Pumpkin-Lucuma Pie

pumpkin_lucuma_pieWith a busy holiday week ahead, I have little time to write a proper post, but I DID want to share a fabulous pie recipe with you. It seems every year I go on a personal quest to create a lower sugar, lower fat pumpkin pie, and this year I’m so pleased with the wonderful recipe that’s emerged.

To begin, it’s delicious. If you like pumpkin pie, you will love this one.

But this special pie has two pretty major healthy secrets underneath it’s tasty exterior. The first secret is the use of organic silken tofu (be sure to use an organic or a certified non GMO brand). Incorporating tofu in the place of eggs, cream, or even cashews, gives the pie a deceptive richness while making it very low in fat, lower in calories, and high in protein (WIN!). I’ve seen many plant-based pie recipes use this trick, and for good reason: it works. And incredibly, you won’t taste it a bit.

The second ingredient trick which I love even more however, is the use of lucuma powder. As I’ve mentioned before, this South American fruit provides a complex-flavored sweetness, yet is naturally very low in sugar. It also has a slightly squash-like undertone, meaning it is the PERFECT addition to a pumpkin pie! Using lucuma powder in this recipe means that though a very minimal amount of sugar is used (just a tablespoon per serving!) we can still retain all the traditional flavor. You can definitely feel proud serving this one up to your friends and family – for all the right reasons! Learn more about lucuma powder here.

Pumpkin Lucuma Pie

Makes 8 servings


1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 12.3 oz package organic silken tofu
½ cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup lucuma powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon ginger powder
¼ teaspoon clove powder
1 prepared pie crust (preferably whole grain and dairy-free)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients – except the pie crust – and mix until completely smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie crust, and spread into a flat layer. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 40-45 minutes longer, or until the top has slightly browned and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven, and let the pie cool completely to room temperature, to fully set. Slice and serve; will keep up to 4 days, unrefrigerated.

Serving suggestion: Make a coconut whip cream by chilling a can of full-fat coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight. Scoop out the separated cream from the water, and use a hand-held blender to whip the cream until slightly stiffened. Top the pie with coconut whip cream when ready to serve.

Pumpkin Cranberry Squares

Pumpkin-Cranberry Squares

Have some extra pumpkin puree lying around? Whip up a batch of these crispy, chewy, and satisfying snack bars in under ten minutes.

***Makes 16 bars***


¾ cup raw cashews
½ cup reduced-fat unsweetened coconut shreds*
¼ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons lucuma powder
2 tablespoons goji powder
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plus ½ cup all-natural brown rice crisp cereal, divided**
1 cup fruit-juice sweetened dried cranberries
⅓ cup chopped pecans (optional)


For best results, add the ingredients in the directed stage (and not all at once), to achieve optimum texture: Place the cashews in a food processor, and grind into a coarse flour. Add the coconut shreds, coconut sugar, lucuma powder, goji powder, flaxseed powder, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt, and blitz to combine. Add the canned pumpkin and vanilla and blitz once more to form a wet dough. Add 2 cups of the brown rice cereal and process until ground into fine crumbs. Add the remaining ½ cup of cereal, cranberries, and chopped pecans (optional), and blitz just for a moment to coarsely chop the last round of ingredients, but retain most of the texture.

Lay a piece of wax or parchment paper down on a flat surface, and spill the “dough” out on top. Use your hands to firmly press the mixture into a 1-inch-thick rectangle, compressing as much as possible to get it to “stick.” Lay another piece of wax paper on top, and use a rolling pin to firmly roll the dough into a ½-inch flat layer. Remove the top paper, and re-press together any pieces that may have drifted from the main rectangle. Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Will keep for 1 week at room temperature, or 2 weeks refrigerated.

*Sold at many natural food stores. If unavailable, use regular unsweetened coconut shreds.
**Choose a variety without added sugar, like Barbara’s.

Goldenberry Glazed Acorn Squash with Pecans

Goldenberry Glazed Acorn Squash with Pecans

Read about why goldenberries are such an incredible superfood here! Serves 8

1 cup raw pecans
4 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed, then cut into rounds
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¾ cup dried goldenberries, coarsely chopped
4 cups apple juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 sprig fresh rosemary (whole)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, spread the pecans into an even layer. Toast until fragrant, about 6 minutes, and let cool. Chop coarsely.

