Making a healthy pumpkin pie can be tricky. While pumpkin on its own has great nutritional value, the traditional Thanksgiving dessert we know is filled with sugar, dairy, and processed wheat — a far cry from clean eating. This year, we’ve switched to a gluten-free crust, clean sugars, and organic pumpkin for a version that’s just as tasty but much healthier. We’ve chosen a store-bought crust to make preparation of this healthy pumpkin pie simpler, although making your own crust is, of course, always an option. Using a gluten-free or whole grain crust helps ensure that the dessert will be free from refined starches that lead to a spike in blood sugar. It's preferable to pick an option with fiber, which will slow the absorption of sugar into the blood while also aiding digestion. Fiber promotes a feeling of fullness and helps to prevent overeating. Additionally, it helps feed good gut bacteria, improves immunity, and removes excess hormones like estrogen. We’ve given you the option to use canned pumpkin for this pie; if possible, choose organic, pure pumpkin. It makes the dessert more dense in nutrients. You’ll see other canned options called something like “pumpkin pie filling,” so be sure to check that pumpkin is the only listed ingredient. In addition to the fiber found in a properly chosen crust, one can of pumpkin adds seven grams of fiber. Pumpkin, like most brightly-colored orange, yellow, and red produce, is rich in beta-carotene, a nutrient which the body converts to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for eye health, reproductive function, and immunity. If you’ve chosen a fresh pumpkin, be sure to save the seeds. They are rich in potassium, magnesium, and zinc. They have also been shown to contain properties that fight off certain chronic diseases like cancer. The fat found in coconut milk is useful in absorbing nutrients like Vitamin A. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat soluble, meaning they require fat in order for the body to absorb and utilize them. Pairing foods containing these nutrients with fats found in coconut, avocado, olive oil, and raw nuts (to name a few), is important. It’s also a reason to avoid diets extremely low in fat. They can result in vitamin deficiencies and a slew of other ailments in the body. So... let's make healthy pumpkin pie!
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out your dough over a pie plate and gently press dough to mold into the plate. Optionally, create a pattern at the edges with your fingers or a fork.
Step 2: Blend all pumpkin pie ingredients together in a high-speed blender. Pour puree into crust. Lightly smooth pumpkin and tap on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake 40-50 minutes until lightly browned and still jiggly in the middle.
Step 3: Let pie cool to room temperature, then cover and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). If using coconut whip, place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge with pie.
Step 4: Scoop out the firm portion of canned coconut, which will sit on top after a few hours in the fridge. Whip coconut cream with vanilla and store in the fridge until ready to serve your healthy pumpkin pie. Enjoy!