Pumpkin Pie Bites are brownie-sized servings of vegan pumpkin pie, made with a fat-free, gluten-free crust and topped with crystalized ginger.
My daughter and I go kind of pumpkin crazy this time of year. It starts when we see the first small pie pumpkins in the grocery store and she convinces me that we just have to have one. She takes it home, decorates it with permanent markers, and then refuses to let me cook her work of art. (Since it’s now covered in toxic ink, I’m not too eager to cook with it anyway.) She then demands that we buy more pumpkins so that we’ll have something to make pies with. So I hide the markers and buy more pumpkins.
My pumpkin-buying mania extends to canned pumpkin. In October and November, I find so many ways to add pumpkin to my meals that I’m convinced that I will want to cook with it all year long, and driven by the fear that it will disappear from the stores after the winter holidays, I buy can after can. Naturally, I never get around to using it all. The pumpkin dishes that seem so appealing in the Fall lose their allure by April, when there are asparagus to play with. As a result, before I can go on my canned pumpkin frenzy and buy more this year, I needed to use up last year’s stock, so I sat down to plan out a new recipe.
While my daughter was envisioning pumpkin pie, for some reason I just kept seeing bars. Specifically, oatmeal bars. Obviously, a compromise was in order, so I designed these bites to appeal to both of our cravings. The gluten-free crust is made up mostly of oatmeal, while the filling is sweet, spicy pumpkin. Each one is like a two-bite pumpkin pie, but I doubt you’ll be able to eat just one.
Now I know that some of you are going to wonder why I didn’t use fresh pumpkin in these bars. One thing that canned pumpkin has going for it is that its moisture content is consistent. When I tell you to use 15 ounces of canned pumpkin, whether you live in Seattle or Asheville you’ll be able to cook the recipe with results that are pretty much like mine.
Working with fresh pumpkin is a little trickier; once you’ve gotten it cooked, it may be more or less watery than the pumpkin I use, and your pumpkin pie bites might need more thickener to get them to set. So while I encourage you to use fresh ingredients whenever possible, I made the recipe using canned pumpkin so that it will work for most people. If you’re using fresh pumpkin, just make sure you drain it well after it’s cooked so that its consistency is close to canned.
One more thing: I made these using sorghum flour so that they’d be gluten-free. (I don’t need to eat gluten-free, but a lot of my readers do, so I like to make it easier for them to make my recipes.) The fat-free, sorghum crust is a little dry right at first, but I found that it softened overnight, so if you can, make these bites the day before, or use a softer type of flour, such as whole wheat pastry flour.
Bonus cat photo for those of you who read this far:
This is what happens when you photograph your food in a house with a fearless and incorrigible kitten in it. While I was trying to get one final shot of the bites, our newest family member took a fancy to them. He actually managed to grab a small piece. Though he seemed to like it, I’m not recommending you share these treats with your pets!
More Vegan Pumpkin Recipes
Be sure to check out all of my delicious pumpkin and winter squash recipes.
Pumpkin Pie Bites
- 1 1/2 cups quick or rolled oats* divided
- 1 cup sorghum or other whole grain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup apple sauce or apple butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 15 ounces pumpkin canned or cooked and water pressed out
- 12 ounces extra-firm silken tofu lite preferred
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar or regular sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract optional
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup quick or rolled oats*
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of a 9×13-inch nonstick baking pan with parchment paper.
- Crust: Place 1/2 cup of the oats in a blender and crush them to a fine powder. Pour the oat flour into a medium mixing bowl and add the remaining oatmeal and the other dry crust ingredients. Add the apple sauce and water and stir until well-moistened. If necessary, add additional water a teaspoon at a time until all flour is moist. Pour it into the prepared pan and press it into the pan until the bottom is evenly covered.
- Filling: Place all the filling ingredients into a blender or food processor. Process until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour filling on top of crust and smooth with a spatula.
- Topping and Baking: Mix the topping ingredients together and sprinkle on top of the filling. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until pumpkin is set in the middle. Remove from oven and run a non-metal knife or spatula around the edges. Cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting into 48 squares.
Nutritional info is approximate.
MoDecember 2, 2009 at 9:05 am
These are wonderful! They were much appreciated both at home and at the vegan thanksgiving potluck where they were quickly and happily devoured. Thanks so much for another fantastic recipe, Susan!
