Thanksgiving has been one of my most favorite days of the year since I was small. But as an adult, its significance really grew for me, as it now gives me a chance to bring together family and friends I love, in my own special home, and serve nourishing foods that we can all enjoy while we soak up the gratitude we feel for this moment in our lives. It’s a holiday about being present, nourishing our bodies, and feeling surrounded with love and friendship. I cant think of anything better. I created these delicious Pumpkin ‘Cheesecake’ Bars (the cheesecake-esque filling is actually made with cashews and pumpkin) last year for my Eat Pretty Together coaching group and have since made them several times— each to the delight of family and friends. They’ll be gracing my Thanksgiving table again this year, and I cannot wait for another bite!
Enjoy them for the delicious, perfect fall dessert they are, and know that they’re also anti-inflammatory, low-glycemic (won’t mess with hormones or skin), and filled with beauty nutrition. They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free for your guests that prefer those dietary choices. Enjoy, I’m grateful for you!
Thankful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Makes 16 bars
1 cup GF organic rolled oats
½ cup pitted dates (about 12 small)
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt (only if nut butter is not salted)
2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours or overnight, rinsed and drained
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup coconut sugar
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see my favorite recipe p. 137 in Eat Pretty)
4 drops liquid stevia (or omit and increase coconut sugar to taste)
In a food processor, mix crust ingredients until a fine mixture forms. Press firmly into a 9”x 9” pan and set aside. In a high-powered blender, combine all ingredients. Blend, using a tamper to push ingredients down to the blades and stopping to scrape down sides as needed, until you reach a creamy consistency with no lumps. Pour over crust, smooth top, and chill in the refrigerator 5 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator, cut into 16 squares and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.