You won’t believe this creamy, smooth, plant-based, pumpkin mousse! It uses canned pumpkin and all the right spices, sweetened with maple syrup and Medjool dates. Add in some cashews for creaminess along with a secret ingredient: cauliflower! Give it a try, for a sweet healthy egg-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie flavored dessert you can feel good about feeding your crew!
First of all, dear reader, if you’ve been here for any amount of time you know that Veggie Fun Kitchen is not *that* blog!
I believe first and foremost that vegan food is NOT about weird ingredients or hiding vegetables in the pudding! Crazy! Who does that!?! (In fact, truth be told, I do get those rare pieces of hate mail telling me I have no businesses publishing “unhealthy” recipes. Whatever…most aren’t…)
Well, today VFK does that…and I’m sorry (NOT sorry)! Because as it turns out, this creamy smooth pumpkin pie-flavored mousse is to die for. It’s just a really strange coincidence that it also contains healthy good-for-you (crazy) vegetable ingredients (read below)! And you are gonna love it!
Check out this post with all the vegan pumpkin recipes – both sweet and savory – from Veggie Fun Kitchen!
Reasons you’re going to love this oh-so-healthy, tasty, creamy pumpkin mousse
- has good-for-you veggies hiding inside
- a little higher in protein
- not overly sweet
- it’s got all the “frees” – egg-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free, oil-free
- gives you another reason to use your Instant Pot
- makes a delicious nutritious after-school snack
- you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy a pumpkin pie treat
- tastes like pumpkin pie!
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The creation of pumpkin pudding – made with cauliflower…why, Cindy, why!?
The creation of this dreamy creamy pumpkin mousse was a simple matter of old-people-vision and serendipity.
You see, I was in the process of developing my (soon-to-come) Vegan Pumpkin Vodka sauce (also made with pumpkin, cashews, and cauliflower) when I reached into my spice drawer to grab a bottle of cumin. It was late in the day, the kitchen lights were a little dim, and my old-people-vision was getting a little wonky (you young people just wait!)
Can you imagine, the bottle of cumin I thought I had grabbed was, in fact, a bottle of cinnamon! I had already added a can of pumpkin, expensive cashews, and my last bag of cauliflower. I was not going to let it all go to waste! And somehow, cinnamon in my pumpkin vodka sauce didn’t sit right with me.
So I decided what the heck -and made it anyway, turning it into a sweet cinnamony plant-based pumpkin pie filling – which didn’t work out as a pie filling but was brilliant as plant-based pumpkin mousse! (Nor, as it turns out, did the cumin work out in the vodka sauce, but that’s another story…)
Ingredients needed to make creamy delicious plant-based pumpkin mousse
- cauliflower (don’t hate me)
- raw cashews
- pumpkin puree
- plant milk – I used oat
- maple syrup
- Medjool dates
- pumpkin pie spice
- lemon juice
- vanilla extract
- pressure cooker like the Instant Pot
- large capacity blender high speed blender
A word or two about those ingredients…
Now I am NOT about hiding vegetables in dessert and forcing said secret vegetable-filled dessert on kids. BUT, I think you can feel good about the fact that this delicious plant-based pumpkin dessert happens to have some pretty healthy ingredients built into it.
Cauliflower is high in fiber and B vitamins. It also provides anti-oxidants and phytonutrients galore! Read more about the health benefits of cauliflower in this article by Medical News Today.
Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, contains vitamins C and E, and is considered a low-calorie winter squash. It also provides antioxidants and beta carotene. Read more about the health benefits of pumpkin in this article by Healthline.
You might have heard that canned pumpkin isn’t really pumpkin at all. Well…that’s a little true and a little not true. Actually, all pumpkins are winter squashes. There is a particular winter squash used to make canned pumpkin called the Dickenson pumpkin. It looks a little bit like a cross between a pumpkin as we know it and a butternut squash.
You can be sure though that the squash/pumpkin used for canned pumpkin is selected for it’s flavor and texture. In fact, if you were to use the same pumpkin to cook with that you use to carve a jack-o-lantern, you might be dissapointed by the stringy flavorless flesh. There are pumpkins best for cooking, they are called a sugar pumpkin, pie, or sweet pumpkin. Read more about canned pumpkin in this article from All Recipes.
Raw cashews with a warning!
Cashews are high in protein, magnesium, and copper; yet low in sugar and saturated fats.
If you serve this pumpkin dessert to others, you MUST disclose that it contains cashews! Cashews aren’t normally found in creamy pudding-like desserts – unless you know vegan food – and are an allergen!
If you are allergic to cashews, you can try using a like amount of white beans instead. It will not be as smooth, fluffy, and creamy though.
