Pumpkin pie is a classic fall dessert, and these simple, healthy pumpkin bars will please any home chef. The crust is made from almonds, but still has the buttery, flaky appeal of any good pie. The filling has no processed sugar, letting the pumpkin filling and spices shine through. Cut into square bars, this dessert is easy to serve at parties, at the office, or after dinner for dessert. The best part? It’s approved for the 21-Day Clean Program!
PUMPKIN BARS MAKE A GREAT NEW TRADITION
We’ve used unprocessed, organic pumpkin filling. You can easily find pumpkin purée in the convenience of a can, just be sure to read the ingredients (pumpkin should be the only one listed). In addition to adding the fall flavor we all love, pumpkin is jam-packed with nutrients. Just one ounce of pumpkin has almost two grams of fiber. Having fiber along with carbohydrates and sweeteners (even natural ones) is important for slowing the digestion of sugars so you don’t experience a post-dessert sugar coma. One cup of pumpkin also boasts two times the daily requirement of vitamin A. Vitamin A is often found in orange, red, and yellow hued produce. It’s an important antioxidant that fights free radicals, plus improves vision, skin, and bone health.
Pumpkin is also rich in tryptophan, the same amino acid that gives turkey its reputation for making you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. Tryptophan is important for making serotonin, a hormone that keeps anxiety at bay helps relax the nervous system, and drastically improves the quality of our sleep. The seeds of pumpkin house most of this amino acid, so be sure to save them and create a delicious crunchy snack by toasting them.
SPICES THAT KEEP YOU HEALTHY
We’ve chosen pumpkin pie spice, which you can make yourself by combining cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Cinnamon is known to help improve circulation. Nutmeg also helps boost circulation, resulting in increased energy and digestion. This spice also improves insomnia, which paired with the tryptophan has amazing relaxing benefits. Ginger treats a slew of digestive issues such as nausea, indigestion, and stomach cramps. This is especially important around the holidays when many of us overindulge and lose some of our healthy habits with the end-of-year business. Just like ginger, allspice is also known for treating digestive issues. A compound called eugenol, found in allspice, stimulates the digestive system (encouraging regularity), decreases bloating, reduces stomach cramps, and treats nausea.
1 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut oil (or ghee, if not cleansing), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pumpkin purée
1/3 cup coconut nectar (or maple syrup, if not cleansing)
1/4 cup coconut canned coconut milk
2 Tbsp tapioca powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 can coconut milk (refrigerated)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Cream crust ingredients together and press crust evenly into a 9×9 pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes then set aside to cool.
Step 2: Blend all filling ingredients together. Once the crust is slightly cooled, pour pumpkin mixture over crust and smooth out. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Step 3: Once the pan is cool, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Step 4: Remove firm cream from the top of coconut cream can. Mix with vanilla and sea salt. Cut Pumpkin bars into even squares and serve with whipped topping.
Recipe and photography by Kaitlyn Noble
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