So, I definitely like pumpkin. And I definitely like making high-protein recipes (don’t ask me how much I spend on protein powders – it’s almost embarrassing, really). Now, does it come as a surprise that I LOVE cheesecake? (I mean c’mon, who doesn’t love cheesecake? Really? Are you sure?). There’s just something about that rich, creamy, not-too-sweet dessert that just makes me weak in the knees. But, alas, too many cheesecakes will not only make me weak in the knees, but also soft and pudgy in various areas that I work hard to keep a little bit firmer. The natural solution is a high-protein, low-fat version of cheesecake that keeps the great texture and flavour that I love, but loses some of the calories, fat and refined sugar. Welcome to the wonderful world of Pumpkin Cheesecake Chia Pudding – I promise it’s another easy, healthy recipe you can whip up in minutes.
I don’t regularly order desserts in restaurants (either I’m a) too full by that point OR b) freaked out by the unknown but likely “heavy-duty” nutritional content of the dessert, knowing full well that I can likely make something better-tasting AND better-for-me at home) but if there is one dessert I will hold out for, it is a classic New York Cheesecake. Preferably with raspberry topping. I will say no to a strawberry-topped cheesecake but yes to the identical cheesecake topped with raspberries. Any other fruit or even chocolate or caramel-based topping need not apply (! Gasp! “No” to chocolate! I know, I know!). If I’m going to indulge, it had better be exactly what I want or fuggedaboutit. Are you the same way? Are there any desserts (or other dishes) in your life that have to be “just so” or you won’t bother – I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Pumpkin pie on the other hand, much as I love it, is not something I have ever ordered in a restaurant, at least not in my recollection. Not to say that I was a pie snob and only ever ate homemade pie, either. No, my mother was not much of a baker (but she cooked a lot of great meals – love you, Mom!) and my brother and I happily feasted on the President’s Choice brand (or whatever other in-house brand) pumpkin pie from our local Real Atlantic Superstore every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Family tradition dictated that each piece of pie HAD to be served with a generous dollop of Cool Whip (the ratio of topping to pie was roughly 1:1) AND said piece of pie had to be stabbed ceremoniously with the dessert fork, standing vertical and at the ready for immediate use by the pie eater to shovel pie into his or her piehole. Apparently we are the only weirdos to adopt this highly useful serving presentation, as there was not a single shutterstock image of a fork lodged vertically in a piece of pumpkin pie – all of the forks were lying sedately next to the pie in the images I encountered). I don’t think I had homemade pumpkin pie until 2007, when my then-fiancé, now-husband Mr. Golden Graham baked one (and a healthy crustless version, at that) for Thanksgiving. And then my eyes were opened to the nutritional possibilities of pumpkin pie, from the downright dubious (egg yolks and condensed milk) to the pinnacles of high-protein, sugar-free options (Power Pumpkin Pie, anyone?).
Marvel of the modern world, I love that the canning process means that I can have pumpkin whenever I want, even if they are nowhere near to being in season (case in point: I have three cans of pumpkin in my cupboard right now and pumpkin season in Korea is several months away. As an aside, like other great advances in the history of humankind, canning was actually a military endeavour. We owe M. Nicolas Appert for canning, a Frenchman who developed the process in response to the French government’s call for a way to get food to the troops without spoiling. Amazing what you can learn from the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online – anyone else remember looking up references for school papers and projects in the hardcopy version, way back when?). As I’ve said before (here’s some self-plagiarism): you could of course, get your hands on a perfectly ripe, in-season pumpkin and make your OWN homemade pumpkin purée for use in this recipe. But again, canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!) will do just fine.
Did all that talk about desserts, cheesecakes and pumpkin pies make you hungry? Here we go:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Chia Pudding (High-Protein)
The rich, creamy taste of cheesecake meets classic pumpkin pie flavour in this high-protein, low-fat pudding that only TASTES indulgent. A sprinkle of chia seeds enhances the texture and nutrition even more!
Author: The Golden Graham Girl
1 cup (227g) fat-free cottage cheese – learn to make your own, here
1 scoop (28g) protein powder of choice – I used Quest Nutrition Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder*
1 tsp (5g) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2g) nutmeg
1/4 tsp (0.5g) ground ginger
1 cup (212g) canned pumpkin purée NOT pumpkin pie filling – I used Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin Purée* but any canned pumpkin will do
2 tbsp (24g) chia seeds – I used Spectrum Essentials Chia Seed, Omega-3 & Fiber*
Optional sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, stevia) – depending on the sweetness of your protein powder and pumpkin, you may wish to add an additional sweetener, to taste
1. Mix all ingredients except chia seeds in a mini food processor or blender. Process until texture is smooth and creamy.
2. Stir in chia seeds. If using an additional sweetener, add now, to taste (note that this will alter the nutritional information vs. what is presented below).
3. Divide the mixture into two wide-mouth Mason jars or containers and refrigerate overnight. Note the recipe easily halves for single servings or multiplies for more.
4. Stir before serving.
NUTRITION INFORMATION (without added sweetener)
Calories: 247 Fat: 4.5g Carbohydrates: 21.7g Sugar: 10.0g Fiber: 8.7g Protein: 28.0g
Every bite (and there always seem to be too few!) combines the creamy, cool texture of cheesecake with the warm and comforting flavours of pumpkin pie and the nutritional bonus (omega-3 fatty acids and fiber) of chia seeds!
All content on The Golden Graham Girl is the original creation and property of thegoldengrahamgirl.com (unless otherwise noted).
*Please note that I am currently NOT sponsored by or affiliated with any particular brand, company or product. Any ideas, comments or opinions are my own, as mentioned in my Product Review page. However, if you choose to purchase new-to-you products I recommend using the link(s) I provide, I can earn a small credit. More information on that is available here.
Some process shots:
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