Raw, Vegan Pumpkin Pie

by Gena on November 21, 2011

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Oh yes I did.

Remember how I ate at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw a few weeks ago, and I loved it? One of the many highlights of that meal was the raw, vegan pumpkin pie. After close examination of the ingredients, I realized that the pumpkin pie actually didn’t have any pumpkin in it, which explains why it was so amazingly good: raw pumpkin, in my experience, is just too starchy and slimy to ever be very good.

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It seemed that the color and taste of the raw pumpkin pie was mainly derived from the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and so on. I was so impressed that I vowed that night to figure out a way to make my own all raw, all vegan pumpkin-less pumpkin pie. And since I have now developed a love affair with Irish moss, I knew that it would be one of my featured ingredients (don’t worry, folks: I list Irish moss alternatives for you at the end of this post).

I have to say, this came out much better than I expected. In place of pumpkin, I took a tip from Matthew Kenney and used some carrot juice. I also used cashews, nut milk, spices, and, of course, the moss as a thickener. What resulted was a decadent and authentic spin on one of the most traditional Thanksgiving desserts. Minus the eggs, white sugar, white flour, milk, and butter.

And minus the pumpkin, too. Oddly.

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Raw, Vegan Pumpkin Pie (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Serves about 10-12

For the crust:

1 cup cashews
1 heaping cup dates

For the filling:

3/4 cup carrot juice
1 cup Irish moss gel (see my tutorial on making Irish moss gel here)
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup nut or seed milk (substitute soy or rice if you like)
8 pitted dates
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Dash cloves
Stevia to taste

1) Place cashews and dates in a food processor and process till they’re all broken down and uniformly mixed (as if you were making a homemade Larabar). Press into a pie pan to make crust. Set aside.

2) Combine all fillint ingredients in a Vitamix or other high speed blender and blend till the mix is very, very smooth.

3) Pour filling into crust. Place in freezer for about 2-3 hours. Transfer to fridge and serve at any time. Marvel at deliciousness.

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This pie is sweet, light, and in spite of being quite rich, it’s also full of some good stuff, like beta-carotene, healthy fats, and beneficial compounds from the spice. Even if none of that were true, I would suggest you eat this immediately.

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A few important recipe notes:

  1. Freezer time is essential to help this set. And after it does, and you’re ready to take it out, you’ll still want to keep it in the fridge. Raw pie filling gets softer than the baked stuff, so be sure to keep this nice and cold.
  2. 8 dates offer quite some sweetness, but you may want to add a little more. As per my instructions above, go ahead and use Stevia. If you don’t have any, agave, maple syrup, or more dates are fine.
  3. The moment you’ve all been waiting for: How can you substitute the Irish moss in this recipe if you don’t have access to any? Well, I’m not 100% sure—I did write the recipe to use the moss, so I haven’t modified it extensively yet—but I do have some suggestions. They are:
  • Omit the moss and try increasing the cashews to 1 1/2 cups, and keeping the rest the same
  • Omit the moss and substitute 2 tbsp soy or sunflower lecithin (or more—you’ll have to experiment and tell me what works, but usually this stuff is powerful)
  • Omit the moss and add about 1/2 – 1 tsp xantham gum (again, increasing the quantity as needed)

There are surely more ways to go about doing this, but that’s what I’ve got for now. As always, use your kitchen intuition to see what works!

So: my exam is over. I do not want to talk about it, but it wasn’t any worse than the other exams have been. And the great news is that, starting tomorrow at 2 pm, when I leave the hospital, I am on Thanksgiving break. I’ll be spending Weds+Thurs in D.C., eating with my family and playing full-time kitchenista for once! And on Friday morning, I head home to NYC, from whence I will blog with jubilation.

And, remember how I said I didn’t have time for a full T-Giving complilation this year? I still don’t, but on each day from now to Thursday, I’ll be sharing a few seasonal and appropriate recipes to savor. Check out:

My savory polenta stacks with beans and greens:

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Roasted Barley, Corn, and Radicchio Salad with Balsamic Reduction:

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Raw Butternut Squash and Apple Soup:

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie:

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OK, time to sleep off the exam stupor. Gnite all!

xo

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Glad to hear your test is over and that you’re going to be on TGiving Break….woo hoo! Have fun with your family and friends, both in DC and in NYC. Sounds like you’re really excited about the trip to NYC, I know you love it there.

