Recipes Gone Wild: Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Halloween may be long over, but those little decorative pumpkins, the sugar pie variety, are still gracing the table tops and window sills of homes and shops around the neighborhood. You could send your leftover pumpkins to Teddy the talking porcupine, or you could throw them in your oven and transform them into something delicious. On a recent visit to Brouwerij Lane, after extolling my love of squash and shamelessly touting my cooking skills, I was granted 4 little pumpkins from their personal stash of decorative vegetation. I brought them home, set them on the couch and stared at them. Four pumpkins. They stared back. Four pumpkins. They weren’t talking. Tell me what to do with you. Silence. No clues. I decided I’d just roast them all and create something new and pumpkin-y each day.

Pumpkin Day 1: Tamari Sweet-and-Salty Pumpkin Seeds. Too sticky, and slightly burned. Fail.
Pumpkin Day 2: Curry-spiced pumpkin Soup. Not flavorful enough. Would be better with a different type of curry. Fail.
Pumpkin Day 3: Potato-Pumpkin Veggie Patties. Not bad, but not spectacular. I’d eat them, but not share them with others.
Pumpkin Day 4: Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding. Win! Yes, oh yes. Healthy, comforting goodness.

If you’re a pumpkin pie lover, and like to imagine a world where you can eat it everyday (but healthily), then this is your recipe.  It’s cool, light, and fluffy, like pumpkin pie filling without all the time-consuming prep and sugar. This pudding makes a great breakfast and a lovely dessert.

At a glance: Pumpkin is a fantastic source of beta-carotene (like most orange foods, excluding Cheetos) which may help prevent cancer, keep skin looking young, AND keep your vision sharp. It’s also loaded with fiber, which makes you feel fuller longer.  In fact, I haven’t eaten any pumpkin this week and I still feel full. And like turkey, pumpkin seeds are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the body’s production of seritonin—a hormone that can help boost your mood.

So roast a pumpkin…and make some happy pudding today!

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding (adapted from Oh She Glows)
Yield: 2 servings or 1 & 3/4 cups

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk
1 cup roasted pumpkin purée
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. protein powder*
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1-2 tbsp maple syrup, to taste
*optional, a nice boost if using as a breakfast recipe (I used hemp seed protein powder)

Method:
1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients, except for the chia seeds. With a stick blender, blend until creamy and fluffy, and no clumpy bits remain. With a spoon, stir in the chia seeds.
2. Transfer pudding to a mason jar and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours or overnight, to soften the seeds and chill.
3. Serve with raisins, toasted walnuts, or ginger snaps if desired.

And if you Still have more pumpkin than you know what to do with (like myself), take a look at Smitten Kitchen’s ideas for what to make with all that orange-y goodness.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

About Libby V

Libby VanderPloeg lives and makes work in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She grew up in Michigan on the edge of the Great Lakes dunes, and has lived in Chicago, New York, and Stockholm. Her work comes out of her deep affinity for storytelling, music, letterforms, printed ephemera, and wildlife. None of these works could have been made without the world's finest brioche and several good, strong cups of coffee.

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