Spread the squash rounds onto a couple of baking sheets in a single layer and brush cut sides of the squash with the coconut oil. Season with salt and black pepper, and bake until tender and lightly browned, about 35 minutes, flipping once, after about 25 minutes.

While the squash is baking, combine the goldenberries, apple juice, maple syrup, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about a third and the goldenberries appear rounded, about 15-20 minutes. Keep warm to prevent the contents from solidifying.

When the squash is ready, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the pecans. Remove and discard the rosemary from the glaze and immediately drizzle the goldenberry mixture on top of the squash. Toss gently, and transfer to a serving bowl, drizzling any glaze at the bottom of the bowl on top of the finished dish. May be served hot or cold.


How to Make Chia Gel

Basic Chia Gel

This recipe demonstrates chia’s incredible ability to absorb up to 9 times its weight in water. For a thicker or thinner gel, adjust the water accordingly.


4 Tablespoons chia seeds

2 cups water


Mix together chia and water. Let chia stand for 15 to 30 minutes, stirring with a whisk to prevent clumping.

Gel can be used as a thickener in raw soups, fruit smoothies and fresh jams.

Japanese Pumpkin Pie (kabocha squash)

Don’t be afraid of using fabulous kabocha squash instead of traditional pumpkin – it adds a sweetness and flavor that surpasses any other squash for pie, and allows for a low sugar dessert recipe. Ingredient notes: agar agar is a seaweed that is available in most health food stores. It has no taste whatsoever, it’s simple to use, and it allows the pie filling to set in the refrigerator instead of the oven. Yacon syrup is a beneficial low glycemic sweetener extracted from the yacon root.

Japanese Pumpkin Pie (kabocha squash)

For the pie:
2 cups pureed cooked kabocha squash (Japanese Pumpkin)*
1¼ cups water
1½ Tbsp agar agar powder
1 cup cashews
1/3 cup yacon syrup
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
¼ tsp clove powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup almond flour (you can make this by grinding almonds in a food processor)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp palm sugar

Make the crust first. Preheat the oven to 325 F. In a food processor, combine all the crust ingredients until a crumbly dough has formed. Dough should stick together when pressed – if not, add a touch more water. Press into a pie pan evenly, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

To make the filling, bring the water to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the agar agar powder, and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, or until powder is completely dissolved. Let cool for a moment, and pour into a blender.

Add the cashews into the agar mixture, and blend until a smooth milk has formed. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again to form a silky puree. Pour the warm mixture into the prepared pie crust, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or until pie has set. Serve as desired.

*To make kabocha puree: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice a small squash in half and remove all the seeds and stringy material. Fill a baking tray with water about half an inch high. Place the the two halves face down in the water, place the tray in the oven, and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until squash is tender. Turn the squash upside down and let cool before handling.

Use a spoon to scrape out the orange flesh from the soft green rind. Place in a blender or food processor to whip into a puree. (The quantity for the above recipe is measured after the squash has been processed.)

Dilled Kale Crisps

Dilled Kale Crisps

Whether you use an oven or a dehydrator, these are exceptionally flavorful. You can also enjoy this recipe as a delicious fresh kale salad by simply not drying out the kale at all. Note: depending on the size of the kale bunches, you will need more or less salt. Start with just 1/4 tsp and add more if needed.


2 large bunches of latigo (dinosaur) kale

3 Tbsp hemp oil

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp onion powder

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp black pepper

2 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh dill


Remove the thick parts of the stem from the kale leaves, and tear the leaves into large pieces inside a big bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, lemon juice, onion powder, sea salt, garlic powder and pepper. Pour this mixture into the kale bowl.

Using your hands, massage the oil mixture into the kale leaves, squeezing and tossing the vegetables as you go to help soften the leaves. Mix for about 2 minutes, then add the dill and toss until combined.

Oven Method: Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread the kale out as flatly as possibly onto a couple of baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 50-80 minutes, or until kale has dried out and is crispy. Keep a close eye on the kale at the end of its cooking process to make sure it does not burn. Store in an airtight container when not eating to prevent the kale from softening.

Dehydrator Method (preferred): Warm the dehydrator to 115 degrees. Spread out the kale onto 4 perforated dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate for 10-12 hours, or until crispy (time may vary depending on relative humidity).

Makes about 4 servings.

Healthy benefits: calcium, protein, manganese, fiber, vitamins (higher if dehydrated – especially C, A & K), broad-spectrum minerals, omega fats.

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