This part
“After close examination of the ingredients, I realized that the pumpkin pie actually didn’t have any pumpkin in it…”
And actually most canned ‘pumpkin’, i.e. Libby’s or similar, isn’t really pumpkins. It’s squash. So even mainstream pumpkin puree isn’t usually pumpkin. Of course labeling changes and contents change, but last time I researched this, that was the case.

Enjoy your pie and your break!

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bitt November 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm

yes I think buttercup squash tastes far better than pumpkin! a farmer told me that about the cans too.

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Hannah November 22, 2011 at 12:17 am

OH man this looks like the real thing! A raw food caterer in my hometown does a pie like this with carrot juice! I hope it doesn’t taste just like carrots….?

I may have to make this for Thursday, and I will let you know how it goes. Is it okay to use Odwalla carrot juice? I don’t have a juicer.

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Tal November 22, 2011 at 12:22 am

How about arrowroot powder instead of the Irish moss?

Tal

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Janice November 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I had the same thought, Tal. It’s worth a try right? What would your best guess on the amount of arrowroot powder to add? Thanks!

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Get Skinny, Go Vegan. November 22, 2011 at 12:45 am

Love raw yam, pumpkin, butternut squash pies! How FUNNY that there is only carrot juice! Awesome and I NEED to use my moss because it’s been sitting in the fridge for almost forever!

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com November 22, 2011 at 12:49 am

Sounds very healthy! Is it OK to put any other kind of nuts instead of cashews or these are pretty much the only good choice to use ?

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Ashleigh November 22, 2011 at 1:47 am

Gena, this recipe looks great. Also, I wanted you to know that, after being “almost vegan” for awhile. And “accidentally vegan” at various points, I decided to go vegan for good. A lot of that is because of you and others like you who have shown veganism to be such a peaceful and joy-filled lifestyle. As someone who consciously rebels against anything that reeks of self-righteous dogma, I’ve been worn down. While intellectually and even ethically, I’ve been convinced for awhile, it was honestly a slow process for this skeptical and somewhat jaded heart of mine to give in. But I feel so good about this decision and so completely grateful to those of you who have lit the way. I’ll be blogging about my journey as my old road trip blog if you ever have time to stop by: girlgoeshobo.blogspot.com

It might seem on the nose, since it’s Thanksgiving and all, but thank you.

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Ali November 22, 2011 at 2:07 am

Amazing! Isn’t it so neat how something that contains almost no ingredients in common with an original recipe, can come out tasting strikingly similar? I am so glad that you encourage people to use their kitchen intuition too! Do you get to spend some QT with M this Holiday season? Boo tests!

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Laura C November 22, 2011 at 2:33 am

I’m not surprised there isn’t pumpkin, but I’m very surprised there isn’t sweet potato! Looks delicious though! Happy non-orgo dreams!

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Drisana November 22, 2011 at 4:18 am

After reading your post about eating at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, I was wondering what was in the pie if not pumpkin. Thanks for posting your own recipe! Looks great, but I have to say I don’t think I know what Irish Moss is and certainly have never cooked with it. Google, here I come :)

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sam November 22, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hi Gena

I have two question when yu use irish moss, can you taste it in recipes? Becasue when I use it I taste it and do not enjoy it like when I use only nut based.I wash it soak it multiple times.

Can you compare the taste of sunflower lecithin and soy one? Actually I do have sunflower lecithin but can not use it I hate that taste of it. Even when I use only little amount of it I feel it and does not like whole food so.

Thanks a lot

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Heather @ For the Love of Kale November 22, 2011 at 7:19 am

This post is all kinds of lovely. That pie looks deeeevine.

Have an amazing break, Gena. You totally deserve it!

