In the summertime, I enjoy making and eating parfaits with fresh berries, yogurt, and a variety of toppings. But once fall rolls around, and the seasonal berries disappear, I ditch my parfaits .
Why? Because it never even crossed my mind to use the most iconic fall fruit of all as a substitute! That’s right, pumpkin (and yes, it’s technically a fruit!). Pumpkin is too often only used in Thanksgiving desserts, but it’s quite versatile and is an excellent source of vitamin A and good source of vitamin C, which are both antioxidants.
While pumpkin puree alone would work just dandy in a parfait, I decided to take it a step further to incorporate one of the “hot” trending foods out there–chia seeds. While there are no miracle foods, as some people claim chia seeds to be, they are still pretty cool and offer several nutritional benefits:
- Excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids
- Excellent source of fiber at 10 g per ounce
- Rich with protein and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc
Emerging research suggests that chia seeds might help in reducing the risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as lowering high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. When added to liquid and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia seeds forms a gel, which is why they work so well in this pumpkin pudding recipe. The pudding also tastes great by itself, and adds a hint of fall flavor when added to a bowl of oatmeal!
Pumpkin-Chia Pudding Parfait
For Pumpkin-Chia Pudding:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
- Low-fat vanilla yogurt
- Chopped pecans or walnuts
- Raw, unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds
- Cereal or granola (I used Kashi® Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits)
- To make pudding, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until no clumps remain. Refrigerate pudding overnight for best results. Pudding will keep for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
- To make the parfait, layer pudding and yogurt, then top with desired ingredients.