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Last week I featured some twists on traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. This week I’ve included some better versions of holiday desserts, and both are dairy- and gluten-free! No added sugar to boot. Enjoy!

Better Pumpkin Pie (vegan, gluten free)
(you can find all these ingredients at Whole Foods)
FILLING
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (you can make it yourself by boiling or baking a pumpkin (sugar pies are the best, don’t use the skin) and then pureeing it) or use canned organic pumpkin.

sugar pie pumpkins are smaller than regular pumpking and have sweeter flesh, making them good for baking


1/3 cup xylitol (natural sweetener. I love xyltiol–it’s made from the birch tree and doesn’t disrupt blood sugar balance or feed bad bacteria in the gut like refined sugar.)
3 Tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
4 teaspoons arrowroot or kudzu root (to thicken)
1/2 cup coconut milk

CRUST:
1 cup ground pecans
1 cup ground rolled oats
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup maple syrup, or soaked & processed dates
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or blender, combine the pumpkin puree, xylitol, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, arrowroot, and coconut milk, in batches if necessary. Process until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Grind pecans and rolled oats in a blender. Mix all other ingredients together and press into a pie pan. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling has firmed up. Sometimes you will see the filling start to form cracks in it, which tells you it is getting firmer. Let cool. Serve with raw cashew cream (google and you get many options for recipes).
I adapted this recipe from nutritionist Darshana Weill.


Apple Tart (vegan, gluten free, no added sugar)

2½ cups walnuts
1½ cups dates
3 green apples, Granny Smith work well
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground clove
2 TBS honey
½ cup apple juice
¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)

Remove pits from dates and chop. Combine walnuts and dates in food processor. Process until well mixed and ground, but not smooth, about 40 seconds. It should be a coarse texture when done. Press evenly into a 9” tart pan. Set in refrigerator while making the filling. Slice apples by cutting into quarters. Cut out core and slice crosswise in ¼ inch thick slices. Place apples in a large skillet with rest of the ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently on medium heat. Remove apples with a slotted spoon from hot pan to a bowl and cool completely. Reduce liquid to about half the volume and cool separately. Spread apples evenly over crust. Brush syrup over apples if desired. Can be served right away or will keep in refrigerator until needed. Keep tart covered in refrigerator. Top with raw whipped cream if desired.