Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust

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After my last post, I knew I was destined to make a dessert using my gluten-free graham crackers. It’s just the right thing to do. Plus, a girl can only eat so many graham crackers for breakfast! You can imagine how nervous I felt testing this recipe – not knowing if it would turn out – as I was risking the demise of my sweet, dear, homemade graham cracker crumbs. Thankfully, there were no graham crumbs harmed in the making of this dessert.

Word on the street has it that the U.S. Thanksgiving is coming up later this month! American friends, are you pumped? I love being a Canadian food blogger because I get to celebrate twice. Or should I say, 30 days before every holiday. I’m trying to come up with a couple more recipes to add to my vegan Thanksgiving recipe collection and this was a solid start! [Well, that’s after I decided to re-test and tweak the recipe first thing this morning and then re-shoot and edit every single photo. I like to torture myself sometimes.]

These pumpkin pie squares are the perfect solution when you don’t want to make an actual pie, but still want something similar that you can serve on the dessert table with a dollop of whipped coconut cream. Actually, this is one of the best pumpkin “pies” I have ever made, no matter how you slice it.

The homemade gluten-free graham crust, oh that crust, is so flavourful and held together so well. It’s one of my favs. All you have to do is mix three ingredients and press it firmly into the pan. No stressing about pressing the crumbs up the side of a pie dish (am I the only one who stresses about that?) or rolling out a crust. The filling is a vegan spin on traditional pumpkin pie filling, similar to the filling in my previous pumpkin pie recipe. It’s soft and dreamy, like a beautiful pumpkin cloud.

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Instant homemade gluten-free graham crumbs, at your service!

I said a prayer to the baking gods, and whirled away…

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I dolloped coconut whipped cream on top and added a dusting of cinnamon and chopped pecans because I’m a fancy pants.

I’m trying to save the leftovers for a get together this weekend, but it’s not looking good.

Must. distract. mouth…

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust

Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

By

print icon   Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with Gluten Free Graham Cracker Crust

Easy to throw together, these pumpkin pie squares are a nice option when you don't want to make a traditional pumpkin pie. The homemade graham cracker crust is so flavourful and holds together well. The filling is a vegan spin on traditional pumpkin pie filling, enriched with decadent coconut cream. Be sure to make this recipe the day before so it can set overnight in the fridge.

Yield
9 large squares
Prep Time
20 Minutes
Cook time
45 Minutes
Total Time
1 Hour, 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

for the crust:
  • 2 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (see note)
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar syrup (or brown rice syrup)
for the pumpkin filling:
  • 1 (14-ounce/400 mL) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (use only the white cream portion, see note)
  • 1.5 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch fine grain sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8-inch square pan. Now, line the pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way. I like to spray the first piece of parchment paper with non-stick oil so the second piece sticks nicely and doesn't fall over.
  2. Prepare the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the graham crumbs, melted coconut oil, and sweetener until the crumbs are thoroughly coated in the mixture. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Starting from the middle, press the crumbs into the pan firmly and evenly. You really want to press hard so the crust sticks together nicely. I use a pastry roller to roll the crust and compact it even more. Using your fingers, press in the edges until even.
  3. Pre-bake the crust, uncovered, for 10 minutes at 350F.
  4. Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder and maple syrup until no clumps remain. Add this and all of the other filling ingredients into a food processor and process until completely smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. When the crust has come out of the oven, immediately pour this filling on top of the baked crust and smooth out as evenly as possible with a spatula.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for around 41-43 minutes at 350F until the filling has darkened slightly and it's semi-firm to the touch (although the filling will still be very soft and sticky!). Place on a cooling rack for about 60 minutes and then into the fridge to set overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Freezer lover's note: The freezer will expedite this process. Just sayin'.
  6. Slice into squares and serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream on top and a dusting of cinnamon and chopped pecans.
  7. Store leftovers in the fridge or freeze for later.

Note: 1) I used my homemade gluten-free graham crackers and processed them into crumbs for this recipe. If you are looking for a non-gluten-free graham cracker (without nuts), you can also swap them for this graham cracker recipe or use store-bought graham cracker crumbs. 2) For the full-fat canned coconut cream: Chill the can overnight or for at least several hours before use. This is the white cream in the full-fat cans of coconut milk (such as Native Forest or Thai Kitchen brands). Do not use the water portion. Use the leftover cream for the whipped cream topping. For a how-to on Coconut Whipped Cream, see this post.

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{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina November 7, 2013

Oh Angela, how I wish we were neighbors. I would be your willing recipe guinea pig anytime – these look Ah-mazing!

