Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

How much change is undergone before you can call a recipe your own creation?

My sister and I had a phone conversation about this last night. She is an artist. In art world, a piece of work can be called yours if it has undergone a 30% change, or more.

How do you measure that in food?

When I first tried this pumpkin pie smoothie, I really, really wanted it to work out. There's all this talk about pumpkin pie smoothies.

Well, I don't want to be left out.

I want a yummy piece of pumpkin pie in my smoothie, too. You can say that in a whiny voice, and I will fully support it.

You won't believe my line of thinking. Please don't laugh. Okay, laugh if you want to, as long as I can't hear you. My line of thinking went something like this: How can I make this a green smoothie? I really don't like drinking smoothies without a vegetable in it. Yes, it took me a few minutes to recall that pumpkin, after all, is a vegetable. Genius. Are you sure you want to eat my food after hearing this very sad tale about moi?

All right. Brought myself to attempt said recipe.

Paul is a green smoothie drinkin' monster. Most any green smoothie I give him, even if it's not-so-good, he will drink it. This tall glass of pumpkin-ness, however, sat. Half consumed. I could see him glance at it every once in a while, intermittently throughout his meal. Trying to determine what he thought of it, and figure out a way he could get the rest of this health food concoction into his body. Without having to taste it.

And I stood there, staring at him, staring at his smoothie. Willing him to like it.

Please, please like it.

Realized I could taste my own tall glass of pumpkin-ness to see if it was good or not. I have taste buds, too. Wow. So thick that it is hard to swallow; gives me the sensation that I really should be chewing it.

First taste pumpkin. Then banana. As an aftertaste, spices that make my throat burn. Every time I swallow. These flavors take turns dancing on my tongue.

There is no way. No way I can post something like that on my blog. Or even make reference to it, or add a link to it, if I myself am having difficulties choking it down or having to remind myself it is healthy, and therefore I need to finish it.

I was torn. This recipe had serious potential. I could tell it was a work of art in the making, and I did not want to kick it. I wanted, very badly, to keep it.

Then, I remembered. Oh, yeah. I modify recipes. It's what I do.

Went back to the drawing board, and made my little modifications.

Paul and I went from trying to choke down the smoothie, to trying to figure out how we could scrape every last bit of pie goodness out of the blender. Off of the blender lid. Out of our green smoothie jars.

I might have even licked the rubber spatula.

First taste...pumpkin pie. That's it. And then I want more.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Adapted from Angela Liddon

~2 servings

Note from Ashlee: The changes I made are small, but they made a big difference. The smoothie went from too thick and overpowering, with choppy flavors, to sweet, nicely textured, well-combined flavors. I removed the dried ginger, reduced banana and molasses, incorporated more ice, and added stevia. It wasn't sweet enough without stevia. After making my modifications, and recording them carefully, I made this recipe three more times, with the same great success every time.

Portions of this recipe have to be prepared in advance. An oat/milk/chia seed mixture needs to thicken, and you will need a frozen banana.


2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
3/4-1 frozen ripe banana (less is better than more, otherwise it will just taste like banana)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
15-22 ice cubes (creates better texture, and makes it cold which enhances flavor)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3-4 packets of Stevia (don't skip! This makes the smoothie sweet without adding sugar!)
Coconut Whipped Cream, for garnish


1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the milk, oats, and chia seeds. Place in fridge for 1 hour or preferably overnight.

2. Add soaked oat mixture to blender along with the pumpkin, molasses, frozen banana, stevia, spices, ice and maple syrup. In other words, just throw everything in your blender all at once.

3. Blend until smooth. Add additional ice cubes to achieve a smoothie-like texture. It should not be so thick that it looks/feels like pudding. Blend until ice cold. (If you don't have a high powered blender, you may need to layer your ice in the blender first. Or use less ice. I would start out with 8-12 cubes, blend, and then add more from there. The additional ice is what changed the texture and made it drinkable, instead of being so thick. I would hesitate to reduce the ice cubes.) It takes three full cycles on my powerful blendtec to get this smoothie completely smooth -- there should be no grittiness. So blend the tarnation out of it.

4. Serve with Coconut Whipped Cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top! (I don't do this because I am too lazy, and find that the smoothie is great without it.)

Some things you should know about this recipe:

It's one of those "you have to prepare the night before" things. Or at least let it sit for an hour or so.

I know.

I am not an overnight prep girl, myself. I don't do overnight lasagna, overnight breakfast casseroles. Any of that stuff. And I have to tell you that I was frustrated.

I wanted my smoothie. NOW.

But I went ahead and made the prep ingredients, and then put it in the fridge. Later the same day, I made my smoothie. Right after finishing it, I made another batch of prep ingredients for overnight.

Now, it's a habit. I make the prep part right after blending the previous nights' concoction. Ready for tomorrow!


It requires frozen bananas. I would not use a banana that has not been frozen.

