Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 7, 2013

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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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squares

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…

coconutwhippedcream (2)

5 from 10 reviews
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Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust

Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

By

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
Cook time

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.

Nutrition Information

Tips:

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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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 3 of 3«123
Shelley December 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I cheated and used pre-made GF vegan graham crackers for the crust, but these are seriously PERFECT! I made them for Thanksgiving at my boyfriend’s family’s house, and everyone loved them. No one could believe they were GF and vegan. I served them with pre-made rice whip, which made them even better. They were claimed to be the best pumpkin pies ever, and I have to agree; the filling is top-notch. I subbed agave for the brown rice syrup in the crust, which worked just fine! No crumbling! Thanks for a great recipe!

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shyam b. baniya December 5, 2013 at 8:16 am

oh my god I think I would be able to make it will be tomorrow!

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Kate December 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

My whole family Loved this recipe! Thank you:) (and the best part was having a home that smells of fresh graham crackers?! Amazing! )

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Alyssa December 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Angela,
I love your blog. I love that so many recipes are gluten free (I have Celiacs).
I made these pumpkin pie bars for dessert this past weekend when I had my whole family over for dinner. They raved about them! (Your lentil loaf also got rave reviews!)

I served the pumpkin bars with whipped coconut cream. I added some vanilla, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. My husband couldn’t get over how delicious it was. Said it was better than dairy whipped cream. I made another batch of the graham crackers yesterday and put acan of coconut milk in the fridge. Can’t wait for more pumpkin bars!

Thank you so much for great vegan and gluten free recipes like these! Can not wait for your cookbook!
-Alyssa

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Claire Swift January 6, 2014 at 10:46 am

These are awesome! I subbed the graham cracker crust for the Sweet and Salty Pecan crust though… I made that one with my pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and LOVE that crust! The pumpkin filling for these bars was excellent as well. A great treat, and no one knew it was vegan and healthy until afterwards! I whipped up the coconut cream too. I used powdered sugar and a splash of good vanilla extract. I thought it had kind of a strange taste (though everyone else loved it), but I think I’ll use maple syrup next time for a little more flavor boost. All in all – great recipe and I’ll definitely make it again!

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Beth Levinson January 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I just made these wonderful pumpkin bars. They turned out really well. I made some changes. I used a can of Farmer’s Market brand organic pumpkin pie mix instead of just plain puree. That saved a lot of time adding the spices because it is all in there already and I did not have to add any sugar. I cut the amount of maple syrup in half and it is fine. Next time I make this, I may use two cans so it is a little thicker. For the crust, I used 1 1/2 cups gluten free graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 cup ground almonds. The crust came out really well. I was worried- but it is really good. I wonder if I could cut the amount of coconut oil when using the ground almonds? I would recommend that if you use the pumpkin pie puree and you are going to make the whipped cream- go very light on the sugar. It is very sweet already!

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Emma July 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

I was wondering if you tried replacing the buckwheat oat flour with anything else. I have made previous goods with buckwheat and don’t really care for the taste. I feel that it overpowers everything else. Any suggestions? Thanks :)

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Emily Sundberg September 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hi Angela! Do these freeze well?

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Jodie October 29, 2014 at 10:34 pm
Recipe Rating:

I had to find another of your “pumpkin pie” recipes so I could comment on one that has been closed to comments. I made your Brownie Pumpkin Pie with Crunchy Pecan Topping last night and we had it after dinner tonight. It was fantastic!! I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose, coconut palm sugar instead of cane and walnuts instead of pecans. I’m thrilled to be adding this to my recipe box!! Many thanks Angela!!

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Meg November 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm
Recipe Rating:

THESE ARE THE MOST AMAZING PUMPKIN TREATS IN THE WORLD. I made these (using store-bought GF vegan graham grackers) for a group of friends with your coconut whipped cream recipe and they were devoured within about an hour. One of my friends actually said this was the best dessert she has ever had in her entire life. This is definitely one of the best desserts I have ever made in MY entire life too- and it easier than I anticipated! I am bookmarking this and will be making it many more times!!! My only notes are that I personally had to cook mine for 45 minutes and thought the crust was a bit thick (I didn’t look at the picture closely enough) so I’d reduce the crust a bit. Other than that, it was perfect!!