EmanDecember 13, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Made them yesterday and everyone loved them. They tasted delicious! Thank you Susan
AnonymousDecember 14, 2009 at 8:35 am
Fabulous recipe. I needed a vegan dessert, and this was just wonderful. I divided the pan into 18 pumpkin bars. Everyone raved about them. Thank you!
cleanandkindJanuary 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm
wow, those look amazing! great job! I love pumpkin.
LauraJanuary 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm
These are REALLY good! My household is keeping them around for snacks and breakfast and they do the trick. I agree the topping is worth it. I was afraid it would be too much ginger for my husband but he loves them as much as I do.
JacqualynFebruary 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm
I just found your site today and am beyond grateful!
Just wanted to say thanks!
SophieFebruary 17, 2010 at 7:08 am
Waw!! These squares with pumpkin in them look so tasty!!
CeAnneMarch 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Those look SO good. Any vegan subsitution for the tofu… hoping to making this ASAP and hubby just HATEs tofu the thought and taste of it. If he ever knew it was in there that would be the end.
The cat picture is priceless :o)
CaseyApril 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm
Susan (or anyone that knows),
I made these this past weekend and loves the filling and the topping, however I thought the crust was very hard and dense and although i still ate it I felt like it could have been better (flakier or crumblier or something not so dense). I used whole grain flour, but I don’t think I did anything wrong, but do you have any suggestions on how to make sure the crust doesn’t become so dense. Could I just up the amount of applesauce? please help because these were amazing for their healthiness except for the crust!
SusanVApril 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm
Hi Casey, one of the problems of fat-free baking is that it lacks the flakiness of regular baked goods. If your crust seemed excessively hard, though, it sounds like your could use more applesauce. Flours have different moisture contents, and yours may just need more liquid.
RuthMay 4, 2010 at 6:14 pm
Man! I finally tried these last week and they were FANTABULOUS! I took a few liberties with the filling to make it soy-free but…. man oh man! Ummm-hmmmm 🙂
RebekahNovember 12, 2010 at 2:18 pm
Ruth – how did you make it soy-free? I soooo want to try this pumpkin bar recipe!!
katherineJune 30, 2010 at 11:32 am
What can I use instead of tofu?
I just found your blog, and I’m really enjoying browsing your healthy recipes 🙂
ElDecember 28, 2010 at 2:44 pm
Made these for Christmas get together. They were a hit. Super yummy. I have one question, Can you replace the Tofu with something else? For those allergic to soy
Thank you for the great website and recipes!
DeannaJanuary 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Love the picture with the cat! These look great! Ever think about selling what you bake? I would order 🙂
aleonardJanuary 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm
Would these freeze well, or would the tofu in them morph in the freezing process? Since it’s mixed in and baked, I wasn’t sure. Thanks for your help!
alyssaNovember 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm
omg thanks for putting up that dessert photo that made me make a homemade pumpkin pie chunks with peanut butter chocolate granola on the bottom!!!!!!!! it gonna be yummy!!!!!:)
KathyNovember 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm
Susan, is there a substitute to use for the tofu for those of us who cannot use soy? Thanks, Kathy
LaceyNovember 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm
I made these for our Thanksgiving gathering. My vegan family members loved them. Those that are used to fat laden pumpkin cheesecake did not. I think it depends on what you are used to and what you are expecting but we enjoyed the pumpkin and spices in this treat!
Alexis DOctober 13, 2012 at 9:19 am
I made these for CDN Thanksgiving. I used WW Pastry flour in stead of the Sorghum. The bottom crust was super sticky and a pain in the ass to spread in the pan, and once they were baked, I thought maybe I pressed it too much because it was super chewy and unedible. Once they sat in a container over night, as suggested, they were a completely different square. Very enjoyable. Glad I didn’t throw out the whole batch when I thought they were ruined. Will def make again!!! Thanks for the recipe.
LaurenNovember 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm
What can I use in place of tofu? I know that soy products are not good for someone with hypothyroidism. Thank you.
Radhika SarohiaNovember 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm
Your fearless and incorrigible cat is so cute!
JitkaNovember 5, 2012 at 7:41 am
I noticed a few people asked already – but I haven’t seen a reply yet (apologies if I missed it!): can the tofu be substituted? I breastfeed and my baby is allergic to tofu 🙁
Susan VoisinNovember 5, 2012 at 8:02 am
I haven’t tried it with anything but tofu, so I don’t know what to suggest. Sorry!
AVBearNovember 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm
I made these today, following the recipe almost to the T. I didn’t have canned pumpkin so I steamed some Hokkaido and then pureed it. It was quite dry, so I ended up adding a bit of soy milk to the mixture.
