Some things should just not have real pumpkin in them — coffee for example. The sweet spices of pumpkin pie are fine but I draw the line at gourds in my java. That said, I’m of the mindset that you should go big or go home when it comes to pumpkin. I scoff at any recipe that calls for just a dollop of pumpkin. Get it in there! It’s a nutritional powerhouse.
Pumpkin is great, in more ways than just the Charlie Brown special. A cup of pure pumpkin has 100 calories per cup and delivers 3 grams of fiber. You even get a couple grams of protein. The gourd is loaded with antioxidants – a cup of pumpkin gives you more than twice the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight. And, studies have shown pumpkin may help with blood glucose levels.
I wanted to make a super snack — something that would provide protein and fiber, yet satisfy my my autumnal pumpkin-goodie craving. These pumpkin pecan mini muffins do the trick. Have a couple of the tiny treats for a snack or go crazy and eat four of them for breakfast.
The vanilla protein powder provides some sweetness so you don’t have to add a lot of sugar. I used Sunwarrior Warrior Blend vanilla vegan protein. I find that plant-based proteins work better in baked goods. There’s only a half cup of brown sugar for the entire recipe. I chose pecans instead of walnuts because pecans are just a bit naturally sweeter than walnuts, and the fall spices also add sweetness and warmth, not to mention all the vanilla from the protein powder, almond milk and extract. They freeze well and reheat great.