Folks, I have to apologize. That right there in the photo above is not a pretty-looking dessert. It’s actually a really ugly dessert, and my limited food styling skills were not enough to save it.
But you know what? You should make it anyway. You should pretty much make these right now, especially if you are Paleo and you have been craving pumpkin pie. Heck, even if you’re not Paleo, you should put these in your Thanksgiving rotation because they are just. That. Good.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is based off of a recipe of my mother-in-law’s. My husband actually made these for Thanksgiving the first year we were dating, and he’s very proud of his version. It’s essentially a crustless pumpkin pie, which is perfect because crust is like the least exciting part of pumpkin pie, in my opinion.
Anyway. His version is great, but I knew I could make these Paleo with just a few adjustments. The original version was actually gluten-free, so all I needed to do was use honey for sweetener and coconut milk instead of cream, and I was in business. These changes meant the custard took longer to set up, but a few adjustments there fixed that, too.
So here you are! A pumpkin pie with basically no excuses not to eat it. Enjoy!
Paleo Pumpkin Custard
A delicious Paleo pumpkin pie — kind of. Perfect for Thanksgiving!
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 can pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk (not quite a can)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Begin a large pot of boiling water, either in a tea kettle or a saucepan, for your hot water bath.
- Beat eggs and honey in a stand mixer until well blended. Add pumpkin and spices and stir to combine, then beat in vanilla and coconut milk until the mixture looks exactly like the inside of a pumpkin pie.
- Distribute batter among six ramekins, putting about 3/4 of a cup in each one. Place ramekins in a 9″x13″ glass baking pan, then carefully pour an inch of boiling water into the large pan around the ramekins. If you like, you can take one of the ramekins out of the pan first to make the pouring easier, then replace it.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the batter stops jiggling and a knife inserted in the center of one of the ramekins comes out clean. Serve, or place in the fridge for later.
Risotto has this undeserved reputation for being finicky, and I’m not sure where it comes from. People seem to have this idea that risotto needs to be stirred constantly, that it takes forever to make, that it’s essentially impossible to create outside of a restaurant kitchen.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it takes some attention, but no more so than any number of dishes I can name — macaroni and cheese, for example, or curry. Saute the onions, toast the rice in the pan, then just add broth and stir just enough to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add some cheese and the accoutrements of your choice, and you’re pretty much good to go.
In this case, to finish off our two weeks (two weeks!) of pumpkin recipes, I used what was left of my little sugar pie pumpkin to make a fall-inspired risotto. The pumpkin adds a little creaminess and allows you to cut down on the cheese, while the sage and thyme make sure you know it’s fall. It’s also a great vegetarian entree or side dish, for those of you looking for your next Meatless Monday.
The trickiest part is recognizing when the rice is done, and when it’s overdone. During the last 10 minutes or so of cooking, you’ll want to (carefully) taste the risotto. When the rice is fully cooked through but not yet mushy, it’s done — the risotto will be creamy but won’t be like overcooked oatmeal. There’s a fine line, but I have confidence you can handle it.
Pumpkin Sage Risotto
Gluten-free, vegetarian and perfectly fall-appropriate pumpkin sage risotto.
- 3 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp fresh sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss pumpkin with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, then spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until very tender. Remove from oven. Take about 2/3 of the pumpkin and quickly puree or mash with a food processor or a fork; set aside both puree and chunks.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sautee until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add rice and cook, stirring, until the rice makes a distinct “clicking” sound against the pan. Add white wine and stir, then lower heat to medium-low and let simmer until the wine is almost all absorbed.
- Add broth one half-cup at a time, stirring after each addition and every few moments or so. I was able to take the dog out quickly during one interval, if that tells you anything. Your rice is almost done when the grains have a tiny bit of bite to them, but don’t crunch. You’ll use at least 4 cups of broth, and it should take no less than half an hour.
- When rice is almost done, stir in your pumpkin puree, pumpkin chunks, Parmesan cheese, sage, and thyme. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Allow to cook for a few minutes more, or until rice is done and pumpkin is heated through.
- Serve immediately. If you have leftovers, they can be reheated with additional broth to restore texture.
I have never been terribly good at making breakfast for breakfast. Some people can whip up eggs on a moment’s notice, frittatas on a whim, biscuits and gravy whenever they feel like it, pancakes three times a week.
I am not one of those people. Breakfast for me is a cup of coffee, then usually either a granola bar and fruit or a green smoothie, which I’ve probably made with my eyes half-shut. Going out for breakfast is always fun, and once in a while I’ll mix it up with some overnight oats or something, but I never have time for anything more elaborate. Plus, I’m really bad at pancakes.
