If you live in the Northeast like I do, you are experiencing a very strange December. I mean, it’s been in the 60s this entire week! People seem to be handling the uncharacteristically warm weather in different ways: some are freaking out, some are ecstatic, and some are taking it as a sign that a delicious pumpkin-based smoothie recipe I had thought was doomed to sit around until next fall is actually still very much seasonally-appropriate. (Okay, maybe just me for that last one!) But yes, I have a wonderful smoothie for you to savor during these last few (days? weeks? who knows at this point?) of warm weather, and I highly recommend that you make it before the snow hits!
This smoothie has a savory quality that I really enjoy. The frozen banana definitely gives it some sweetness – but there is also a complexity of flavor that differentiates it from your everyday smoothie. Pungent turmeric and ginger combine with creamy pumpkin puree, coconut milk, and fall spices; I chose to highlight these notes with a bit of celtic sea salt (more than you would typically put in a sweeter smoothie) and the result was delicious.
Let’s quickly talk about turmeric, since it’s one of my all-time favorite spices and plays a leading role in this smoothie. Often used in Indian cooking, turmeric is a root (similar to ginger) that has incredible health benefits. It’s best known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and is even taken by some people as a supplement to heal joint issues and other inflammatory conditions. You can use a pinch of the dried version to turn your lentils a lovely yellow color or to make your tofu scramble resemble eggs. And I’ve been using turmeric in this manner for quite some time. The first time I purchased fresh turmeric, however, I was a little intimidated – it’s kind of gnarly looking and I wasn’t sure how to prepare it. The answer? Just treat it like ginger: peel away the outside with a knife, and you are left with a bright orange piece of pungent goodness that can easily be minced and used in soups, stews, stir-fries….and smoothies of course!
A couple notes about the recipe:
-Depending on where you purchase your turmeric, it may vary in pungency. Supermarket turmeric will be weaker than farmer’s market turmeric. I’ve made this with both, and decided to measure with the assumption that most people will probably be using supermarket turmeric. If you have really fresh, pungent turmeric, you might try using a bit less than the listed two teaspoons and then increase the amount, to taste.
-There is a very slight possibility that you will end up with a pumpkin-turmeric pudding – this happened to me once out of the four times I’ve made this. I’m not 100 percent sure what made it happen, but it was delicious! If it happens to you, count yourself lucky, sprinkle some toasted coconut on top, and go to town! (In all seriousness, though, I think it probably had to do with the size of the frozen banana and/or the duration/speed of blending. As such, I’ve made sure that my blending directions are nice and specific. So provided you use a banana that isn’t freakishly large, you should end up with a smoothie.
-This recipe yields about 3 cups, and will serve two people.
Savory Fall Smoothie
- 1 banana, frozen
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh turmeric
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
Place all ingredients except the banana in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Add the frozen banana and blend just until completely incorporated – don’t overblend or your smoothie will start to heat up! Enjoy it coatless on your porch in mid-December (a sweatshirt is a good idea) and be happy that it’s not winter yet.