Gluten & dairy-free pumpkin pie bars

Happy Halloween!

We had a fun weekend filled with Halloween festivities.  Meghan, as the cutest bumble bee I’ve ever seen, wore her costume to various events all week.  Halloween becomes a week-long event these days!

Tim and I had an adult costume party to attend this weekend. As you can see I took full advantage of my gigantic belly and incorporated it into my costume.  {In case you are wondering, I used all natural face paint from Elegant Minerals on my stomach.  You can find it here if you are interested.}  Our costumes were a hit.  The funniest part was that there were a number of people at the party that we didn’t know, and they all thought I had put a large rubber ball over my stomach at first.  When they realized I was pregnant and it was my actual belly, their reactions were hilarious.

On to today’s recipe!  As much as I love a multitude of pumpkin dishes, the one that steals my heart is pumpkin pie.  I love pumpkin pie more than any pumpkin concoction in the world.

One of my brothers shares my love, so when he was coming into town I thought I’d make a pumpkin pie.  I’d never made a pumpkin pie before.  I’d typically only eat pumpkin pie once a year, on Thanksgiving, which I never host.  I was way overdue to make a pumpkin pie.

Of course, I had to healthify it a bit, even though pumpkin pie is one of the healthier pies you can eat.  I started with a whole wheat crust.  Eww.  It totally ruined the pie.  Normally I don’t mind whole wheat baked goods, but with this crust, I was just not happy.

After my brother left, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could make a different version of pumpkin pie, without the traditional crust.  That’s when these pumpkin pie bars came to my head.  I thought a flourless, nut-based crust would be delicious.  Then I thought the crust would make them more like bars, so I turned them into bars instead of a pie.

I’m in love with this recipe.  The pumpkin pie filling has lovely pumpkin spice flavor and a great texture.  I used coconut milk on a whim and was so impressed with how it worked.  The crust, made primarily with walnuts and dates, is a great compliment to the filling.

You can bake this as a pie or as bars, either way, it’s a healthy pumpkin treat!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie Bars

Makes 10-20 bars, depending on what size pan you use and how big you cut your bars

For the crust

1 2/3 cups walnuts

1 cup pitted dates (soaked first if they are especially hard/not moist)

1/8 cup agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup rolled oats (for GF, make sure to get certified Gluten-free oats)

For the filling

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk (I used lite, full-fat would be wonderful, too)

1/2 cup Sucanat

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional toppings

1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease a medium-sized baking dish (a large variety of sizes will work here, you will just need to watch for doneness as the baking time will vary based on the thickness).

Prepare the crust

In a food processor, process the walnuts, dates, agave nectar, and vanilla until the walnuts and dates are well broken down and you have a sticky mixture.  Add the rolled oats and pulse until they are incorporated.

Press the mixture into your baking dish and set aside.

Prepare the filling

In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, coconut milk, sucanat, eggs, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice or cloves, and salt.  Mix very well.  Pour the mixture over the crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 50-65 minutes, until the filling is firm.  {I used a deep pan, so mine needed the 65 minutes.  If you use a more shallow baking dish, the time will be reduced.}  If using toppings, add them for the last 5-10 minutes of baking time.

Allow to cool fully at room temperature, at least 2 hours.  Then chill in the fridge before serving.

Even though these take a long time to bake and chill before serving, they are well worth the wait!  The actual work time isn’t long at all, and the result is a delectable treat that tastes much more sinful than it is.  Enjoy and have a fun Halloween!

Here’s the handy printable version of the recipe:


  1. says

    You guys look adorable! I’m having an extremely stressful and unjoyable day at work today but your post brought me back to the real world and now I can’t stop smiling. :)
    Your pumpkin bars also look wonderful!

  2. says

    Oh goodness! Those costumes are too cute!!!! I bet they were all pretty shocked when it turned out your basketball was not a basketball under your shirt! ……You are all sooooo cute, from the basketball theme to the bumblebee! AW, she looks sooo stinking cute!

    • Maryea says

      I tried to get Meghan to be a cheerleader so we’d all match, but she wasn’t interested. I don’t think she really knows what a cheerleader is. :-)

  3. says

    I love your costume! So creative. It’s really funny that there were people who didn’t realize it was your actual belly. I did a double take when I first saw the pic – it’s very realistic! Might as well put the belly to use before the bean comes out! :-)

  4. says

    The costumes are awesome! Love yours, it’s perfect :D

    Pumpkin pie with that kind of crust sounds amazing. I have a recipe for a crustless pumpkin pie that I just cut into bars too because whole wheat pie crust can be so disappointing. I actually just used coconut milk for mine too and it was great. I’m doing that from now on :D

  5. says

    I love your costumes!!! Great job! Meghan is super cute too!
    I was thinking about using coconut milk in place of the Eagle condensed milk that I have used in the past for my pies. My oldest son does not like coconut at all. Can you tell a difference in the taste? I would LOVE to use the coconut milk but if he can taste a coconutty flavor I’m not sure he will eat it.
    I am going to try it either way, just means I have to eat more pumpkin treats!! Not that I will have any trouble doing that! :-)

  6. says

    your belly is too cute! great idea! and I agree with you, i’ll take pumpkin pie concoction anyday! so thank you for this recipe.
    Looks heavenly!

  7. Lisa says

    What adorable costumes! Very creative indeed! I had to show my husband just now and he even thought it was a cute idea. Pumpkin bars look great, too. They are going on my “to make” list for this week. Thanks!

  8. Christine says

    I loved the outfits! Your husband seems pretty tall in this picture! How tall is he? Maybe you’re going to have a tall baby in a few weeks ;)

    • Maryea says

      He is tall–about 6′ 3″. He was also a 10 1/2 pound baby which scares me!! I’m hoping this baby boy is more on the average size at birth! :-)

  9. Molly says

    I made these pumpkin pie bars today and the crust was browned in the first 15 min of baking. Of course, the filling still had an hour to go. By the time the filling was done, my crust was black and not tasty. What do you think I should do next time? I know that crust would be delicious raw, but the filling needs to cook. I kind of think 425 is too hot.
    Thanks so much!

    • Maryea says

      Oh my–I’m so sorry this happened to you. This could have happened because of the type of pan you used–a different material or size than I used. I would suggest just baking it at 350 degrees the whole time next time. Sorry again. :-(


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