Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie – vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie – recipe in post

Here in Michigan, there are only a couple times a year when I truly love the weather – Spring and Fall. The rest of the time it’s either sweat-soaked heat wave or snowed-in frigid. But for a brief month or two in between, there’s a pleasant calmness, a peace between the elements. Cool mornings that are alive with the earthy scent of damp ground, the sweet perfume of leaves turning color, and of course the welcomed return of pie baking and cookie making. Those days when you can step outside and truly smell Autumn… those are the moments that really make me remember what dragging my butt out of bed in the morning is all about. In fact, it almost makes up for it still being dark out when I drag said butt from said bed.

Well, today is the Autumnal Equinox – the first day of Fall – and I’m feeling it. Today may have been grey and rainy, but the muddy ground is ripe with the smells of the season. Have you ever pressed a raw, uncut apple to your nose and inhaled deeply? It’s that smell. Sweet, crisp, and just asking to be savored.

One of the things I always look forward to about Fall are pumpkins – not the big jack-o-lantern kind, but the sweet baking kind. The kind of pumpkins that take pancakes from a delicious-breakfast-treat, to an even-more-delicious-breakfast-treat. The kind of pumpkins that take pie from a tasty-slice-of-wonderful to an even-more-tasty-slice-of-wonderful. The kind of pumpkins that grow in The Fiancé’s garden. That boy really knows the way to a girl’s stomach… heart.

And so, to kick of the Equinox right, I whipped up a smoothie that tasted more like dessert than a healthy, protein-full breakfast. If you like pumpkin pie, you’ll definitely Fall in love with this smoothie. If you don’t like pumpkin pie… ha, who am I kidding!

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free
Makes 1 large serving

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (to make your own, click here)
1 frozen banana
1/2-1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or other dairy-free milk
1 scoop unflavored (or vanilla) protein powder* – optional
2-3 TBSP agave or maple syrup, to taste
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
Small pinch of cloves
Small pinch of salt
Ice – optional

For the coconut whipped cream:
1  15oz. can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
2-3 tsp. agave or maple syrup, or to taste – optional

*My favorite is the Garden Of Life Raw Protein Powder

Blend all ingredients until smooth – add almond milk to thin to the consistency you want. Top with coconut whipped cream if desired… and who wouldn’t desire it? Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg, and enjoy!

For the coconut whipped cream:
Remove the well-chilled can of coconut milk from the fridge, and turn it upside down. Open the can, and pour off the coconut ‘water’ (this can be saved for later use in other recipes, or for drinking). In the bottom you’ll be left with the separated coconut fat. Spoon this out into a bowl, and whisk or beat with a mixer until smooth. Mix in a little sweetener, or some vanilla or other spices, to taste. Store any extra in the fridge and re-whip when ready to use.

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56 Responses to Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie – vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free

  1. Francy in cucina September 23, 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Perfect for my breakfast after jogging ;-) !!!


  2. Oishii Treats September 23, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    that is one beautiful looking smoothie, I know what I’m making for breakfast tomorrow. and I have to agree with you I love it when I can step outside a smell autumn, they need to bottle that smell up and sell it.

    • Willow September 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Ooh, I would buy that! :)

  3. frugalfeeding.com September 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    I haven’t commented here for ages, sorry! I’ll have to do some catching up :D. That is one gorgeous smoothie and so healthy! Love the photos. I adore autumn and spring too – they suit my sensibilities :D. Though, if I’m in the right attire summer and winter can be equally good! You can tell it’s winter today… it hasn’t stopped raining…

    • Willow September 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      Not a problem – I’ve been playing catch-up myself, lately. :)

  4. Eileen September 23, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Fall in Michigan is possibly my favorite season ever! I used to live in Ann Arbor, and wow, does this make me miss it. :) Also: pumpkin!! Love it.

    • Willow September 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Very cool! I was born and raised in A2 – I’ve always thought that no matter how much I travel, I’d always like to come back here. :)

  5. Jen @JuanitasCocina September 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    What a fabulous way to welcome yourself to fall! And I don’t have to feel guilty!

    Simply gorgeous photos!

  6. shannon @ a periodic table September 24, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    willow, i completely trust your smoothie know-how: this looks PERFECT for this time of year! and i love that font on the cover photo – so “nightmare before christmasy.” very pretty, all of it.

    • Willow September 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

      Haha – thanks! That was exactly what I was going for. The font is called ‘Things We Said’ and I think I found it on DaFont, or some such. It’s become one of my favorites. :)

  7. lauraloveslife September 25, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    This looks delicious! I love your blog<3

  8. Maggie September 25, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    We made this smoothie this morning for breakfast and it was delicious!! A great fall time breakfast treat and a break from my boring old oatmeal. Thanks for a great new breakfast idea!

    • Willow September 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      Awesome – glad you liked it!

  9. brighteyedbaker September 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    This looks sooo good! I can imagine that it must taste like drinking pumpkin pie, and I love that you did something different from the typical hot pumpkin drinks. One of my favorite things about fall is the pumpkin baking too. :)

    • Brie October 2, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

      This smoothie is fantastic! It tastes just like pumpkin pie but without the guilt! Best fall smoothie especially after a good run in the cold rain :)

      • Willow Arlen October 3, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

        Thanks for the high praise, Brie! So glad you liked it!

  10. Sarah @ Unwheated October 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    This looks amazing! Just what I needed to find this morning. I know what I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow :-) I’ve been meaning to try making coconut whipped cream for some time now, and now I have a good excuse!

    • Willow October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Awesome, I hope you like it! Just be sure to throw the can of coconut milk in the fridge tonight so it’s nice and cold in the morning. :)

  11. Anonymous October 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Very nice. Shared it with my toddler and he stole mine!

