Archive | October, 2014

This Week: A Pumpkin Frenzy

27 Oct

Clean, Seasonal Pumpkin Recipes

Gluten-free, dairy-free, and well-balanced

“White girl” jokes aside, I do enjoy some pumpkin-flavored dishes. And I happen to be wearing yoga pants today. Guess some of those jokes exist for a reason! I try to keep my pumpkin cravings in check, opting for food I can make rather than consuming some weird, artificial-tasting pumpkin junk.

I’ve been scouring the internet over the last few weeks searching for clean-eating pumpkin recipes that will actually taste good. It’s hard to strike that balance between being yummy and being wholesome/nutritious for you. I’m naturally neither a good nor creative cook, so the majority of recipes I post are ones I find online and tweak to my liking. The irony is that I am a lot better at baking but cannot use any kind of flour with gluten.

I have been a bit obsessed with quinoa lately for two main reasons: it is an excellent source of complex carbs packed with protein and Costco got me into these “quinoa and brown rice with garlic” pouches (shown below). The pouches are awesome–one just has to squeeze the pouch to break up the rice and quinoa, open the pouch halfway, and pop it into the microwave for 90 seconds.


For the recipe below, I used my regular, unflavored quinoa instead of the pre-made pouch. After all of my experimenting I was pleased with these two little gems: pumpkin spinach quinoa and pumpkin cheesecake parfaits.


Spinach Pumpkin Quinoa

pumpkin spinach quinoa

(Original recipe courtesy of ifoodreal, found here)


  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree  (I only had canned pumpkin, so I ran over a cup of pure pumpkin through the food processor for about 30 seconds)
  • 1.5 cups low-sodium chicken stock (original recipe calls for 3 cups; I cut it in half) + 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves


  1. Cook the quinoa as directed (just like rice: 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa/rice) on stovetop.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion turns clear. Add the pumpkin, chicken stock, and pepper, bringing it all to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the skillet from heat; add the cooked quinoa and spinach. Stir it to combine all ingredients. At this point, I turned the burner back to low-medium to cook the spinach a bit, continually stirring.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!


  • The original recipe, linked above, calls for parmesan cheese. I am limiting my dairy intake (due to skin and intestinal reactions), so I omitted it. My dish lacked a bit of flavor: I would recommend adding more pepper, allspice, sriracha, or even some curry.
  • I purchased a rotisserie chicken yesterday. I had some left over, so I chopped it into pieces and threw it in with the quinoa. Nom nom nom!
  • This recipe could easily be turned into a pumpkin curry. In place of chicken stock, I would use coconut milk and add 1 tsp of curry powder while cooking. Add some cashews to it, and you’ve got a meal with an entirely different flavor!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits


<  hers & his  >

I keep seeing all of these cool “clean-eating” parfait recipes, but I have been hesitant to try them. Usually when I make something, I want to try it right away. Parfaits never appeal to me because you have to refrigerate part of the ingredients for a period of time. I’m just not that patient, and my craving for whatever sounded good subsides by the time it is made. That was not the case with these! Again, I copied a recipe from Please view the original recipe here. I will warn you that the “Healthy 10 Minute Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits” title is misleading, as the parfaits only take 10 minutes to construct after refrigerating the ingredients for at least six hours. Here goes my version:


  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk  (I use Blue Diamond)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree  (again, I turned my canned pumpkin into a puree with the food processor)
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or allspice  (I prefer pumpkin pie spice but only had allspice)
  • 2 cups of whole almonds  (used to grind into almond flour)  -or-  1 1/2 cups of almond flour

Optional Toppings:

  • 1/3 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt  -or- non-dairy whipped topping
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans


  1. Add almond milk, pumpkin puree, honey, and pumpkin pie spice into a Mason jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Whisk with a fork until well mixed. *Refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight.*
  2. Grind up almonds in a food processor, turning them into almond flour. Remove half of the almond flour and divide it between two serving glasses.
  3. Add the cooled pumpkin mixture to the food processor with the remaining almond flour. Blend 3-5 minutes until smooth and tasty.
  4. Pour the pumpkin + almond flour mixture over the almond flour in the glasses.
  5. Top with Greek yogurt or non-dairy whipped topping, chocolate chips, toasted pecans, and/or drizzled chocolate.
  6. Serve cold or store in the refrigerator.


  • The original recipe calls for 3 sheets of graham crackers to blend in the food processor and use as a base. Because I am gluten-free, I opted for almond flour.
  • The original recipe includes chia seeds in the pumpkin mixture, which are a wonderful, nutritional addition.
  • To make the chocolate topping, heat the coconut oil and chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Stir the chocolate in between to distribute heat evenly. Pour on top of your parfait.
  • Toast pecans or almonds in a bit of coconut oil, chop, and sprinkle on the parfait.

As you can see in the photo above, I forgot to leave some of the almond flour aside to put it as the bottom layer. My parfait is on the left: gluten- and dairy-free. I avoid yogurt but added a couple of chocolate chips on top. I was surprised with how good mine was, even without the extra toppings. The one I made for my husband has the Greek yogurt topping and was also delicious!

Enjoy and Happy Autumn!!!

Thanks to for providing the base for both recipes.