These no bake pumpkin bars are not only delicious, but super easy to make! There's no baking required, they are made with simple ingredients and they last well in the freezer. This healthy pumpkin bar recipe is paleo, vegan and even made with Whole30 approved ingredients.
Throwing another pumpkin recipe your way, because it's pumpkin season and I'm going to enjoy every last bit of it!
Besides, these no bake pumpkin bars are worth it in every way. They have a nutty pecan crust, creamy pumpkin filling and are drizzled with dark chocolate. Which, is completely optional, but recommended.
In addition, these healthy pumpkin bars are:
- gluten free and grain free - completely flourless
- dairy free - made without cream cheese and no cool whip
- naturally sweetened - these paleo pumpkin bars are only sweetened with dates
- vegan - no animal products
- paleo - made with real, whole food ingredients
- whole30 - these pumpkin bars are made with whole30 approved ingredients
These little slices of heaven are going to be something I make as a yearly fall treat because I just can't get enough! I think you'll all agree 😉
Here's a list of what you'll need to make these paleo vegan pumpkin bars:
- raw pecans
- unsweetened shredded coconut (or flaked)
- dates (I used organic Medjool dates)
- coconut cream (just the cream from a can of full fat coconut milk/cream)
- pumpkin puree (canned, or homemade)
- tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch)
- vanilla extract
- pumpkin spice
- optional: dark chocolate chips and coconut oil for the topping
If you need to make a few tweaks to meet your dietary needs, then read on for some suggestions.
The crust consists of pecans, coconut and dates. You may swap any variety of nut for the pecans (almonds or walnuts would be great). I recommend keeping the coconut if possible, but you can swap it out for more nuts if you must.
The dates are used to sweeten both the crust and the filling. While they are not necessary for the crust (you can also swap them for raisins or dried figs), they are needed for the filling. They not only provide sweetness for the filling, but a thicker texture. I have not tried any substitutions, so I don't have any recommended swaps for this ingredient.
Coconut cream is another important ingredient. 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. I actually made my own homemade pumpkin puree from the pumpkins I grew in my garden!
Tapioca 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 tapioca helps the filling maintain it's shape and structure, while maintaining a smooth texture. Arrowroot starch 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, pumpkin spice and salt enhance the filling flavor. They are not absolutely necessary and can be omitted if you desire. Same with the chocolate topping - it's completely optional.
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.
Next, firmly press the crust mixture into a lined 8" x 8" baking pan and set aside. I lined my baking dish with parchment, but foil or wax paper will work too since these pumpkin bars are no bake.
To make the filling, first 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.
Once the dates are blended, place the remaining filling ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. You'll need to stop a couple times to scrape down the sides. The filling should be smooth, but contain specks of dates.
Pour the filling onto the crust and smooth it out using a spatula.
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 and then top with chopped pecans.
These no bake pumpkin bars need to be stored in the fridge or freezer, as they will spoil at room temperature. You can keep them out for serving - they don't melt.
Place them in an air tight container or baggie. Keep them in the fridge for up to one week, or the freezer up to one month. (I love them stored both ways!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Should pumpkin bars be refrigerated?
Yes, these pumpkin bars either need to be refrigerated or stored in the freezer.
How long can pumpkin bars stay in fridge?
I recommend eating these pumpkin bars within a week. After that, place them in the freezer for longer storage.
Can these be made ahead of time?
Yes! If you're prepping these ahead (like for Thanksgiving dessert) then just store them covered in the fridge 1-2 days before serving. I recommend waiting to cut and decorate the bars until the day of.
More No Bake Pumpkin DessertsPrint
These no bake pumpkin bars have a simple pecan crust that's topped with a creamy pumpkin filling. Paleo, vegan, gluten free and dairy free.
- 1 cup raw pecan pieces (105g)
- ½ cup packed unsweetened shredded coconut (50g)
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted (about 30g)*
- 150 g Medjool dates, pitted (about 9 dates)*
- 1 cup coconut cream**
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
- ½ tsp pumpkin spice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (1.5 oz)
- 1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
- chopped pecan pieces (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.
- Store bars in fridge or freezer.
*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.
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