And because I didn’t have walnuts I used pecans like another person suggested earlier.
I must admit, I was a bit worried that I would taste the silken tofu in the end product, but there isn’t even a hint of it. These pumpkin pie bites are absolutely delicious! Thank you! 🙂 And Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
AVBearNovember 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm
I made these for actual thanksgiving (in Denmark) this year … Which in our case was almost a week after we’d celebrated (on the weekend prior), so dinner was really just leftovers from the big day. But I wanted to make a dessert. And these were so good! I was worried I’d taste the tofu through the bites, but there wasn’t even a hint of it. I may have added 50% more spices and slightly less sugar, but other than that followed the recipe to T (with homemade pumpkin purée from a Hokkaido). I loved them, and so did my 2-year old daughter. What a great way to get her to eat pumpkin! (Although she kept asking for pumpkin pie triangles in stead of squares… We’re working on shapes) 🙂
Thank you! And happy (belated) thanksgiving. 🙂
Stacey SmithSeptember 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm
The pumpkin bites look divine! I am not a tofu lover, what can I substitute for tofu?
Very funny cat picture you have to enter it in a contest !
Thank you Stacey
Jen KaboomSeptember 26, 2013 at 10:57 am
Thank you so much for posting such amazing recipes! As a newbie to the world of veganism, i really appreciate all the time and effort that you put into your site, and trying out and sharing all of these fantastic recipes with us! I was looking for more ways to use pumpkin, and i can’t wait to try these out! Thanx again!
MarielleNovember 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm
Your cat looks exactly like one of ours! (In looks and behaviour 🙂 ) I just made your cumin-infused vegetables on quinoa, what a beautiful dish!
DawnNovember 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Are you able to do the pumpkin pie bites without tofu? If not, do you have a recommendation on something else that can be used in lieu of it?
Leah MNovember 23, 2013 at 9:50 am
I made these for a vegetarian potluck and they were great, especially the next day. Do you think I could use the filling and bake in a vegan pie crust like a traditional pie? Thanks so much! Love your recipes.
Susan VoisinNovember 23, 2013 at 10:16 am
I don’t see why not. I’m glad you enjoyed them!
WernerNovember 23, 2013 at 11:08 pm
These are fantastic! Tried them out this weekend to see if we want to serve at our Thanksgiving dessert night – only variations per your suggestions: maple syrup instead of agave and pecans instead of walnuts. Love the textures: crust like a cookie, super creamy delicious center, nutty topping with the surprise zing of the ginger. My family prefers to pick up pumpkin pie to eat, rather than use a fork. Then they leave the uneaten, bland and overcooked crusts. So these bites are perfect. The filling blended up in seconds in my NEW VitaMix (if you can stand one more mention of my great new machine). Thank you, Susan, for your delicious, inventive recipes. Happy Thanksgiving.
MiriFebruary 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm
do you have recipes for people that needs to keep the glucose down ? what can i substitute for sweetener ? that include fruit juices and fruit sauces too because of the high sugar content in fruits . I am on a strict diet for a few months , but I miss having something sweet . Any suggestions?
DianeAugust 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm
Just made these tonight and omg soo good!! Only thing is the crust is a little hard and dry but like you said it moistens overnight so fingers crossed! I’ve been obsessed with some of your recipes and try to make one of them a week. So far my most FAVOURITE recipe is the mushroom gravy!! I’m obsessed with it, sooo good! I’ve made 3 times this week and put it on everything haha anyways back to stuffing my face with these guilt free bites 🙂 thank you!
SusanNovember 11, 2014 at 11:30 am
This looks great but I won’t make them and present them as gluten-free. Even gluten-free oats can cause a reaction in some with celiac disease (my aunt for one) so I won’t risk it.
Abby @ The Frosted VeganNovember 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm
These look amazing! Love your little kitty’s appearance in the post too : )
BethNovember 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm
I confess I cheated: I didn’t read all the way to the end. I just scrolled quickly to the bottom to see if it was Loki. 🙂
ValerieNovember 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm
These are delicious. make them you’ll love em.
davidFebruary 21, 2015 at 5:02 pm
Delicious and very easy to make
thanks for sharing
AdrianneOctober 19, 2015 at 11:18 am
Tried these without the topping and they arent as great as they look. The filling is very light in color due to the tofu.
SherriNovember 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm
This looks delicious, can’t wait to try it!