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Dolce November 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Would you mind if i used your recipe for my school food blog? it sounds so YUMMY!

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Kelly @ The Fit Skool November 20, 2014 at 8:29 am

OMG this recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving. I am definitely making it, thanks so much for sharing :)

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Becca Carnes November 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm

I’m going to make these for my sons school’s Thanksgiving feast:) Question….Could I make these a few days in advance? Just trying to get things done ahead of time:):)
Thank you!!!

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Eleni November 23, 2014 at 9:17 am

Do you think the filling alone would hold up in ramekins? Not sure I have time for the crust, even though it sounds delicious. Thx

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Briana November 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm
Recipe Rating:

Made this last night for Thanksgiving today. They were awesome! Everyone loved them. Instead of using cream on top, I cut the squares much smaller and put a whole pecan on each pumpkin lite. They ended up being bite sized pumpkin/pecan bites and were amAzing. I also made your sweet potato casserole and it turned out awesome too! That’s for the recipes!

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Anna November 29, 2014 at 9:55 am
Recipe Rating:

Thank you so much for this recipe!!! I cut down on sugar and it still came out pretty amazing! My friend, who in on gluten-free, was over the moon since she never eats sweets at cook-outs and parties. WARNING TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT TRIED THIS RECIPE: make two pies, otherwise you will not come to taste it. It disappears in seconds while “I am actually not a pumpkin pie person” loved ones are giving you an innocent look, wiping crumbs off their lips :))

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Kiki November 29, 2014 at 2:58 pm
Recipe Rating:

Absolutely the BEST pumpkin dessert ever!! I made this for thanksgiving and no one would’ve guessed it was vegan. I think I mi make this a year round dessert. I can’t say enough good things about these. So delicious and easy!!!

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Rachel December 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm
Recipe Rating:

Trying this recipe right now! Decided to just use the filling recipe to make a couple of pies with a normal graham crust. The filling smells and tastes amazing, just waiting to see how it bakes and turns out :). I also added a 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (because I bought some already beforehand). Definitely recommend this one!

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miranda May 8, 2015 at 6:12 pm
Recipe Rating:

YUM YUM YUM!
i could have easily eaten that pie filling as pudding, but the combo with the graham cracker base (i actually used ginger snaps) was DELISH.

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Christian Stead September 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm

What are your thoughts on using coconut sugar in lieu of cane sugar?

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Tally October 11, 2015 at 11:19 am
Recipe Rating:

Just made these! Everything about these are perfect. Unfortunately I bought a coconut milk with guar gum, so the can never separated. But I still used a 1/4 cup of the top portion and it came out fine! Right out of the oven if you stick a toothpick through the middle it will come out wet and look not done. But keeping the pie in the fridge over night worked perfect for it and it still had a good shape and texture when you cut it :)

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Linda November 7, 2015 at 10:11 am

Can these be frozen?

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Melissa November 14, 2015 at 6:48 pm

May I replace arrowroot with cornstarch? I do not have arrowroot powder at home, and I could not find it in the store.

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Louise November 17, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Mine is still in the oven and it has been an hour. It is not setting up…. I hate it when this happens.

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Louise November 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm

I just reread the recipe. I thought I read teaspoons of arrowroot powder. My fail.

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Taylor November 22, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Do you think I could substitute coconut sugar for the cane sugar? Thanks in advance :)

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Amanda November 27, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I completely forgot that I was supposed to start this last night and now I’m in a time bind. Do you know how long it’d take to set if it goes in the freezer?

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engraci December 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Hi Angela- I have your cookbook an am going thru the recipes, we have enjoyed everyone thus far. I did try this Pumpkin Square recipe at our 2015 Thanksvegan Dinner and they were delicious, loved by everyone!! I did not have vegan graham crackers (nor had I made any yet) instead I made a vegan shortbread crust, which worked out nicely. thank you again for all the great recipes and delicious inspiration, keep up the good work!!

