This pumpkin pie recipe is a serious winner. First and foremost, it’s delicious. Also, it has no added sugar, doesn’t require baking, and fits with many different dietary needs including vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and paleo. It’s a recipe that lends to inclusion at the Thanksgiving table: those who can’t have some of the standard pumpkin pie ingredients like cream, eggs, and wheat can still enjoy this. And even if you don’t have any of those dietary needs, this pie is objectively tasty, and healthier for everyone given that it has no added sugar or refined grains.
According to the USDA, a standard slice of pumpkin pie has 25g (over 6 teaspoons) of total sugar in it, most of which is added to the recipe in the form of brown or white sugar. A slice of our pie has 9.7 grams of total sugar, coming from the pumpkin puree and the dates, which also contribute fiber and other beneficial nutrients and anti-oxidants. Our pie has more than double the fiber of a standard slice (5.5g vs. 2.4g) as well as more protein (8.5g vs. 5g). It also contains healthy fats from the nuts. All of these factors make it less likely to cause a big spike in blood sugar.
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it’s easy to make and a good project to involve kids in. Both my “cutie pie” 5 year old and I snuck a bite of the no-bake dough before forming the crust. And we both licked the bowl and spoons after we made the filling. When my 8 year old tried the finished pie, he said, “Mommy, I know what I want for dessert on my next birthday.” His next birthday is 10 months away, but luckily for him, Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
–1 ½ cups (165g) raw pecans (or other nuts of choice)
–1 cup (125g) soft, pitted dates*
–1/2 cup (40g) dried, unsweetened coconut
–Pinch of sea salt
–1/2 cup (65g) raw cashews, soaked either in cold water overnight or in boiled hot water for 30 minutes, rinsed and well drained
–1 cup (220g) pumpkin puree (NOTE: if using homemade pumpkin puree, be sure that it is thick and not watery. You can remove excess water using the method described here.)
–1/2 cup (75g) coconut cream, thick/solid part only. (You can also just use the cream that rises to the top of a chilled can of coconut milk if you can’t find canned coconut cream.)
–1/2 cup (62g) soft, pitted dates*
–1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
–1 teaspoon cinnamon
–1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
–1/4 teaspoons sea salt
–1/8 teaspoons dried ground cloves
*Note: if your dates are dry or hard, soak them in warm water for 20 minutes to soften them, then drain them well.
–Whipped coconut cream, instructions below.
–Regular whipped cream, unsweetened
- If you haven’t soaked your cashews overnight, soak them now in boiled hot water for 30 min, rinse, and drain well. Also check your dates for both the crust and the filling and see if them seem dry or hard. If so, soak them in warm water for 20 minutes, then drain.
- Put the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped. Then process on low speed and eventually high speed for a few minutes until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides and collect towards the middle.
- Transfer the “dough” into a standard size, shallow 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan (not deep dish). Using your fingers, press the mixture into an even layer that covers both the bottom and the sides of the pan.
- Add the ingredients for the filling to the food processor (no need to wash it in between – hurray!). Pulse until roughly combined and then blend on high speed until smooth.
- Transfer the filling to the pan and even it out using a rubber spatula.
- Cover the pie and put it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours to fully chill and set.
- Slice the pie and serve with whipped coconut cream, if desired. (Recipe below).
NUTRITION FACTS PER SLICE (1/8 of the pie):
CALORIES 308 TOTAL FAT 22.7g PROTEIN 8.5g TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE 24.1g DIETARY FIBER 5.5g TOTAL SUGARS 9.7g ADDED SUGARS 0g
Whipped coconut cream:
You can use the rest of what you opened for the pie filling if you have some left over, or use a new can of coconut cream or two cans of full fat coconut milk if not. Simply chill well and put the solid parts of the coconut cream or milk into a food processor, leaving behind any liquid. Whip it on high speed, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. (I find that the food processor works much better than a hand held mixer as it splatters less and results in a creamier, lighter texture.) Leaving the cream unsweetened works as a nice contrast to the sweetness of the pie.