Healthy Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Healthy pumpkin protein smoothie

I have been making the same smoothie for months. This is my habit – I get on kicks and continuously crave certain meals and snacks…until I don’t, and I want something different. My morning smoothie recipe, which I usually consume mid-morning and post-workout, has been a matter of convenience. I throw the same ingredients into the Vitamix the night before, and then blend breakfast for my husband and son as well. The other day, I just did not want the berry flavor, so I decided to switch it up. Even though we are on the cusp on spring, and pumpkin season is but a distant fall memory, it is exactly what I wanted. I am living proof you can enjoy pumpkin any time of year.

How to make this pumpkin protein smoothie

I made up this recipe on the fly with what I had on hand, so it doesn’t need to be followed too formally. Here is what is in it:

  • Frozen cauliflower rice. I keep bags of cauliflower rice from Whole Foods in my freezer. Not only does cauliflower help you cut down on the sugar in your smoothies, but when it is riced, it blends well and lends a creamy consistency.  
  • Frozen zucchini (optional). If I am feeling ambitious, I will also keep sliced zucchini in my freezer. Frozen zucchini and frozen cauliflower rice are interchangeable in a smoothie recipe in my opinion, and I will often use both for extra plant-based nutrition.
  • Kale. I like to have some sort of leafy green in a smoothie for extra nutrients. Spinach is another great option. If you don’t have any, or would like to leave it out, you don’t need a green in this pumpkin protein smoothie.
  • Pumpkin purée. Real pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) is the star of the show in this smoothie. Not only is it a low fructose option, but it adds flavor and other nutritional benefits. Additionally, it offsets the frozen ingredients, resulting in a creamy texture.
  • Coconut yogurt. I would call this ingredient “just for fun,” but it also adds a delicious dose of healthy fat. I prefer to leave nut butter our of my smoothies, since I enjoy peanut butter at other times of the day. I loved the coconut yogurt in this smoothie, but it isn’t necessary.  
  • Frozen banana. When it comes to smoothies, banana gets a bad rap. It is true that many recipes overdo it (too much fruit in a smoothie can spike your blood sugar), but I usually only had about half of a medium banana, and my blood sugar is just fine (and my tastebuds are happier!). If you want a lower sugar option, see the substitutions below.
  • Vanilla protein powder. The protein powder obviously contributes protein, but I also add it for the flavor and sweetness. I use Be Well by Kelly or Truvani brands, and both contain monk fruit. 
  • Pumpkin pie spice. I remembered to add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice right before I blended, and I am so glad I did. It definitely helps contribute to the flavor.  
  • Almond milk. Just a splash – about 1/4 cup. 
  • Filtered water. I slowly pour filtered water into the blender while it’s processing. This method helps ensure I don’t add too much. I love my smoothies thick and creamy!

Is this pumpkin protein smoothie low in sugar?

In any smoothie, I like to cut down on the fructose with frozen cauliflower rice and/or frozen zucchini, but feel free to use one or the other. There are definitely lower sugar pumpkin smoothies on the internet; those that refrain from using bananas, and heavily rely on the pumpkin puree, protein powder, nut butter, and milk. As mentioned above, I simply prefer some banana in my smoothies, but feel free to leave it out. To make this smoothie banana-free, you could increase the pumpkin puree to 3/4 cup (up from 1/2 cup), add a tablespoon of nut butter, and/or a date instead (about 4 grams of sugar vs. 7 grams in half of a banana).

Substitutions you can make

  • Frozen cauliflower florets instead of rice. The florets would work just as well, but may leave some chunks as they are more challenging to blend until completely smooth. If you wanted to leave out the frozen cauliflower or zucchini altogether, use 1 cup of ice or almond milk cubes instead.
  • Spinach. A small handful of spinach would also work in this recipe. You could also omit the leafy greens, or add a scoop of greens powder if that is something you had on hand.
  • Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. If you can tolerate dairy, greek yogurt or cottage cheese would be a great option in lieu of the coconut yogurt. This substitution would also add more protein.
  • Date. As mentioned above, if you would like to leave out the banana, you can incorporate some sweetness with a date. However, I would increase the amount of pumpkin puree you use.
  • Pumpkin pie spice blend. If you don’t have pre-made pumpkin pie spice on hand, you could make your own blend. Use 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.

How to add extra nutrition

When it comes to smoothies, it is almost as if they sky is the limit. Of course you don’t want to incorporate too much and over complicate your smoothie; sometimes less is more. In this pumpkin smoothie recipe, you can enhance the nutrition with a tablespoon of chia seeds, ground flax, or grated ginger.

Planning and prep

This recipe works best when made at the same time you want to enjoy it. The whole process from start to finish should take about 10 minutes. If you want to make it the night before to have it ready to go the next morning, you definitely can. After blending, transfer to an airtight mason jar or other container, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Grab and go!

Healthy pumpkin protein smoothie

Healthy Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

A lower sugar and flavorful smoothie that you can enjoy any time of year! Packed with protein and plant-based nutrition, this smoothie will leave you feeling satiated and satisfied. Gluten-free, dairy-free, with a vegan option.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Breakfast
Servings 1 serving


  • High-speed Blender


  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • 1 Small handful frozen zucchini optional
  • 1 Small handful kale
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • Filtered water while blending until desired consistency is reached


  • Place all of the ingredients except for the filtered water in the blender. Start to blend on medium, gradually increasing to high as you slowly pour the filtered water into the blender. Use the tamper as you need to, and continue to blend until desired consistency is reached. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
Keyword Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Oil-free, Paleo, Soy-free, Vegan Option