin has only 50 calories but delivers loads of vitamins and minerals, including 200% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A & more potassium than a banana! Because it is low-calorie & fibre-rich (3 grams/cup), pumpkin helps you to feel full and is a great choice for healthy weight control. It is also rich in powerful antioxidants that have anti-aging benefits for the eyes and skin and may help to protect against cancer, hypertension & heart disease.

For this recipe, you can use homemade or canned pumpkin purée.  Homemade purée is actually very simple to make and I have provided directions below.  If using canned, be sure to get pure pumpkin and not pie filling, which is full of refined sugar.  In Toronto, I have purchased small cans of organic purée from Summerhill Market, Whole Foods, and Pusateri’s.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin purée

  • 1 cup unsweetened pecan or almond milk (I like to use my Almond Cow to make homemade plant-based milk)

  • 2 Tbsp pecan butter (or nut butter of choice)

  • 2 Tbsp Organika Gelatin Powder

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 cup Lakanto monkfruit powdered sweetener, Swerve confectioners’, or sweetener of choice, adjusted to taste

  • optional toppings: raw pecans, pumpkin seeds, toasted coconut chips, cacao nibs or dark chocolate pieces, plain Greek or nondairy yogurt, or coconut “whipped cream” (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Put pumpkin, nut milk, pecan butter, gelatin, and pie spice into a blender container and blend until completely smooth and creamy (I use the purée setting on my Vitamix). Sweeten to taste.

  2. Divide pudding into 4 standard ramekins and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Pudding will thicken as it chills.

Serve with your choice of toppings.

Homemade Pumpkin Purée

Be sure to use a pie pumpkin since they have better texture and sweetness for eating.

Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and scrape out the stringy pulp and seeds.  These can later be washed & roasted for a delicious healthy snack!  Place flesh-side down on cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until the flesh is nice and tender when pierced with a fork.  Cool for an hour.  Then use a large spoon to scoop the pumpkin out of the skin and put it into a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  This will keep for several days in the fridge or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

This recipe requires coconut cream.  If coconut cream is not available, you can use the solidified cream from the top of refrigerated full-fat coconut milk.  The liquid can be reserved and used later (perhaps in a tasty smoothie!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 c well-chilled coconut cream

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)

  • Lakanto powdered monkfruit sweetener, pure stevia, or sweetener of choice to taste

Directions:

Put the cold coconut cream and vanilla into a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Sweeten to taste. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.