It’s Pi Day! 5 Plant-Based Pie Recipes You’ve Got to Try
Pie is a dessert that evokes home and comfort, and there’s no better way to celebrate the National Pi Day than with tasty, plant-based treats!
March 14 marks the ten year anniversary since Congress declared Pi Day an actual holiday, people have been celebrating with pies on March 14th (3.14 — get it??) since the late 1980s. And what’s not to celebrate? Commemorating a mathematical constant with a delicious dessert is something nearly everyone can get behind. Hold the dairy and eggs, and there’s only more to enjoy! Our collection of plant-based pie recipes will satisfy all palates, so no matter what your pie-type, there’s one for you!
Many novice plant-based bakers are nervous about pie crusts. That’s because, traditionally, pie dough is made with a combination of butter and shortening. Because vegan butters have different ingredients than dairy, your crust results may vary significantly from conventional doughs. If pie crust fear is what’s holding you back, don’t let it stop you! Just go with a pre-made dough — there are many plant-based options in stores.
Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
The fall flavors in this pie are just as yummy at any other time of year, so don’t feel the need to save this recipe for a holiday! Using a fresh and healthful root vegetable as the basis for a dessert is a good idea no matter what the season. The addition of pecans makes this pie even more filling and scrumptious, while also contributing to its whole-food nature.
For the top crust, you can braid strips of pie dough to create a pretty crust topping (find a tutorial here), or serve the pie open-faced if you’re not ready to try this decorative technique –– it’ll be just as scrumptious.
Prep Time: 10 minutes active (longer if you create the braided crust), 40 minutes inactive
- 1 pie shell, unbaked
- 1 pie crust, unbaked and not in shell, for garnish
- 2 ½ cups peeled and boiled or steamed sweet potato chunks
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup nondairy milk
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- ½ tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pecan pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Blend all filling ingredients except peans until smooth.
3. Fold pecans into filling and pour into pie shell; add any decorative crust toppings.
4. Bake until firm, about 40 minutes.
Coconut Cream Pie
Once you pre-bake the pie crust, this is an incredibly simple pie to put together. It’s comprised almost entirely of coconut: a 5-minute stovetop coconut pudding makes the filling, whipped coconut milk is the topping, and a sprinkle of shredded, toasted coconut provides some crunch. We use cornstarch instead of eggs as a thickener for the filling, which removes the need for baking — and keeps chickens happier!
Note that canned coconut milk here is specified: that’s because it’s much richer and thicker than boxed, which is a different food product. You could substitute boxed coconut milk for canned for a lighter result, but for the whipped topping, the full-fat canned product is a must.
Prep Time: 20 minutes active, 1 hour inactive
- 1 single-crust pie shell, baked
- 1 ⅔ cups (1 can) full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 cup coconut milk solids (Make by refrigerating 1 can of coconut milk; simply discard clear liquid that has separated from solids.)
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
*Alternately, you can purchase nondairy whipped topping if you don’t care to make it yourself.
- ½ cup toasted, shredded coconut
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch so they are free of lumps. Add coconut milk.
2. Turn heat to medium and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.
3. Once boiling, turn heat to med-low and switch to a spatula to scrape whole saucepan; stir frequently to break up clumps. Continue for five minutes, or until thickened into a pudding-like texture.
4. Remove from heat and add untoasted shredded coconut; stir well and allow to cool for 30 minutes before pouring into pie shell, then refrigerate until firm (at least one hour).
5. Make coconut cream by whipping coconut milk solids until fluffy. Once fluffy, add powdered sugar and stir to incorporate.
6. Toast coconut by heating a small pan over medium heat, then add shredded coconut and stir occasionally until golden, about five minutes.
7. Spoon whipped topping over pie, and sprinkle toasted coconut over the top.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
How can such a simple pie taste so glorious? You’ll be blown away that a dish with such quick prep time and so few ingredients result in such a heavenly concoction. It’s like a sliceable peanut butter cup, it takes minimal baking skills, and it’s free of any animal products. We’re not calling it health food, but it’s a protein-packed indulgence that is sure to please any crowd.
Feel free to swap out the graham cracker crust for something more adventurous, such as pretzel or shortbread cookie.
Prep Time: 10 minutes active, 1 hour inactive
- 1 graham cracker pie crust, unbaked
- 1 ¼ cups peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- 2 vegan eggs
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix filling ingredients together then pour into graham cracker crust.
3. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
4. Over low heat, melt chocolate chips with peanut butter, stirring well to combine. Pour mixture over pie and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).
Winter Cherry-Berry Hand Pies
It’s a common misconception that if a fresh fruit isn’t in season, you’ll need to purchase prepared or canned filling for your pie. Frozen fruit retains much more health value and has texture similar to fresh, so we experimented with a range of berry combos before coming up with this one. The result is sweet and vibrant — and no one will guess it wasn’t made with just-picked fruit.
Hand pies are exactly what they sound like: small, free-form pies you eat with your hands. Putting them together is simple, and if you’d like some visual instruction you can check out this blog.
Prep Time: 20 minutes active, 40 minutes inactive
- 4 pie crusts, unbaked (*not in pie plates)
- 2 1/2 cups (1 lb) frozen cherries, thawed
- 2 1/2 cups (1 lb) frozen blueberries, thawed
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest, optional
1. In a large mixing bowl, toss together fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon. Allow to macerate for 45 minutes, then drain any accumulated juices.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Roll out crusts. Using a cookie cutter or other circular blade, cut out 3 or 4-inch-diameter circles. If desired, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out shapes in half of the circles (which will become the top crusts). Place the uncut bottom crusts onto lined cookie sheets.
4. Dollop a spoonful of filling onto the center of each of the bottom crusts, taking care to not add too much; spillage occurs easily!
5. Cover each pie with a top crust, and seal sides with a fork.
6. Bake until golden, about 40 minutes.
No Bake Matcha Grasshopper Pie Jars
Grasshopper pie is a classic dish that’s been largely forgotten since the 1970s. Fortunately, it’s made a comeback in recent years, and this recipe brings it into modern times. In addition to a plant-based makeover, we’ve added matcha green tea powder to give this pie a boost of antioxidants and a unique flavor — the matcha, also serves to give it a green color with no artificial creme de menthe needed.
The original grasshopper pie recipe calls for a filling of marshmallows, liqueurs and whipping cream. We’ve swapped all those ingredients out for a base of cashews, resulting in an equally unctuous, but more healthful filling.
Prep Time: 10 minutes active, 2 hours inactive
- 1 ½ cups ground almonds
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked at least 1 hour (yield approximately 2 ¼ cups soaked)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 2/3 cup nondairy milk
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- 1 small pinch salt
Crust: Mix all ingredients until uniform in texture, then divide equally into mason jars and press down to pack in.
Filling: Blend all ingredients together in a blender on high speed until creamy. Pour equally into mason jars atop crusts and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Food styling by Ariane Resnick, C.N.C.