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Vibrant and Veganfull (V&V) provides vegan recipes to support health and contributions to sustainability.  V&V also explores ideas and concepts to provide you informed choices for living more sustainably.

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Whoa, what a title, am I right? Salted Caramel + Pumpkin Pie + Protein in a dessert shake? Dreaming, you are not, because this shake is legit. If you are looking for an after dinner treat that takes 5-10 minutes to whip up and will satisfy that sweet tooth evening craving, pull this recipe out and give it a whirl. Not only did it completely fill me up, but it also left me feeling completely satiated before bed. Maybe it wasn't the shake, but I fell asleep quickly and had a great night's rest after having this recipe, so there's that too.

Pumpkin is one of my favorite fall foods because of the health benefits, and well, it just tastes great in both savory and sweet recipes. These sunset orange globes fatten on green vines in the soils of the Midwest and then are harvested not just for carving on Halloween, but also for canned pumpkin to be enjoyed through the fall and into the winter seasons.

Sustainability Spotlight: Did you know that more than 80% of the world's canned pumpkin is supplied by Libby's brand (owned by Nestle) and that over 5,000 acres in central Illinois is devoted to producing the pumpkins that go into Libby's canned pumpkin puree? In order to ensure the sustainability of the crop and the crop land, Libby's has taken significant sustainability strides in order to ensure we can enjoy our pumpkin spiced everything for years to come.

The process of canning pumpkins starts with drop off at the processing plant. The pumpkins undergo baths to clean the vegetables which uses significant wash water. Then the pumpkins are boiled which utilizes additional large vats of water to cook the vegetables. Oh, and don't forget the water used to cool down the newly formed cans and to clean the facility after the processing runs. Whew, that's a LOT of water! But, what if you reuse the water in your process? Libby's engineers estimated it would save 75,000 gallons of fresh water per day to transform the facility to reuse it's water load. So, they did just that! Not only are they saving on water resources, but their profit margins too. Let's not forget, companies need to make money. What better way to "sell" them on sustainability than to show them cost savings while also saving the planet?

Not only am I interested in telling you about these "case studies" for how corporations are doing better, but I'm also interested in showing you that sustainability ideas can sometimes be right in front of you. Things that can save you time, money and energy just by finding a better way to utilize resources. A better way to purchase and shop for foods, and a better way to select products based upon their overall sustainability footprint (which translates to your sustainability footprint too)!


  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets

  • 8 pitted dates (chopped unless "fudgy" soft)

  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (Garden of Life - Plant-based Sport)

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree (save the other half for my Chipotle Pumpkin & Pepper Soup)

  • 1/2 cup caramel plant-based creamer (I used Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Almond-Oat)

  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • Optional Garnish: cinnamon sticks


  1. Place all ingredients (cauliflower through salt) in the order shown above in a high-powered blender.

  2. If you have a Vitamix with smoothie button, turn on and wait for the blender to automatically stop. Proceed to Step #4.

  3. If you do not have a Vitamix with a smoothie button, turn on blender on low and gradually increase in increments of 20 seconds each all the way up to the highest setting. Use a tamper or scrape down sides as needed and blend until smooth (~4 minutes).

  4. Pour into glasses and top with the optional garnish(es) noted above. Serve & enjoy!

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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