Baking shouldn’t be stressful. For me, it’s a stress-reducer, an opportunity to settle my brain and create something satisfying and tangible. It doesn’t always matter what. Holiday baking, however, tends to send even the calmest of bakers into a tailspin. So, when I committed to transforming that epitome of Thanksgiving tradition — the no-brainer, back-of-the-can recipe for old-fashioned pumpkin pie — into a vegan version, I figured I’d better tackle it a few weeks before the big day. Just in case the tofu version didn’t quite cut the … pumpkin.
The Weekend Vegan Pumpkin Pie Experiment
Side Note. Pumpkin pie? Not a big fan. But my husband is a huge, huge fan. And it is a tradition. So, over the years, in rebellion against my “everything from a convenient box or can” 1970s childhood, I’ve tried several different versions. Most of those experiments led to an emergency run to Costco — because they make a damn fine pumpkin pie. For the past few years, though, I’ve adhered strictly to the pumpkin can recipe. The only upgrade from the ’70s is organic pumpkin puree and freshly whipped cream instead of Cool Whip topping.
But now that my husband is an aspiring vegan, it’s time to test out a new version of pumpkin pie.
But not just any plain pumpkin pie. For this vegan version, I tapped into another family tradition: The maple chai spiced apple cider that fills our crockpot every Thanksgiving.
Maple Chai Flavor Base
At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my sons and I make a delicious chai apple cider based on a Chai Cider Spritzer recipe from Martha Stewart Living. It involves infusing maple syrup with cardamom, star anise, fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, and cloves. Once that’s done, we add the mixture to the Crockpot along with a gallon of fresh apple cider. We make it early in the day and let it simmer away, dipping into it while we prepare the Thanksgiving feast, or play video games.
For this pie recipe, though, the only infusing is done in the food processor, where you blend all the filling ingredients: silken tofu, maple syrup, honey, and lots of spices. This Maple Chai Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe is so easy — and it not only passed my husband’s taste test, it passed mine. Even without the Cool Whip.
Try it out!
This recipe for Maple Chai Vegan Pumpkin pie combines canned pumpkin with silken tofu, lots of spice, and is as easy as it gets.
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust (use your favorite recipe)*
6 oz. silken tofu
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. maple syrup (B grade preferred)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
- Place the unbaked pie shell on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Add the silken tofu to the food processor and process until smooth. (Note, a stand or hand mixer can be used.)
- Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth, stopping to clean the sides.
- Pour into the unbaked pie shell.
- Back for 50 minutes. Rotate. Bake another 20 minutes and test for doneness. A toothpick should come out clean, though the filling will still be quite jiggly.
- Cool completely before serving.
- Top with plant-based whipped topping and a swirl of maple syrup if desired.
*I used a vegan pie crust recipe that used coconut oil, from Food52’s cookbook, “Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Friendly Recipes for Any Kitchen.” A gingersnap crust would also work well with this recipe.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 70 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan pumpkin pie, maple chai pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie, vegan dessert, maple chai spice, pumpkin, tofu
Please note: Nutrition facts and calories per serving are approximate.
© Photos / Health Food Radar
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