  12. vyvacious October 11, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    This is my first time on your blog! I was led here by Pinterest and I am in love with this smoothie! It looks sooo good! I can’t wait to make it as a fall treat one of these days :)

    • Willow October 11, 2012 at 12:11 am #

      Wonderful! I’m glad to have you as a reader. Hope you like this smoothie, you’ll have to let me know what you think! :)

  13. Anonymous October 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Think honey would be a tasty replacement for agave/maple syrup? My uncle raises bees and we are always looking for new ways to enjoy our fresh honey!

    • Willow October 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Definitely, honey would be a fine substitute! Wish I knew someone with bees. ;)

  14. Anonymous October 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Love the little Japaneses pumpkins so this will be perfect for breakfast, planning to add a pinch of cardamom (something else I love the taste of) – I also make my own puree but I make it in the microwave by washing, poking holes in the top and cooking on high till the juices start to leek out the holes than let sit a few minutes (easier to cut cooked)The oven works as well- like a giant baked potatoe.

    • Willow October 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      Very cool! Nothing beats fresh pumpkin puree. :)

  15. MARLATTD October 12, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    How many carbs?

    • Willow October 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      With a hefty scoop of the coconut whipped cream, it’s somewhere around 62 carbs. A lot of that is from ‘natural sugars’, or ‘complex carbs’ (the banana, the agave), and a fair amount is from fiber in the pumpkin puree (ten grams). That number does not include the protein powder, as that will vary from brand to brand.

  16. Anonymous October 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    coconut whipped cream? wow, I’m most excited for that recipe

    • Willow October 21, 2012 at 1:49 am #

      The coconut whipped cream is included in the recipe above – the fat off the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk, whipped with a little sweetener. A nice vegan substitute to traditional whipped cream.

  17. clothespin October 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Maybe this is the cure for my crazy big pumpkin pie craving? I’m breastfeeding my 2 month old and it has to have something to do with that… it’s like I could live on pumpkin pie or something. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Willow October 21, 2012 at 1:48 am #

      Sounds like a good craving to have – hope this smoothie does the trick!

  18. Deborah November 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    I didn’t have coconut milk, so I made the smoothie for m and my girls sans whip cream. It still turned out spectaculare. I can’t wait to get some coconut milk now and try it with that as well.

    • Willow November 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Glad you liked it! :D

  19. Anonymous September 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Be careful when using agave. Although some believe it’s a more “natural” way to sweeten things than other choices, it is as refined as high fructose corn syrup. If you are concerned about the processing of foods, then you would be better off using real maple syrup. That aside, this looks fabulous and I will be giving this a go now that it is pumpkin season!

  20. Anonymous September 11, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    While this looks amazing, I hesitate,because the coconut milk alone is 400 cal.if the full cup is used :( I don’t care for almond milk. Would 1/2 skim milk work? (not for thew whipped cream, of course.)

    • Willow Arlen September 11, 2013 at 2:03 am #

      Are you referring to the coconut milk listed in the smoothie, or the full-fat coconut milk used to make the whipped cream? The coconut whipped cream is very rich and decadent, but only a small amount is used to top the smoothie (and it’s entirely optional). The coconut milk listed in the smoothie as an alternative to almond milk would be found in a carton, just like almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc., and is not the same as the rich and creamy coconut milk found in a can. I should specify that more clearly in the recipe, so my apologies if there is any confusion! The almond milk / coconut milk are just suggestions, you can use whatever kind of milk you like to blend the smoothie to a drinkable consistency.

      Hope that helps!

    • Willow Arlen September 11, 2013 at 2:06 am #

      P.S. — I have edited the recipe to say “1/2-1 cup almond milk, or other dairy-free milk” (of course, you can use regular cows milk, too, but since the recipe is vegan it isn’t listed). I hope that clarifies things a little!

    • Anonymous September 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Thank you, yes ,that clarifies things! I had never seen (noticed, perhaps) coconut milk in the dairy case, just soy & almond. I was only familiar with the canned product, but will def be looking for it now .Going to make these at work today :)

    • Anonymous September 12, 2013 at 12:32 am #

      Made these today and they were as good as they sounded , which is not often the case with things that are ‘good for you’. !! Thank you so much for the delicious start to my day :)

    • Willow Arlen September 12, 2013 at 1:45 am #

      Wonderful, I’m so glad you liked them! :D

  21. cliffsandcanyons September 13, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    I am a pumpkin lover to the max! This sounds so good!!

  22. nomatophobia September 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    Hi there – I stopped over from Pinterest too, and you inspired me. I bought a new little personal blender, and have been going nuts with smoothies. I love Garden of Life too! I hate measuring anything, but I do everything to taste. I did this:

    – Organic Pumpkin (found boxes, not cans, of these at World Market)
    – Unsweetened Almond Milk
    – Flaxseed
    – Cinnamon, Nutmeg
    – Tiny splash of maple syrup
    – Frozen banana
    – Scoop of Garden Of Life Raw Protein – Chocolate
    – A small handful of walnuts
    – Half a fiji apple

  23. Kacey W. August 26, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    Sipping this now! Used cow’s milk, pumpkin pie spice and a tablespoon+ of regular sugar. Yum!

  24. Tiffany November 9, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Do you have to put the cloves in?

    • Willow Arlen November 12, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

      Nope — if you don’t like cloves, just leave ’em out. :)

  25. Carolyn September 23, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    Any idea what the nutrition information looks like on this? (calories, etc.)

    • Willow Arlen September 24, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’m afraid I don’t know the precise nutritional info — it will depend a lot on exactly what and how much you use of things like dairy free milk, sweetener, protein powder, etc.. You can find out by entering the individual ingredients, in the amounts you use, in a search with “nutritional info”, and then adding up. Sorry I can’t be of more help!


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