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PUMPKIN PIE PROTEIN BALLS

These spiced-up pumpkin bites are naturally sweet & delicious and make a great breakfast or snack on-the-go.  They have no gluten or added sugar and are absolutely packed with vitamins & minerals, fibre, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats.

In addition to the goodness of pumpkin purée, Pumpkin Pie Bliss Balls contain pumpkin seeds.  And these little dark green beauties add more than just a delightful crunch!

Pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc.  Research suggests that consumption may reduce the risk of certain cancers and have benefits for blood sugar and blood pressure regulation as well as prostate and liver health.

Furthermore, as a natural source of phytoestrogens and tryptophan, pumpkin seeds may help you to balance your hormones, feel good, and get a healthy night sleep!  This is because our bodies convert the tryptophan we eat into serotonin and melatonin.

Ingredients for 15 balls:

  • 1 cup roasted unsalted pecans

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats

  • 1/4 cup Nuzest vanilla protein powder (code “DrTara15” for discount) OR gluten-free puffed quinoa

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free flaxseed meal

  • 1 Tbsp maca powder (optional)

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (approximately 10 dates)

  • 1 Tbsp MCT or coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée*

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds

  • 1/2 cup raw cacao nibs

*Note: For this recipe, you can use homemade or canned organic pumpkin purée.  The homemade stuff is super 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 processed sugar. 

Directions:

  1. Put pecans, oats, protein powder or quinoa, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, maca and pie spice into blender container. Blend until well-chopped.

  2. Add the dates, pumpkin purée, MCT oil, and vanilla extract. Blend until a uniform paste is created, scraping the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula as needed. The dough is thick and you may need to scrape into a bowl and finish mixing by hand.

  3. Add the pumpkin seeds and cacao nibs and pulse-blend or stir-in to mix but maintain texture.

  4. Scrape mixture onto a plate or parchment paper. Roll into balls.

Enjoy as-is or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

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.