Pumpkin Fig Smoothie

A Mason jar filled with a pumpkin fig smoothie, topped with hemp hearts.
Photo: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN

Isn’t it funny how sometimes the most unplanned things end up turning out the best? This smoothie was never meant to make it on the blog. I randomly made it for breakfast one day because we were low on food, and I remembered that I still had two cans of pumpkin in the pantry from last fall that I wanted to use in something besides a baked good.

Cans are perfect for when you need some produce in a pinch by the way. I think they get a bad rap for being nutritionally sub-par, but in reality some vegetables are actually more nutritious after having been cooked/processed.

A few of my favorite canned staples are:

  • Beans (garbanzo, black, and pinto)
  • Diced tomatoes for soups, chilis, marinara sauce and a stand-in for pizza sauce
  • Corn (when out of season) for burrito bowls and Mexican-stuffed sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin for adding to oatmeal, smoothies and muffins/quick breads

What else would you add to this list?

I’m a huge proponent for keeping a well-stocked pantry because it makes weeknight cooking a million times easier and can be a lifesaver when you run out of fresh produce but still want to make a balanced meal.

So, back to this smoothie … I rummaged through the fridge to find anything that I thought would pair well with the pumpkin and here’s what I came up with:

  • Milk for the liquid component. Use your favorite! I used 1 percent.
  • Frozen banana, because in my opinion, no smoothie is complete without it. This is what makes smoothies extra creamy and it also adds a little bit of natural sweetness.
  • Fresh figs because I needed to use some up ASAP before they went bad (do not procrastinate with the figs you guys).
  • Cinnamon almond butter for fat, protein and flavor.
  • Hemp hearts for more protein, texture and because in all honesty, smoothies are the opposite of photogenic without something on top, especially when they are pale orange in color.
  • Cinnamon because I love it and seem to put it on almost every breakfast food out there.

The result is thick and creamy, has a serving of orange vegetables (always impressive at breakfast) and to be honest, kind of tastes like dessert.

Pumpkin & Fig Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 12 large frozen banana
  • 3 fresh figs, peeled and chopped
  • 13 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon almond butter (see note)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • 1tablespoons hemp hearts
  • Cinnamon to garnish

Instructions

  1. Add banana, figs, pumpkin, almond butter, milk and ice to a blender and blend on high until very smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, then top with the hemp hearts and a shake of cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Notes: If you can’t find a cinnamon almond butter (or don’t want to buy one specifically for this purpose), add regular almond butter + 14 tsp ground cinnamon.

I keep a gallon-sized zip top bag in my freezer for bananas that get too brown to eat raw. Just peel, break in half, and throw it in the bag to freeze. They make for the best smoothie add-in for extra creaminess and natural sweetness. You can also use them in baked goods! It’s way easier to use them if you peel before freezing.

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Leanne Ray
Leanne Ray, MS, RDN, is a virtual nutrition coach and the founder of
LeanneRay.com. Her blog is aimed at making cooking and nutrition
practical for busy people with an intuitive eating focus. Connect with
Leanne on her blog, Leanne Ray Nutrition, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.