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Amanda November 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

This pie sounds so good. I just recently bought agar flakes at Whole Foods, but don’t know much about using them (I bought them to try in vegan lemon bars). Do you think I could try them in this recipe to help thicken it?

Wishing you a very relaxing Thanksgiving break. :)

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janet @ the taste space November 22, 2011 at 8:41 am

I am so glad you figured out a recipe for this… I was so intrigued by your pumpkin pie without pumpkin! :)

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Evan Thomas November 22, 2011 at 8:50 am

This pie looks incredible. And I’m so glad it doesn’t have raw pumpkin, too. Never would have thought that carrot juice could lend the same color. I bet the mellow sweetness works well with the spices, too. That reminds me I haven’t had carrot juice in too long.

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Pure2raw twins November 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

yay for raw pumpkin pie, we made some the other too ;)
xoxo

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Lauren November 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

Pumpkin pie is my fav! This looks so good!

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Rebecca November 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

I am not even too much a fan of pumpkin pie, but I am all over this recipe!! It looks so creamy and I love the sneakiness of carrot juice ;)

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Rebecca L November 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

Mmmmmm! Looks amazing! Will you PLEASE come to Paris and cook Thanksgiving dinner for me? :)
PS Do you think I can sub cashews for any other nut? Would almonds work in this?

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles November 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

First of all, congrats on officially being on break!! Second of all, I’m so glad you posted this. I have been mulling over a way to make raw pumpkin-flavored things without the actual raw pumpkin. Mystery solved!

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) November 22, 2011 at 2:56 pm

This looks divine – I love that it has no pumpkin because I can rarely get my hands on any here in the UK. Have a great TG break! :)

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fleur November 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

hi Gena
in asian stores they sell agar agar (both in powder form as in stringform -looks like the irish moss in the picture). I guess that is almost the same and a good substitute because it is something that stiffens like gelatin.

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Jocelyn Steiber November 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

This looks delicious! I might surprise my family by making them something sweet yet healthy for them!

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Janice November 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Hmmmm – something else interesting and quite healthful that will thicken and gel (at least with water) is chia seeds. Sounds like some experimentation is in order tomorrow ya’ll : ) Thanks, Gena!!!!!

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bitt November 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

as much as this looks amazing, I can relate to those who aren’t able to use irish moss. matthew kenney has a great pumpkin pie without irish moss and i spotted this one on xgfx by sayward http://xgfx.org/2011/10/saywards-raw-pumpkin-pie-with-chocolate-kissed-pecan-crust/

although I am sure yours is great of course! wish i was there to share a slice.

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Jacquelynn November 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Hey Gena! I am excited to try this tonight… Do you use soaked cashews for the filling, or dry?

Thanks!

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Sarah November 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

This looks delish! Today I revisited your pumpkin pudding recipe to prepare for thxgiving and thought, why don’t I eat this every week!!!

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Jacquelynn November 25, 2011 at 12:44 am

Made this (with dry cashews) and it was AWESOME! My aunt who is SO picky loved it. Thank you!

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ramona November 25, 2011 at 8:45 pm

this was so good! it tastes like the best pumpkin pie ever. does not taste like carrots and is just mind blowingly good. i’ve made it twice already. try it!!

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celia November 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Wow! This pumpkin pie looks beautiful! I know that cashews used to bother my stomach, but i haven’t tried them in a long time, maybe i’ll give this recipe a try soon! Thanks for sharing!

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Roberta December 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

Hi girls!
And what about using no flavor gelatin ??
And flaxseed in water during the night makes a kind of jelly water… We could try to wrap the seeds in a lace small bag and put into de glass of water.. And in the morning taking out the bag maybe de jelly stays apart(!?)..and we can use it to firm the filling maybe..
I will try and tell u
And about banana? Ive seen a recipe that use it to firm..

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pointeshoes44 October 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Why doesn’t it contain actual pumpkin?

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steve-dave October 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

@pointeshoes44
Because hipster douches came up with this recipe. Save yourself some trouble and buy a pumpkin pie from the store or from the local Amish and/or Mennonites. Or have your dear gram make you a real one from scratch.

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