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Marielle P. November 7, 2013

Hi there Angela, this recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I follow and love your blog. My name is Marielle, I’m currently in grade 12 and I live in southwestern Ontario. It would mean the world to me if you could check out my blog! I write all my own articles and have such a passion for healthy living! You are an inspiration :)
- Marielle

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 8, 2013

For sure, I will! Thanks for your kind words :)

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Marielle P. November 8, 2013

Wow, Angela thank you so much for even taking the time to check out my blog! VERY much appreciated!! I am so excited for your cookbook to come out and I will hopefully be pre-ordering it on Amazon soon :) I want to start doing my own recipe tutorials, any advice? Thanks again!
- Marielle

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Erica November 7, 2013

This looks incredible! I love that it’s pretty low in sugar. I can’t wait to make this for our Thanksgiving! Mom always has a hard time pleasing her GF Husband and Vegetarian daughter :)

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Cindy November 7, 2013

Angela, These look awesome! Can’t wait to try. I left a comment on your cookbook post, pg. 5……Have you had a chance to check it out? Love the look & taste of your recipes! Keep it up girl! Congrats on the cookbook – can’t wait.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 7, 2013

Just saw it and replied! Hope that helps :)

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Anna @ Fitness à la Anna November 7, 2013

These look out of control delicious! My mom, sisters and I always make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but we are only starting to conquer this thing we call ‘pie crust’ haha these seem like the perfect solution ;)

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Michelle @ The Fresh Direction November 7, 2013

Oh man, I always stress about pressing the crust up the side of the pie pan. I can’t help but think gravity is working against me and something is bound to go wrong ha! But these look amazing Angela!! Can’t wait to give them a try.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 7, 2013

hah yes! The graham crumbs never want to stick to the side. Glad it’s not only me. :)

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar November 7, 2013

I love this fun version! I bet they’re great :)

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Jessica November 7, 2013

These look deeeeelicious! And now that you’ve pointed it out, I can totally tell a difference in your photography from last year. The lighting is much brighter and you seem to favour more detailed and overhead shots. May I ask what kind of set-up you use now (light-box, reflectors, etc?) You probably mentioned it in the past, but now I’m drawing a blank. It must be these chilly and dark 6pm evenings we’re getting.

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Simon November 7, 2013

Miam, this look so delicious! Do you think I can use mapple syrup instead of brown rice?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 8, 2013

I’m not sure it will hold together as well, but you could surely try!

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Kathleen November 20, 2013

I tried it with Maple syrup in the crust instead of brown rice syrup and it seemed to hold up ok. It was crumbly, but then it seems like graham cracker crusts are always crumbly (and also I haven’t tried the brown rice for a scientific comparison on crumblyness, so maybe I just don’t know what it “should” be like). Hope this helps!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 21, 2013

Thanks for letting us know!

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Lillian @ Seize the Latte November 7, 2013

These look delicious — I love the pumpkin and molasses-y combination, too.

And, um, can we talk about Thanksgiving? It’s one of my favorite holidays, and this year is particularly epic because American Thanksgiving falls on the same day as the start of Hanukkah. Thus…Thanksgivukkah. Latkes AND pumpkin pie? Sweet fancy Moses! Best. Holiday. Ever. (I might be just a tad excited about it.)

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C November 7, 2013

Haha! “Sweet fancy Moses!” I’m just going to pilfer that expression to use in everyday speech if you don’t mind. I am a frequent proclaimer of “Holy Mosey!” However your colliquial update trumps my little old granny-ish expression with aces. Also, a great big Yay for Thanksgivukkah! Greenbeen cassarole with a latke top crust perhaps? It could be done!

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Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate November 7, 2013

Great recipe! I am surprised how will it set up without eggs in the pumpkin “custard” part of the squares.

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Ashley November 7, 2013

Do you happen to have the nutrition info on these?

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Maria Tadic November 7, 2013

These look goooood! Definitely want to try them!!

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh November 7, 2013

Oh yeah baby! That looks insanely good!! I might just slide this in on the family this year and delight in telling them its vegan and gluten free afterward! *insert evil laugh*

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janae @ bring joy November 7, 2013

I’m glad you recommend certain brands of coconut milk–I’ve been sorely disappointed by brands other than Thai Kitchen. Coconut milk can be such an iffy-thing. I’ve purchased some full fat coconut milk that has all the fat but none of the flavor :(.

