Clean Eating Pumpkin Creme Bars
Healthy Pumpkin Creme Bars that are gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.
I just love a good pumpkin recipe this time of year…don’t you??! I love to make my Healthy Pumpkin Spice Muffins for a quick snack on the go, but this time I wanted to make a dessert or “treat” recipe. And I love that this one is no bake!
It’s not always easy trying to make unhealthy desserts healthy. It takes a lot of creativity and thought as to what you can use as a healthy substitute. But one substitute I absolutely love is coconut milk!! I’m not sure if you’ve tried this, but you can actually use cold coconut milk like whipped cream. I’ve even fooled my family into thinking it’s whipped cream!
While these Pumpkin Creme Bars look like the popular “Nanaimo Bar,” I assure you, they are not. These bars need to be kept frozen. When you use natural and wholesome ingredients, you need to keep the final product fresh, there is no shelf life. Nanaimo Bars are LOADED with sugar, which is why they can be kept at room temperature for days on end.
But having treats in the freezer is a good thing right?! That way you don’t eat them all at once 😉
The medjool dates give the crust a natural sweetness. This combined with the cool pumpkin creme filling and chocolaty top layer give these bars a wonderful, refreshing taste. I used dark chocolate chips for the chocolate topping, but if you want this recipe to be vegan, then you can use vegan chocolate chips.
Healthy Pumpkin Creme Bars
For the crust:
- 2 cups raw pecans
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 10 medjool dates, pitted
For the filling:
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
For the topping:
- 1 cup dark (or vegan) chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- In a food processor or strong blender (I used my Vitamix), mix the pecan and cinnamon until the mixture starts to become moist. Add in the dates and process until a loose dough forms.
- Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper. Gently press the date filling into the bottom of the pan. Place into the freezer while you make the creme filling.
- Open the can of cold coconut milk and scoop out the solid white coconut milk into a mixing bowl (you can save the coconut water for a smoothie!) With an electric mixer, whip the coconut milk into a cream.
- Process the remaining filling ingredients in your food processor or blender. Gently fold the pumpkin mixture into the coconut cream.
- Spread the mixture on top of the crust in the baking dish, and place back into the freezer.
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on low or on the stove top in a double boiler. Add the almond milk and keep stirring until smooth.
- Spread the chocolate mixture over the creme layer in the baking dish and place back in the freezer to set.
For best results, let bars sit in the freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Before cutting, you'll want to let them sit for about 10 minutes so they are soft enough to cut. Store bars in the freezer.
21 Day Fix Portions: 1 yellow, 1 blue