There’s more to September than back to school. It’s also the kick-off of Pumpkin Spice Season. The fascination with this warm flavor profile isn’t new. It may feel like it took over our taste buds around the time a certain coffee brewer began to tempt us with an orange-tinged latte, but the flavor profile actually dates back thousands of years to the discovery of nutmeg, and dishes classified by the pumpkin spice label date back at least to the 1930s. As with any food-based trend, however, finding an allergy-friendly alternative can be difficult, unless you’re ready to roll your sleeves up and make your own. Here’s the good news: You’ve got plenty of simple and delectable pumpkin spice recipes to pick from. A few of them can be found here.
DIY Pumpkin Spice
Before we get too far into this, let’s talk about the combination of spices at the heart of the pumpkin spice trend. You can buy yourself a ready-made mix and get cooking. You can also make your own combination, which can be a great option when you’re dealing with allergies, as it allows you to tweak the flavorful mixture to exclude spices that aren’t on your safe list. Pumpkin spice is simply a combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. You’ll find different recipes list different measurements, but they all have one thing in common: there should be more cinnamon than anything else. A good starting point would be 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the remaining ground spices. Start there and adjust your quantities to your own taste. The mixture will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a year. Make it. Use it. Enjoy it.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
If we’re going to do a list of seasonal recipes, the PSL is a must. Brew yourself a pot of coffee. In a pan, combine one cup of your favorite dairy-free milk (coconut is a good one!), with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract, a tablespoon of maple syrup, and ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix. Whisk the ingredients until combined and heat for about 5 minutes. Combine your creamy, yummy mixture with your coffee. Go ahead and top with a little whipped coconut milk (or other dairy-free topping of your choice) and a nice sprinkling of pumpkin spice mix. Yum!
Pumpkin “Buttermilk” Waffles
Pull out the waffle maker and get ready for your own twist on fluffy, delicious waffles. Start by combining ¾ cup of your favorite dairy free milk with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Let this sit for about 10 minutes to create a dairy-free buttermilk. Now add ¼ cup of pumpkin puree and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla to your buttermilk and stir to combine. Next add in 1 cup of flour (or your favorite flour substitute), 3 tablespoons of sugar, ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ginger, and ½ teaspoon of cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. Toss in a dash of salt and combine well. Put your waffle maker to work and enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
As hard as it is for some of us to believe, there are people who don’t like coffee. Yes, I know, but it’s true! Whether you’re one of them or not, you’re going to love this smoothie recipe! Chill a can of light coconut milk in the fridge. Meanwhile, toss a frozen banana or two into a blender and puree, then add your chilled coconut milk and mix until creamy. Toss in pumpkin puree, a bit of maple syrup, your pumpkin spice mix, and a splash of vanilla. You’re going to love this one.
Pumpkin Spice Soup
Cool, autumn nights are perfect for rich, creamy soups. Why not make one that borrows its flavor profile from the pumpkin spice trend? Start by heating a cup of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Peel, seed, and dice one medium cooking pumpkin. Add your pumpkin, 1 cup of carrots, and 1 leek to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Toss in two cloves of garlic and 2 teaspoons of nutmeg and cook for another couple of minutes. Add in 6 cups of vegetable stock (keep reading for a DIY recipe!), add a pinch of salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Puree until well blended and ladle into soup bowls for dinner!
Bonus: DIY Vegetable Broth
Believe it or not, gluten-free store-bought broth can be difficult to find. You may also have to work a little to find packaged options that don’t have cross-contamination warnings for your particular allergens. The easy way around that is to make your own broth. Carve out some time for yourself to prep this. Make a batch and divide it into canning jars for future use. This recipe from Minimalist Baker is a good starting point. The gist is this: you’re going to want to simmer a pot loaded with yummy stuff like carrots, celery, greens, onions, and garlic (and other great stuff) for a long time to yield a deeply flavored basic broth.