I have already shared this recipe on Instagram but it is such a good recipe that it absolutely needed a blog post as well. This year I think I have made the best desserts I have ever made for my blog and this particular dessert is one of them. I have a growing list of favourites. My husband took one bite of this and said: “This is the best one you have ever made” and the best part is that it is so easy to make and only uses a handful of ingredients. The hardest part of this recipe is chopping up the pumpkin. Living in Australia we can not find pumpkin puree in a can like you can in the United States. I absolutely hate cutting pumpkin! Some of them can be so difficult I can break a sweat just trying to cut one open. I generally roast my pumpkin because I hate steaming and boiling but all methods work. If you can find yourself some pre-made pumpkin puree then, by all means, go ahead and use it for this recipe, it will make it even easier. I also used my favourite baking oil: Grove Avocado Oil in this recipe. It’s becoming my new go-to neutral oil for most of my desserts and health-wise avocado oil is second only to olive oil.
As this recipe uses pumpkin I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some wonderful benefits of pumpkin for our hormone health. Pumpkins are a high fibre nutrient-dense food, most known for their high pro-vitamin A content. Provitamin a, also known as beta carotene/carotenoids are precursors to vitamin A. Our bodies use them to convert into vitamin A. Vitamin A is best known for its role in vision but it also does wonders for our hormones. Some animal studies have found that beta carotene supplementation improved ovarian function and helped to boost progesterone (1). Although human studies would be nice here, it may be the reason why a lot of hormone experts recommend eating sweet potatoes squash and pumpkin during the luteal phase of the cycle to help boost progesterone and minimise PMS. It’s also a warm and comforting food to eat at that time of the month. More than this we know that a vitamin A deficiency aggravates iodine dependant thyroid dysfunction so adequate intake of both iodine and vitamin A is important for healthy thyroid function and metabolism (2) Vitamin A helps prevent against metabolic syndrome which can lead to type 2 diabetes and weight gain as it has a direct role in both liver and pancreatic function (2) this is important as blood sugar balance is often a root cause of many other hormonal imbalances and plays a very important role as women approach menopause.
I have heard a few times that many people have poor conversion rates to preformed vitamin A and so eating animal products that contain preformed vitamin A is advised. Although conversion rates do vary among people, if we look at the evidence, eating a diet rich in beta carotene containing foods like pumpkin and sweet potato has so much beta carotene that even the poorest converters will convert enough to maintain needs (3) the issue arises when these foods are simply not eaten.
Thankfully, it’s easy to eat a whole lot of pumpkin when it’s hidden in a dessert like this. Making desserts was my way of ensuring I was eating healthy foods like nuts, seeds and fruit when I simply could not eat many years ago when I was struggling with my hormone health.
|Easy Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Tart|| |
- 1 cup quinoa flakes (or sub quick oats)
- 3 cups blanched almond meal
- 4 tbsp Grove Avocado Oil
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cups roasted pumpkin
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 160g dark vegan chocolate 85%
- For the crust, mix all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly into the base and sides of a large tart tin. Bake for 15 mins at 180C and set aside.
- Meltdown chocolate and place in a food processor along with pumpkin, coconut sugar and vanilla, process until smooth and pour over base. Place in the fridge to set for about 2 hours. Decorate with chopped pecans