For this recipe, it’s best to use raw unsalted cashews. If you must use roasted cashews, then soak overnight to soften first AND triple rinse to remove the salt.
Medjool dates are used as a natural sweetener in whole food plant-based cooking. They are high in fiber, vitamin B-6, iron, and potassium. They lend a certain caramel-like flavor you just can’t get with sugar or a sweetener.
How to make creamy vegan pumpkin mousse
Step 1: Prepare the ingredients
Cut the cauliflower into uniform-ish pieces. I usually use a bag of already cut cauliflower I buy from the grocery store. A 10-ounce bag of cut cauliflower is the perfect amount. If you choose to cut your own, you will need about four cups of cut cauliflower. This is about one-half of a large head.
Pit or deseed the Medjool dates. It’s super important that you don’t leave any pits inside of the dates. They will cook fine but with destroy your blender AND dessert if you accidentally blend them.
To make sure I’ve got all of the pits before I discard any I count pits and I count pitted dates. They had better match!
Measure out the pumpkin and other ingredients. I have a trick I use when I measure out an ingredient like canned pumpkin. It’s called the displacement method. I find a measuring cup that will fit the liquid used as well as the item (like the pumpkin) I am measuring.
In this case, I use a two-cup measuring cup to measure one cup of milk and one cup of pumpkin. I first measure out the milk to the one-cup mark, and then just spoon in the pumpkin until it reaches two cups. Easy peasy!
Step 2: Pressure cook the ingredients
Place all of the ingredients EXCEPT for the vanilla into an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker. Close the lid and vent and using the manual setting, set it for five minutes.
The pressure cooker will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure. Once the cooker has come to pressure and counted down the five minutes, carefully do a quick release.
Step 3: Blend the ingredients
Once the pin has dropped, open the lid and carefully ladle out the hot ingredients into a blender or food processor. Now is when you add the vanilla.
Start on low and work up to high. Blend the ingredients on high for a couple of minutes until everything is smooth and creamy.
I use a high-speed blender. If you use a regular blender, you might need to blend a few minutes longer. My blender has a pusher to move around the ingredients. If your blender does not, then you will need to pause to scrape and stir about halfway through. Just start on low again and work up to high speed. The ingredients are hot and you don’t want them exploding out from the blender.
When your pumpkin mousse has thoroughly blended, it will be thickened, smooth, and creamy!
Step 4: Cool and finish
Now is the time to give the blended mousse a little taste to see if it is sweet enough for you. I used the minimum amount of dates and syrup to ensure that while the pumpkin mousse was sweet, you were not getting any more sugar and calories than you want or need. You can stir in a little extra maple syrup at this point to make it sweeter if you prefer.
This is a dessert that is really best served cold in my opinion. But then, I never did understand warm pumpkin pie either. Serve warm if it makes you happy.
But for the rest of us…spoon the finished pumpkin pie mousse into a bowl and cover. Set in the refrigerator for at least four hours to cool.
Serve and enjoy! (And I promise you will!)
Before spooning it into individual little bowls, allow it to cool completely, and then give it a stir. Some separation might have occurred.
If your cauliflower is super fresh before using, you can keep this pumpkin pudding dessert in the fridge for about four days. It will make six one-half cup servings.
For some other tasty vegan pumpkin dessert recipes from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try:
And I promise you, these won’t be quite as
crazy healthy! Check out this post with all the vegan pumpkin recipes – both sweet and savory – from Veggie Fun Kitchen!
- Pumpkin Pie
- Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
The printable recipe card for plant-based pumpkin mousse
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Creamy Healthy Plant-Based Pumpkin Pie Mousse with cashews
- Pressure Cooker
- high-speed blender
- 10 ounces cauliflower about 4 cups cut into pieces
- ¾ cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1 cup pumpkin puree pure – not seasoned
- 1 cup plant milk I use oat milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 4 Medjool dates pitted
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Take the pits out of the dates and discard. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces if not purchased already cut.
- Place all of the ingredients except for the vanilla in the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker: the cut cauliflower, raw unsalted cashews, pumpkin puree, plant milk, pitted dates, maple syrup, ,pumpkin pie spice cinnamon, lemon juice, and salt.
- Close the lid and vent and using manual set to high pressure for 5 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
- After the Instant Pot comes to pressure and counts down for five minutes, carefully do a quick release and open the lid.
- Carefully ladle the hot ingredients into a high capacity blender. You can also use a food processor – but a blender works fine for this recipe.
- Add the vanilla and blend/process on high for a few minutes until the pumpkin mousse is nice and smooth.
- Refrigerate covered for about four hours until cooled. You can also swerve warm but I prefer this recipe cool.