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June Siegel March 14, 2016 at 9:05 pm

Hi,
I just made this pumpkin pie yesterday. I did not use the parchment paper as you suggested, and part of the crust stuck to the pan, even with the oil I used as a base. Do you think the parchment paper was successful? I was afraid it would get stuck into the crust and I’d have a hard time ripping it off. I’d like to find out how it went before trying it with the paper. Thanks!

It was delicious, in any case. Nice and refreshing. I used packaged graham crackers that I ground up.

June

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Angela Liddon March 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Hi June, I’m sorry to hear you had troubles with the pie crust! Parchment paper works great for baking–usually it peels away super cleanly. If you give the recipe another try with the parchment, I hope you have better luck!

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Audrey November 6, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Hi, thank you for this recipe. I am new to vegan cooking, I have a daughter who has been vegan only a year. I need to make this recipe but I would like to use Agar Agar instead of arrow root. Will that work?

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Jasmine November 22, 2016 at 8:10 am

Do you know what a good substitute for arrowroot powder ? I would like to make this recipe but I don’t have any of that powder on hand lol

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Rachel November 22, 2016 at 9:32 pm

you can use cornstarch in place of arrowroot

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Jillian November 23, 2016 at 7:41 am

I cannot wait to make these today! For the crust, is it a measured 1/4 cup solid coconut oil and then melted, or melted oil then measured using a 1/4 cup? I hope this makes sense, thanks for your help!

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Sara December 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm
Recipe Rating:

I am lazy so I made the filling and poured it into a prepared graham cracker crust. The filling set up really well. It is very soft when you pour it in, but don’t worry! It will set! If I made it the “lazy” way again, I would use a pastry crust instead of the graham cracker. The graham crust didn’t hold up very well. Other than that, will definitely make again! Maybe just throw in a larger amount of each spice as I prefer stronger flavors.

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Christine December 25, 2016 at 11:01 pm
Recipe Rating:

This was amazing! I made it for Christmas dinner and there was not a crumb left in the pan. I used store bought gf graham crackers and maple syrup. It worked great. Thank you!!!! Half my family was not left out of dessert!!!

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Angela Liddon December 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

You’re so welcome, Christine!! I’m so happy to hear the recipe was such a hit — thanks for taking the time to let me know. :)

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Alanna wrock October 16, 2017 at 8:05 am

Hello,
I recently made these bars,I was a little disappointed in how hard my crust turned out. The guests said they didn’t mind but was wondering how I could avoid this? It was okay to hold the bar and eat but couldn’t break it with a fork.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

Hey Alanna! I’m so sorry you found the crust a bit too firm. I have a couple ideas: 1) You could try baking it for less time next time, or 2) you could try using a less “firm/dense” liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup which is more runny. Coconut nectar and brown rice syrup are both quite dense sweeteners, so my guess is that maple syrup which is much less binding may crumble more easily. Which sweetener did you use?

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Alanna Wrock October 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm

oh okay good to know!

i used the brown rice syrup :)

also sorry i posted twice, didn’t know my comment worked earlier today

also very thrilled to hear back from you so soon!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm

No problem! :) I have the comments going into moderation now because this way I don’t miss any and I can answer everyone’s questions much more easily.

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Rachel November 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I would love to make these for Thanksgiving this Thursday but am really confused about the coconut cream instructions! The filling recipe calls for 1/4c of full fat canned coconut milk, but then the not mentions whipping the cream and THEN using the extra for whipped topping. But the recipe doesn’t mention whipping the coconut cream for the filling. Do I add the coconut cream straight up for the filling and then whip the rest? Or am I whipping all of the coconut cream and adding some of the whipped product to the batter? Help!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 22, 2017 at 9:24 am

Yes you add it straight from the can for the filling :)

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Lisa December 4, 2017 at 4:32 am

Can I also use soy or hemp milk?

Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 4, 2017 at 7:47 am

Hey Lisa, I think swapping the 2 tbsp almond milk for soy or hemp would be fine! I would probably suggest keeping the full fat coconut cream in there if at all possible since it adds to the richness of the filling. Hope this helps!

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