However, it’s fall. I had a weekend morning that was free and a half can of pumpkin puree to use up, plus a brand-new stovetop wafflemaker that we got for our wedding. Pancakes are a mess for me (they always stick, no matter how much butter or oil I use), but waffles are better. And even though I’m not always a fan of the big breakfast, Ben is.
Most important of all, I promised you two weeks of pumpkin recipes! Here’s a delicious, crispy, delicately maple-flavored waffle that also happens to be gluten-free, vegan, and free from refined sugar. Best of all, the pumpkin and extra baking soda act as the egg substitute, eliminating the hassle of making a flax egg. A little cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves add to the festive autumnal flavor. If you’re feeling, like, nuts — you can top these with a tiny bit of pumpkin caramel chai ice cream and some candied pecans for a fall dessert waffle a la mode. Yum.
Pumpkin Spice Waffles
A vegan gluten-free waffle that’s full of fall flavor, not refined sugar. Top with pecans and dried cranberries for breakfast, or ice cream and candied pecans for dessert.
- 1 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup gluten-free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp coconut flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- dash of cloves
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil (or other oil)
- In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for a few moments and let curdle while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and almond milk mixture and stir until the batter is just smooth.
- Cook waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions on your wafflemaker (mine was on the stovetop; one cup filled it, and after preheating, I cooked each waffle for 1 min, then flipped and cooked for another 2 minutes.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!
You guys are going to flip your lids. I’m not kidding. This is the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever made, and it’s totally perfect for those of you who are, you know, not in Idaho where the weather is feeling fall-ish.
It all started when I had kind of a revelation a few weeks back. There was a business trip, I was tired, and I was craving a pumpkin spice latte…but it was 75 degrees outside. Luckily, apparently someone had anticipated this very problem, because there exists in this world a frozen blended pumpkin spice coffee situation. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you guys how fast I sucked one down.
Anyway, that and this wonderful brown sugar bourbon ice cream recipe from the New York Times inspired this vegan pumpkin caramel chai ice cream. Turns out, pumpkin and coconut milk go together incredibly well, as do coconut milk and chai and pumpkin and chai. The whole experience of eating this is incredibly harmonious, as the spices add warmth and bring out the sweetness of the pumpkin.
The minimal brown sugar is worth it for this treat, in my opinion. It’s just enough to add a velvety caramel note that brings together all of the other flavors. However, if you are very anti-refined sugar, you can just use maple syrup, though the flavors won’t be as complex.
Top this with some candied pecans, extra caramel sauce, or just enjoy alone out of the freezer as we’ve been doing. It’s a great way to bring a taste of fall into warmer climates.
Pumpkin Caramel Chai Ice Cream
Serves: 1 quart
A vegan ice cream infused with notes of caramel, chai tea, and that ubiquitous pumpkin. Stir into coffee if you’re feeling really naughty.
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk, full fat
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- pinch black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat the brown sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar melts and the caramel turns reddish-brown.
- Add coconut milk and stir. Don’t panic when your caramel freezes up! It will melt as your coconut milk heats up. Continue to stir over medium-low heat until the coconut milk has totally come together (no lumps) and the caramel is totally incorporated.
- Remove from heat. Whisk in pumpkin puree, vanilla, and spices. Taste at this point and adjust spices as desired.
- Put saucepan in the fridge and cool for about two hours. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s instructions (though mine took about 30 minutes). Store in the freezer; take out of freezer about 10 mins before serving and allow to soften.
I don’t know who came up with pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, but that person was a genius. Sweet, rich chocolate with the nutritional benefits of pumpkin? Yes, please.
These delicious muffins are the best of both worlds. Yeah, they’re vegan and gluten-free (though not Paleo). Yes, they involve flax seed and vitamin-rich pumpkin and applesauce. Yes, they rely on maple syrup and the applesauce for sweetness, meaning they are also mostly free of refined sugar (except the little bit in the dark chocolate).
But they are also muffins that are more like cupcakes than anything else. Chocolate chips stud these babies and, if you eat them warm out of the oven or warm them up before serving, melt all over the place into little bomb of goodness. Totally dessert-worthy but healthy enough that you can enjoy them for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Awesome.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Vegan and gluten-free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins — healthy enough for breakfast, delicious enough for dessert.
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
- 6 Tbsp of water
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
- 1/2 cup applesauce (homemade or unsweetened from the store)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Whisk together ground flax seed and water, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and either line a muffin tin or grease the cups. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, applesauce, and maple syrup. Add flax mixture, and whisk well to combine.
- Gently stir in flour, baking soda, and baking powder until just incorporated. Gently stir in chocolate.
- Distribute batter among muffin cups, using about 1/4 cup of batter for each. Sprinkle with extra chocolate chips, if desired.
- Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each muffin comes out clean (with maybe some melted chocolate on it). Let cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Forget Pumpkin Spice Lattes, okay? I mean, don’t completely forget about them, but when October hits, all I can think about is football food. And not that summery fresh corn soup I made a while ago — I mean rich, meaty Texas-style chili.
Of course, this still is pumpkin week. So I guess you can think of this recipe as the Pumpkin Spice Latte of chili. There’s cinnamon and there’s pumpkin, but there’s also that incredible meatiness that only chili con carne has. Add spice from the peppers and a flavor bomb in the form of roasted pumpkin and pumpkin puree, and you have the quintessential fall meal that pairs perfectly with a side of college football.
Oh yeah, and there’s bison meat. Don’t believe the naysayers — bison is amazing. It can be hard to cook with bison, as it really is leaner than beef and needs extra care. However, if you take the time to prepare it properly, it will reward you with incredible flavor — and, a friend of mine claims, the feeling of having been “punched by protein” (in a good way).
As you can see, I topped this with cheese and sour cream. The dish itself is paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free, but I would recommend adding a little sour cream or serving this with bread if that fits into your dietary restrictions. I actually heated up a few tortillas and used them as dippers, which was an excellent choice as well.
But serving suggestions aside, you need to make this chili or else your fall won’t be complete. Do it.
Pumpkin Bison Chili
Forget Pumpkin Spice Lattes — this Texas-style paleo and gluten-free pumpkin bison chili is the quintessence of fall. Go ahead, eat it. You know you want to.
- 3 cups chopped, peeled pumpkin (deal with this like a butternut squash)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 pounds of ground bison
- 1/2 red bell pepper, minced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 or 2 red jalapenos, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes with their liquid
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup bone broth or water
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss pumpkin with olive oil, then spread on a foil-lined baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for 40 to 45 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large stock pot or Dutch oven, brown the bison over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper, if you like. Once bison is nicely browned and no pink remains, drain the meat (if necessary) and set aside.
- In the same pan, sauté the peppers, onion, jalapeno, and garlic until tender, about eight minutes. Add bison and roasted pumpkin, and stir to incorporate.
- Add tomatoes (and juice), spices, broth or water, and pumpkin puree. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, simmering for at least one hour.
- Serve with the chili accoutrements of your choice. Enjoy the taste of autumn.
Guess what? It’s finally — finally — pumpkin season for real. The leaves are changing, the nights are freezing (in Idaho, anyway) and the grocery stores are full of giant winter squashes. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte the other day. ‘Tis the season.
I know you guys are excited, too — and that’s why I’m posting two weeks of sweet and savory pumpkin recipes! Because when it’s pumpkin season, I fully believe you should take advantage of that. Throw that stuff in everything. I am.
This vegan cheesecake recipe is not just another pumpkin post, though. This is the vegan cheesecake that made me realize that regular cheesecake is not my favorite. Why would anyone ever eat an overly rich and super-sweet slice of modified cream cheese when they could be eating this incredible goodness?
I finally worked out the kinks in my vegan cheesecake recipe and technique, and the result is a beautifully light (but still substantial) whipped filling made mostly of coconut milk, cashews, and pumpkin with the perfect amount of honey and spices. I actually made an audible oh my god this is so good noise when I ate my first bite of this. And with the pecan-date crust giving that delicious nuttiness with a touch of caramel flavor? Forget about it.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
The vegan cheesecake to end all cheesecakes — the one that makes you realize all other cheesecakes, non-vegan as they are, are kind of crap. Enjoy this taste of pure fall.
- 25 pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 10 mins, then drained
- 2 cups of pecans
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups cashews, soaked overnight, drained
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey, if you’re not vegan)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 cup of cream from the top of a can of coconut milk
- pinch allspice
- Make your crust: Process dates, pecans and vanilla in a food processor until it begins to come together. Press into a springform pan, and place in freezer.
- Make the filling: Process cashews, pumpkin, and sweetener in a food processor until about as smooth as you can get it, but before it turns into nut butter.
- Add vanilla and spices and pulse a few times to combine. Add in coconut cream and process until smooth, whipped, and the texture of, well, cheesecake. It will be a tiny bit grainy, but it’s not noticeable as you’re eating it.
- Pour filling over prepared crust. Freeze to solidify, then store covered in the fridge for up to a week. Yum.
* To get the cream from the top of a coconut milk can, first find a can of coconut milk that doesn’t make a noise when you shake it. Then, flip the can over and open from the bottom. Carefully drain off the thinner liquid, then scoop the white cream out. You should have about a half cup of cream. Use the extra in coffee 🙂