[Post #88 for 100 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
My running partner, Wendy, asked me the other week what I love making with pumpkin. We had been chatting about our Thanksgiving plans, which, of course, led to food, and recipes, and eating. It makes long, weekend runs feel so much shorter when you can talk food with a friend on the last few (hardest!) miles.
I mentioned a handful of dishes that I’ve been loving of late, but the more truthful answer is “everything.”
I was a little embarrassed to confess just how much pumpkin I eat. Year round. It’s a lot. When there was a pumpkin shortage several years ago (my version of Halloween terror), I hoarded cans whenever I came upon a supermarket stash. I stir it into yogurt, soups, smoothies, breads, cookies, stews, cakes, puddings, oatmeal…like I said, everything. It’s hard to explain when you’re feeling winded on mile 12.
I wish Wendy had posed the question this week, because I could offer a simple, yet still truthful, response.
Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars.
These are, by far, my favorite new pumpkin obsession, and with good reason: the are spicy, creamy, faintly sweet with maple syrup, packed with protein (more than 10 grams per puck/bar), filling, energizing, and all around perfect for satisfying your pumpkin pie longings, any time of the day or night.
These humble bites of nutritious goodness epitomize why I eat so much pumpkin year round: pumpkin is a nutrient-dense, versatile, affordable, convenient (my cupboard hoard of cans of the stuff says it all) food that can power your workouts and life all day, all year. That it can make decadent pies and cheesecakes (not to mention jack-o’lanterns) is mere bonus. Pumpkin–loaded with antioxidants and fiber, yet low in calories and natural sugar–is a key player for making eating well a snap.
These protein pucks should convince you once and for all.
Making them require no more than 10 minutes and a few basic ingredients: oats, coconut flour, spices, and plant protein powder. No baking required. The protein powder is the only pricey ingredient, but it more than pays for itself after you make two or three batches of bars (compared to the cost of ready-made protein bars).
Happy pumpkin eating, everyone!
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ⅓ cup vanilla vegan protein powder (any variety)
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons almond butter (or preferred nut or seed butter)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: a sprinkle of raw (Turbinado) sugar
- Grease or spray 5 cups of a standard size muffin tin.
- In a food processor, process the oats into a fine powder. Add the protein powder, coconut flour, spice and salt; pulse to combine. Add the pumpkin, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla; pulse until completely blended, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl.
- Divide dough into 5 equal portions; roll each into a ball. Press 1 ball into each prepared cup, tamping down with a measuring cup to flatten. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to set. If desired, sprinkle tops with some raw sugar.