Pumpkin Smoothie Recipes and Nutrition

PumpkinFall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love watching the leaves change colors, picking apples, and carving pumpkins.

However, most people don’t think about adding pumpkins to smoothies, but they are actually a really good smoothie ingredient. Pumpkins are very nutritious and you can use them raw or cooked.

Pumpkin Nutrition and Health Benefits

Pumpkin, particularly cooked and raw, have a wealth of health benefits. One cup boiled and mashed pumpkin contains 408% recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin A (as beta-carotene). It also contains all B vitamins (except B12) and 13% RDA each of vitamin C and E.

As for minerals, pumpkin is especially rich in copper (25% RDA in 1 cup). It’s also a good source of iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.

In addition to beta-carotene, which is known to promote eye health, pumpkin contains several antioxidants that may provide a protective effect against certain cancers, diabetes, and inflammatory diseases.

How To Use Pumpkin In A Smoothie Recipe

Pumpkin makes a wonderful base in a smoothie. They are best blended with flavors that will accent pumpkin well, such as apples, pears, coconut, carrot, and sweet potato. Spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, allspice and “pumpkin pie spice” are excellent in pumpkin smoothies where pumpkin is the dominant flavor. The flavor of raw cacao also mixes well with pumpkin.

You can use raw, cooked or canned pumpkin for making a smoothie. Canned pumpkin is the easiest and most convenient, but not necessarily the most nutritious. If you use canned, be sure to seek out an organic brand with no added sugar. It should be 100% pure pumpkin puree, or unsweetened organic pumpkin pie mix (canned).

You can cut up and cook pumpkin, allowing it to chill before adding to a smoothie. The best way to cook pumpkin is to steam it. Simply remove the seeds and “innards”, remove the peel, and cut into small pieces. Place in a steamer or colander basket with lid over boiling water for about 50 minutes, or until tender. You can also boil pumpkin, but steaming ensures that minimal nutrients are leached out into the water.

You can also use raw pumpkin, although cooked pumpkin will have more flavor. Simply remove the seeds and innards, peel and cut into small pieces. I recommend soaking in water treated with a squeeze of lemon juice overnight in the refrigerator. Some people say that this helps break down the starchiness. When you are ready to blend, place the soaked chunks of pumpkin in a high speed blender with your other ingredients and blend until creamy.

I generally don’t add more than one cup of pumpkin to a meal replacement smoothie. Too much will overpower your smoothie.

As far as pumpkin green smoothies, I recommend using mild-flavored greens like leaf lettuce, romaine or fresh baby spinach, and steer clear of dandelion, kale and other bitter greens that will overpower the delicate flavor of pumpkin.

How To Make Pumpkin Seed Milk

You can use the seeds and “guts” from a pumpkin to make pumpkin seed milk! Use it as the liquid in any pumpkin smoothie recipe.

I add two cups of pumpkin seeds and guts to 4 cups of water. To sweeten, add a date or two, and accent the flavor with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and/or vanilla.

Blend on high for 30 seconds (or longer if you do not have a high-speed blender). When finished blending, strain the liquid from the pulp using a sieve or nut milk bag.

Store in a tightly sealed container (mason jars are great for this) in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Shake well before using as separation will occur.

Pumpkin Green Smoothie Recipes

To make these smoothies, add the liquid to your blender first (I use a Vitamix). Then add the soft fruit followed by the remaining ingredients, adding the leafy greens last. Blend on high for 30-45 seconds or until smooth.

Pumpkin-Apple Green Smoothie with Cinnamon

– 1 cup pumpkin (cooked, canned, or raw)
– 1 apple, cored
– 1 banana, peeled
– dash of cinnamon (to taste)
– 2 cups or handfuls fresh baby spinach (optional, but recommended)
– 8 ounces of fresh water or pumpkin seed milk (or try coconut water)

Calories: 262 | Fat: 1g (gram) | Protein: 5g | Carbs: 66g | Calcium: 9% | Iron: 3.5mg | Vitamin A: 601% | Vitamin C: 52%

Pumpkin-Carrot with Pear Green Smoothie

– 1 cup pumpkin (cooked, canned, or raw)
– 1 fully ripe pear, cored
– 1 whole carrot or 4-6 ounces of carrot juice
– 2 cups or handfuls fresh baby spinach (optional, but recommended)

Calories: 191 | Fat: 0.8g (gram) | Protein: 4g | Carbs: 47g | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 3.5mg | Vitamin A: 936% | Vitamin C: 44%

More Pumpkin Smoothie Recipes

The Blended Jack-o-Lantern Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

How To Select And Store Pumpkins

When selecting pumpkins for smoothies, choose the smaller pie pumpkins. Make sure you select a pumpkin that is free from cracks, dark spots and soft spots. The stem should be dry and free from black or browning spots.

You can store a pumpkin in a cool dry place, uncut, for up to one month.

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