Throwing another pumpkin recipe your way, because it's pumpkin season and I'm going to enjoy every last bit of it. Besides, these Paleo Pumpkin Bars are totally worth it. They're grain free, dairy free, Vegan, don't require any baking and are completely cashew free. These little bites of heaven are going to be something I make as a yearly fall treat because I just can't get enough.
These healthy, no bake pumpkin bars have three simple layers:
- Nutty pecan, coconut and date crust
- Creamy pumpkin, coconut and date filling
- Dark chocolate topping
These gluten free pumpkin bars don't require any baking. Plus, they're grain free, egg free, dairy free and cashew free. Which, is a big deal to me because my son has a cashew allergy. And, if you do a quick "no-bake pumpkin bar" search, you'll find that most of those recipes require soaked cashews for the filling.
Ingredients in Paleo Pumpkin Bars
Let's break down the ingredients, layer by layer, for these pumpkin bars.
Pumpkin Bar Crust
For substitutions, any type of nut can be used in place of the pecans. However, pecans are naturally sweet and have a fairly soft texture, so they're my number one nut choice.
Flaked coconut isn't an absolute necessity. This ingredient may be swapped for any type of nut or seed.
The Medjool dates provide a bit of sweetness and help the crust stick together. Any date variety may be used instead, just measure by weight to get the right amount.
Pumpkin Bar Filling
The filling is made up of Medjool dates, coconut cream, pumpkin puree, arrowroot flour, vanilla extract and salt.
The dates not only provide sweetness for the filling, but a thicker texture as well. I have not tried any substitutions, so cannot give any alternatives for this ingredient.
Coconut cream is another important ingredient for the filling. It acts as a thickener, as coconut cream is solid at room temperature. I do not recommend any substitutions for this ingredient.
Obviously, pumpkin is a must for these bars. Be sure to use pumpkin puree rather than pumpkin pie filling.
Arrowroot flour is a starch that is often used as a thickener in Paleo baking. And, that's exactly it's purpose for this recipe. The arrowroot helps the filling maintain it's shape and structure. Tapioca flour or potato starch will work as a Paleo friendly replacement. I have also tried substituting with coconut flour. Which works, but gives the filling a slightly grainy texture so I don't suggest using coconut flour.
The vanilla and salt enhance the filling flavor. They are not absolutely necessary and can be omitted if you desire.
Pumpkin Bar Toppings
Truthfully, the entire topping can be omitted. But without any sort of topping these bars look a bit naked and unfinished.
I topped these bars with dark chocolate, chopped pecan pieces, bee pollen and cinnamon. I suggest some sort of topping, but any ingredients can be used.
How to Make Paleo Pumpkin Bars
To make these bars, a food processor or high powered blender is needed. These bars are made layer by layer, starting with the crust.
To make the crust, add all the crust ingredients to your food processor. (Note, be sure to remove the pit from the dates.) Blend until the mixture is a thick, sticky dough. You should be able to mold it into a ball.
Next, firmly press the crust mixture into a lined 8" x 8" baking pan and set aside.
To make the filling, the first thing you must do is soften the dates. To do this, remove the pits from the dates and place them in a small, microwaveable dish. Fill the dish with water until the dates are covered. Next, cook the dates in the microwave for 2 minutes (on high). Note, if you don't have a microwave, then soak the dates in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
Drain the water from the dates and place them in your food processor. Blend for a few seconds, stopping to scrape the sides, then blend a bit more. Place the remaining filling ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour the filling over the crust and smooth out using a spatula. You should have an even, level filling layer over the crust.
Next, place the bars in the fridge overnight for the filling to set. (Or, for at least 6 hours.)
After the bars have set, it's time to make the topping. First, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil on the stove top over low heat, stirring frequently.
Once the chocolate is fully melted, remove the bars from the fridge. Take them out of the baking dish and cut into 16 even pieces. Place the pumpkin bars on a wire cooling rack or sheet of parchment paper, leaving a small amount of space between each bar.
Then, drizzle the melted chocolate over the pumpkin bars. Immediately sprinkle chopped pecans, cinnamon and bee pollen on the bars, before the chocolate has time to set.
Healthy, no-bake Paleo Pumpkin Bars with a nutty pecan crust, creamy pumpkin filling and dark chocolate topping.
- 150 g Medjool dates, pitted (about 9 dates)*
- 1 cup coconut cream**
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot flour
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (1.5 oz)
- 1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
- chopped pecan pieces (optional)
- bee pollen (optional)
- cinnamon (optional)
- For the crust: place all crust ingredients in food processor. Blend, stopping to scrape the sides a few times, until mixture starts to clump.
- Firmly press crust into a foil lined 8" x 8" baking pan. Set aside.
- For the Filling: Place pitted dates in a small microwaveable bowl. Cover with water and heat (on high) in microwave for 2 minutes. Drain water and blend dates in food processor for a few seconds.
- Add remaining filling ingredients to food processor. Blend well, stopping to scrape the sides every so often.
- Pour filling over crust and place in fridge overnight to set (or at least 6 hours).
- For the topping: Melt chocolate and coconut oil in small sauce pan, stirring frequently.
- Remove bars from fridge and cut into 16 equally sized pieces. Place bars on wire cooling rack or parchment paper (make sure there is a small amount of space between each bar) and drizzle with melted dark chocolate. Immediately add chopped pecans, bee pollen and cinnamon.
- Store bars in fridge.
*You may use any type of pitted date, just be sure to measure by grams
**1 can of full fat coconut milk will produce about 1 cup coconut cream. Be sure to use just the cream that rises to the top. I recommend using coconut cream that has been kept at room temperature to ensure best results.
Keywords: pumpkin, no bake, Paleo, Vegan, dessert