During the summer months, my smoothies usually consist of protein, spinach/kale, and mixed frozen/fresh berries picked from local organic farms. I use organic whenever possible.
Come Autumn here in New England, pumpkin is the highlight mixed with high quality protein and superfoods such as flax and chia seeds.
Step 1: Get yourself some pumpkin. Canned is fine but making some yourself is even better and costs a lot less. This one small local organic sugar pumpkin made 7 cups of pureed pumpkin and a cup of toasted seeds for snacking for only $2.50 plus the few cents it cost to run the oven and little of my time.
To make your own puree: cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds and stringy parts. Place halves cut side down on a baking tray and bake at 400 degrees about 40 minutes (or until soft when pierced with a knife). Let cool for an hour and puree in a food processor with a little water or apple cider (not too much; just enough to process).
Step 2: The rest of the ingredients:
- 1 medjool date (optional), soaked in hot water a few minutes
- 8 raw almonds (helpful to soak overnight - just put in the blender with 1/2 cup of the chai tea before bed)
- 1-2 cups cooled chai tea (or plain water or milk or milk alternative)*
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 4 scoops (or as noted on can for 2 servings) plain whey (or your favorite vegan plain or vanilla flavored)**
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or more as desired)
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp finely ground flax seeds
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup (don't need if using stevia based protein powder)
- Optional: sneak in a green veggie by adding a handful of baby spinach
**I prefer unsweetened but for those of you that like sweet, choose a protein powder with stevia, a plant-based natural sweetener.
Step 3: Blend it up!
- add almonds, 1/2 cup chai, and medjool date to blender and blend until smooth
- add the rest of the ingredients (start with another 1/2 cup chai and add more liquid as needed) and blend until smooth. You can also add in a couple ice cubes to make it frosty.
- Serve sprinkled with a little more cinnamon or nutmeg and enjoy!
- Pumpkin provides a day's dose of Vitamin A along with some Vitamin C, calcium, iron and other trace minerals. For more info click here.
- Banana provides a nice dose of Vitamin C along with some Vitamin A, calcium, iron and other trace minerals. Click here for more info.
- Chia seeds are high in dietary fiber, calcium, omega-3 fats, trace minerals, and rich source of anti-oxidants. Click here for more info.
- Flax seeds provide fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, Vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, and other minerals and vitamins. Click here for more info.
- Whey = easily digestible and absorbable form of protein. I love Tera's brand for their high quality and commitment to sustainable farming practices and the ethical treatment of animals. If you are vegan/vegetarian, I recommend Sunwarrior brand plant-based protein.