Looking for healthy pumpkin desserts? Try these easy healthy pumpkin bars. They are vegan, gluten-free, low in calories and naturally sweetened making them the perfect guilt-free treat to serve around the holidays.
Healthy Pumpkin Bars – vegan, gluten-free & free from refined sugar!
These healthy pumpkin bars are an attempt to counterbalance all the pumpkin spice lattes, slices of pie and cornbread that are definitely on the horizon as Canadian Thanksgiving approaches.
Why this vegan recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Bars is simply awesome:
Imagine having all the flavour and creamy texture of pumpkin pie filling minus the sugar and calories from sweetened condensed milk and whatever else we usually add to this classic Thanksgiving dessert.
That is what these vegan pumpkin bars are – pumpkin pie filling healthified and shaped into neat little squares, perfect for snacking.
One of these pumpkin pie bars has only 160 calories, and is packed with healthy fat and protein! So, if you’re naughty like me, this totally calls for a sprinkle of some dark chocolate chips, right? Just make sure they are vegan.
The best thing about these healthy pumpkin bars? They are so easy to make that you actually can’t mess them up. All you need to do is mix the ingredients in a blender and bake it.
Still worried? I have made a step-by-step recipe plus video for you so are guaranteed to nail these healthy Pumpkin Pie Bars.
Tips for making the best healthy pumpkin bars ever:
- After soaking the dates, do not discard the liquid as you can add some for additional sweetness while blending the pumpkin bar batter.
- The texture of the batter should be rather thick, so don’t add too much liquid while blending.
- These healthy vegan pumpkin bars taste best well chilled.
Variations on this Pumpkin Bar recipe:
- You can use pumpkin, kabocha or Hokkaido squash for this recipe.
- I love the flavour of pumpkin seed butter in this recipe, but you can use any nut butter you like.
- Feel free to top these bars with cranberries or any nut or dried fruit you want!
- As a short-cut, you can use canned pumpkin puree, which you should simmer on low heat for at least 15 minutes. This makes it dryer and cooks out the metallic taste.
How to make Healthy Pumpkin Bars:
Cut your pumpkin or squash into cubes and toss with some maple syrup and coconut oil. Roast at 375 F until tender. I used Kabocha squash which does not have to be peeled.
Blend your Pumpkin Pie Spice! I simply mixed some cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, cloves and salt and added a tsp of fresh ginger.
Add all the ingredients apart from the toppings and the baking powder to a blender and puree until thick and smooth.
Should your pumpkin bar batter be too thick, add some more pumpkin seed butter or/and soaking liquid from the dates.
Transfer the batter to a bowl and stir in the baking powder.
Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper and spread the batter into it.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pepitas and press them into the batter ever so gently.
Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, let cool to room temperature and transfer the dish to the fridge to chill. I wrap in cling film to prevent drying out.
Cut the healthy pumpkin bars into squares and enjoy!
Can I make these Pumpkin Bars with canned pumpkin puree?
Yes, you can use canned pumpkin puree. I recommend cooking it for about 10 to 15 minutes on low heat. This reduced the moisture content and the raw, metallic flavour from the can.
How to store these Pumpkin Bars:
I like to store these in an airtight container in the fridge. That way, they last for at least a week and stay wonderfully moist. I have not tried freezing them, but I imagine it would work.
Last but not least, do not discard the liquid from the canned chickpeas! You can use it to make a big batch of my healthy Vegan Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse!
★ Did you make and love this pumpkin bar recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!
Vegan Pumpkin Bars
For the roasted pumpkin
- 400 g pumpkin or kabocha squash
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp soaking liquid from the dates
For the pumpkin bars
- 6 pitted dates soaked in water over night or for at least 6 hours
- 1 x roasted pumpkin see above
- 2 cans chickpeas drained, rinsed and dried
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seed butter or any nut butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger powdered or fresh
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips optional
- 1/8 cup pepitas
For the roasted pumpkin
Preheat your oven to 375 F and line a square baking tin or a baking sheet with some parchment paper and cooking spray.
Peel pumpkin and cut into cubes. If using squash (kabocha or butternut work well) there's no need to peel. Toss the cubes with maple syrup and coconut oil and roast until tender, for about 35 minutes. If the mixture is getting dry, pour in some of the soaking liquid from the dates.
Once softened, remove the roasted pumpkin from the oven and add to the bowl of a food processor or blender.
For the Pumpkin Bars
Line a square 9x9-inches brownie pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Add all the ingredients apart from baking powder and toppings to the blender or food processor and blitz until you have a nice and smooth paste. Add some orange food color, if you want a more vibrant orange. You want a thick mixture, but if your squash or pumpkin is very starchy, add some more of the date soaking water to help with blending.
Stir in the baking powder and pour the batter into your baking pan. Spread it out evenly and top with chocolate chips and pepitas.
Bake for 25 minutes, then let cool down to room temperature and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, better overnight!