Pecan pie lovers, this one’s for you! We’ve tried for some time to create the perfect vegan pecan pie, and after some pie struggles last year, we changed our vision a bit and boy are we happy with the result! Introducing: pecan pie bars with crunchy, buttery pecans and a shortbread-like crust.
With all the classic flavor of pecan pie, they’re undetectably gluten-free and vegan, and perfect for your holiday table. Even better? They’re made with simple methods (no food processor required!) and just 9 ingredients. Let’s make dessert!
Origins of Pecan Pie
In our search for the origins of pecan pie, we found a few theories. But the most common one is that it was invented by French settlers in New Orleans who were introduced to pecans by Native Americans. Recipes then appeared in cookbooks in Texas in the late 1800s. And by the 1920s, the company Karo began printing a recipe for pecan pie made with their corn syrup, turning the dessert into a nationwide sensation!
The following is not your usual pecan pie recipe but our inspired take on the classic dessert — made gluten-free, vegan, and without corn syrup.
How to Make Pecan Pie Bars
These pecan pie bars begin with a shortbread-like crust made by mixing almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt, then adding in vegan butter and maple syrup to form a dough.
The dough gets pressed into a baking dish and into the oven it goes!
While the crust bakes and cools, we make the filling with chopped pecans, melted vegan butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, dairy-free milk, and tapioca starch. It goes over the par-baked shortbread crust and back into the oven.
After baking, the filling transforms into a crispy, gooey, buttery, majorly addictive masterpiece. You’ve been warned!
Lastly, it must cool before being sliced into bars. We know, it’s the hardest part! But it makes them perfect for prepping the day ahead to free up oven space for other Thanksgiving recipes.
We hope you LOVE these pecan pie bars! They’re:
& BURSTING with pecan flavor!
They’re the perfect dessert for the holiday table or any time you have an abundance of pecans! Top them with Coconut Whipped Cream or Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream for extra decadence.
More Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 16 (Bars)
- 1 ½ cups almond flour (can try subbing cashew flour, though we haven’t tested it and can’t guarantee the results)
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 6 Tbsp vegan butter, cold and cubed (we used Miyoko’s)
- 5-6 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup melted vegan butter (we used Miyoko’s)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (see notes for substitutions)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp plain unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almond milk)
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 2 cups raw pecans, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
CRUST: In a medium mixing bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca starch, and salt. Whisk to combine and break up any clumps. Add cold vegan butter to the flours, and use clean hands, a pastry cutter, or a fork to cut the butter and mix it with the flours until the mixture looks like wet sand. It should hold together when squeezed, and there should be no clumps of butter larger than a pea. Add the maple syrup (starting with the lesser amount) and stir well until the dough comes together.
Transfer mixture to the parchment-lined baking dish and spread evenly to distribute. If you are struggling to get it even, place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, like a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well packed. Place crust into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until it looks pale and dry in the center and the edges just start to look golden.
FILLING: While the crust bakes, make the filling. To a medium mixing bowl, add melted butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, dairy-free milk, and tapioca starch. Whisk to thoroughly combine, making sure to break up any clumps of tapioca starch. Add in the chopped pecans and give it a stir to evenly distribute. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
After the crust has cooled, add the filling to the crust, spreading it evenly and making sure the pecans are distributed throughout. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges should be bubbly and the filling slightly darkened in color. The middle should still be slightly wiggly when it’s done, so don’t worry! It firms up quite a bit when it cools.
Let the bars cool completely before slicing. Once cooled, cut into 16 equal squares and serve! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.
*Coconut sugar is the next best option to replace brown sugar, but the filling will be less firm and more difficult to cut. We also tested dates blended with coconut milk, which had a delicious flavor, but the mixture made the filling dense and did not allow the pecans to get crispy.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of maple syrup.
Serving: 1 bar Calories: 309 Carbohydrates: 26.8 g Protein: 3.5 g Fat: 22.2 g Saturated Fat: 6.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 124 mg Potassium: 175 mg Fiber: 2.5 g Sugar: 15.1 g Vitamin A: 8 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 61 mg Iron: 0.7 mg