Here is what I do. After being addicted to banana ice cream all summer, and then needing bananas for my favorite muffin recipe, I learned to buy a lot of bananas.

Every week when I go to Costco, I buy 4-6 bunches of bananas. At $1.29 per bunch, this amounts to about $6-$8 a week. Totally affordable. The kids and I eat through as many as we can over the course of the week, while the rest sit on the counter to sweeten.

When they are speckled brown, I grab my kids and we have a banana party. They coin bananas and put them in freezer Ziploc baggies, while I clean the kitchen.

Sometimes we eat the bananas. I have no complaints. Dr. Atkins, if alive, probably would, though.

They store very well, lying flat in my freezer, inside freezer-Ziploc gallon bags, available for banana ice cream.

Also available for a great Pumpkin Pie smoothie. I can't remember the last time we threw away an old banana in the trash. They are too precious around here.

Lastly, oats and pumpkin are some of the highest fiber foods. Sorry, Metamucil. I'll put you out of business.

Happy Autumn!!


  1. My pumpkin pie smoothie is much more simple than this--just pumpkin, almond milk, ice, stevia & a little maple syrup & cinnamon, but I think one of these days when I'm feeling more ambitious I'll try yours out. LOVE pumpkin pie smoothies--I've been having one almost every day.

    1. People are looking for easy recipes, including myself. You should blog about yours! I would love to try your variation!

  2. With the almond milk this would be like a protein shake! I could definately do this! I love the intent look on Samuels and Essie's faces. They look so pleased to be in the kitchen with autonomy over their own little project. I learned that the secret to really good smoothies is a little frozen ripe banana! But one tip, make sure your freezer works really well and isn't cluttered. Then your bananas stay white for a long time and don't slowly turn brown like mine would. Turn your freezer as cold as it will get and always wait for the bananas to get really ripe so they are sweet. P.S I am so excited to try my sprouted tofu! AND I found these tiny baby new potatoes in tri-color at Whole Foods Market yesterday! Oh, and I am going to make your pumpkin mac, I found pumpkin at Costco, (it's surprisingly expensive everywhere else).

    1. If you eat one serving, it is about 7 grams of protein. But that's calculating it with store-bought almond milk. Homemade may be different. I like your tip about the banana -- I need to clean out my freezer.

      With your tofu, if you follow the directions exactly, it should be pretty yummy. Make sure you fry it long enough to make it crispy.

      I bought my pumpkin at Costco, too! It is way expensive everywhere else, I totally agree.

  3. I can't wait to try this. Thanks for posting seasonal recipes!

  4. What if I have stevia in the little dropper bottle? Do you know the conversion?

  5. Ok I found this site: http://www.stevia.com/Stevia_Sugar_Substitute.aspx that has the conversion. I will try using 12-18 drops. Going to mix up the oat/seed/milk mixture right now@

    1. Oh, awesome. I am glad you found a good site to help with the conversion. I have heard liquid stevia tastes really good.

  6. Alrighty. Here are my two cents. I made this yesterday according to the recipe (except I halved it)and it tasted exactly like pumpkin pie! I am one who loves pumpkin anything but my hubs doesn't so I didn't even offer it to him. My baby liked it, but my older two kids said "meh." While I loved the flavor, I felt like it was a little watered down from all the ice (I used 7 or 8). It also made a TON, probably twice as much as I usually drink for a smoothie.

    So...this morning I made it again. I quartered it this time and used 2 ice cubes instead of 4. Then I added a splash of vanilla rice milk to thin it out and this time I thought it tasted perfect. The flavors were much stronger which I was missing before. That being said, the spices, flavoring, and amount of stevia were spot on. I will definitely be putting oatmeal, chia seeds, and almond milk in the fridge every night all season!!

    Oh, and I was wondering what would happen with the seeds--would I detect them/chew them up? But nope, they were ground up and added a nice black speckle (is that a word?) to the smoothie.

  7. I have been drinking a pumpkin pie smoothie every morning for breakfast since you posted it on your site! Thanks for such a fantastic seasonal recipe! I found that if I half this recipe and and 1 and 1/2 cups of almond milk and little less ice than it turns out creamy, not too thick, and not watered down at all. I still add probably 7 small ice cubes though. One trick that I REALLY LOVE is adding 1 drop of ginger essential oil from doTERRA. One little tiny drop of ginger ess oil is SO yummy in the smoothie and it goes a long way! I am a spice freak so I halved everything else except I doubled the molassis and added heaping spice measurements. YUM :) But like Alisa pointed out, it's probably better to thin the smoothie out with almond or nut or soy milk instead of tons of ice.

  8. So I just made this smoothie again ***obsessed** with it. This time I added sweet potato (yam) puree instead of canned pumpkin. It added a new depth to it, very delicious. So if you run out of canned pumpkin or need a cheaper option, you can add pureed squashes/yam/sweet potato and it's just as good!