I tried to make some coconut milk for the first time a few weeks ago, but my 2 year old dumped water in the bowl before I could catch her & so, I have yet to try. But, now this recipe gives me a good excuse, I think ;)

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Averie @ Averie Cooks November 7, 2013

I love that you turned your graham crackers into these bars and also love that they’re bars, rather than a pie. I always feel like pies are a little intimidating, both to make and to dive into, but bars are always my speed! Love making them and would have no problem tearing into these! Pinned :)

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} November 7, 2013

These look soooo gorgeous and creamy! And you’re very brave to test recipes with your homemade crackers! I would have been too nervous :)

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Abby@TheFrostedVegan November 7, 2013

These look like they are NOT going to last you all weekend, what a good problem to have! : )

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 7, 2013

Oooh YES! I’ve been looking forward to these ever since you posted them on Instagram yesterday! I agree with you on the whole celebrating Thanksgiving twice thing. You don’t have to twist my arm to get me to eat more pumpkin! ;)

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Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.) November 7, 2013

I’m hosting a Thanksiving party in about two weeks and have been worried about how to make pumpkin pie happen (currently living in Asia, only have access to a mini toaster oven and not a real one, some ingredients are tough to come by). This looks like SUCH a good option. Easier to serve to guests, easier to bake in a non-round pan. Genius! Thanks, Angela!

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Kammie @ Sensual Appeal November 7, 2013

Oh my, did I die and go to heaven? These look solo freaking good! xo

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Kira @ The Healthable Old Soul November 7, 2013

These look amazing! I love how you keep it really natural!!!!

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Catherine @ Chocolate & Vegetables November 7, 2013

Looks like the perfect treat to bring to a pre-Thanksgiving office potluck! Love the alternate take on pumpkin pie :)

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Jessica November 7, 2013

Can’t wait to make these!!!
Last week I made your tradition pumpkin pie filling with the sweet & salty spiced gluten free pecan crust to start testing out some Thanksgiving recipes… Good lord- that crust was AMAZING!! I didn’t have a pie pan (don’t ask what happened to my last one) so I used a muffin tin & made mini-pie’s. I stumbled upon something very cute :)

Thank you for sharing your recipes!! Can’t wait for the cookbook.

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Jessi de Bergerac November 7, 2013

These look amazing. My bf and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year for all our friends who won’t be traveling home. I’m so making these and not telling anyone it’s vegan until after they’ve showered me with compliments ;)

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Emily - It Comes Naturally Blog November 8, 2013

Wow – they look amazing. I wonder if I can use some of the funky squashes (think kabocha, uchiki kuri, miniature) that I have at home for the filling? Hmm…

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Lillian @ Sugar and Cinnamon November 8, 2013

I love how healthy and natural all the ingredients are in these squares! Plus they look so good I want to make them right now! Yum :)

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Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen November 8, 2013

My mouth is actually watering ! These look amazing! Can’t wait to make them! I love a good pumpkin dessert :D

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Megan November 8, 2013

I am so excited to try these!

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Marygrace November 8, 2013

I’ve long wanted to try a coconut milk-based pumpkin pie filling. Wonder if it adds any coconut flavor? Will find out!

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Beth November 8, 2013

These look absolutely divine. I will definitely be making these for our Thanksgiving gathering this year!

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Shana November 8, 2013

These look amazing! We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year and I have been struggling with the menu (I am vegetarian but no one else is!). How do you think these would keep if made in advance? I am thinking of making them the night before—though looking at the picture makes me think the bigger issue would whether they would make it in the fridge overnight. They look irresistible!

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Shana November 8, 2013

Sorry–I meant not the night before, but the weekend before Thanksgiving! So would it last a couple days in the fridge (assuming I can keep salivating mouths away)?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 8, 2013

Yes that should be fine! I expect they’d last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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Erin November 8, 2013

These look great, but I rarely try your recipes because you use coconut milk or oil so frequently and coconut does not sit well with me at all. Any suggestions? Vegan butter or oat milk maybe? It’s so frustrating because I love the recipe ideas ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 8, 2013

Yes vegan butter might work for the crust and for the filling you could use a bit more almond milk (or whichever milk you use) hope this helps! Let me know how it goes if you try it :)

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Mary Pascall November 8, 2013

oh, how I love pumpkin! Can’t wait for Thanksgiving….will have to make these this weekend! Thanks for another winner!

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Dawn November 8, 2013

American here. I’ll be stalking you all month! ;-) My g/f bipolar teen just got out of the hospital for depression, and she needs these today to keep up her happiness and “mom’s caring for me” levels! Serendipitous timing.

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Christine @ Gotta Eat Green November 8, 2013

First the graham crackers.. now this recipe! Wow.. these look incredible! Perfect for Thanksgiving!

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Angela November 8, 2013

Where do you buy Buckwheat groats? I’m in Milton, and have checked out Bulk barn, Whole Foods, Superstore…. nothing. Driving me crazy! Thanks!

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health November 8, 2013

Yeah, I don’t think I would be able to make it to the weekend with these in my house. Holy deliciousness! A pumpkin cloud sounds like perfection. I wish you would open up a vegan cafe. I would totally fly to Canada just to come eat there!

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Tiffany November 8, 2013

These are incredibly beautiful. I am not a particular fan of all things pumpkin (I like it sparingly), but this appeals to me. What a great creation!

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Nikki @ The Road to Less Cake November 8, 2013

I think all I need to say is yum and yes, please!

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