Coconut Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars (GF DF)

Looking for a recipe that screams fall and easy to put together? Why not take your ordinary pumpkin pie up a notch by turning it into shortbread cookie bars! I’m trying (hard) to eat gluten free and so I made the shortbread crust with almond flour. The result is amazing! The crust is crunchy, rich, and nutty, perfect to pair with the creamy and subtly sweet pumpkin filling. It’s low carb and packed with healthy proteins and fats so it’s pretty filling so that you wouldn’t over do it!

Canned pumpkin and canned coconut milk are my kitchen pantry staples. Their flavour and texture are very close to their fresh counterparts, without using lots of sugar or salt as preservatives unlike other canned foods. The nutrients are also nicely preserved. Perhaps the best thing is that they can save you tons of prep time! All you have to do is to pop open that can, instead of spending hours to roast pumpkin and puree it. And how do we even make fresh coconut cream at home?

Here’s my recipe modified from King Arther Baking and Minimalist Baker. Recipe makes an 8″ square pan (16 squares).

Almond Flour Shortbread Crust


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil


  1. In a food processor, add all dry ingredients and pulse a few times until ingredients are combined.
  2. Add dairy free butter or coconut oil, pulse until the crumbs are crumbly, about pea size. Alternatively, you could also blend the fats into the dry ingredients by hand.
  3. Press mixture into an 8″ square pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 20 mins. The crust will be soft coming out of the oven and will become crunchy after cool. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Coconut Pumpkin Pie Filling


  • 2 3/4 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup honey, or maple syrup (vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk, full fat
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or sub mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. Place everything in a blender and blend into fully combined and silky.
  2. Pour mixture onto the prepared and cooled crust. Bake at 350°F for 30 mins or until the filling is set (not jiggly). Let cool before cutting into squares. Serve at warm or after refrigerated.
  3. Optional to serve with whipped coconut cream for an extra creaminess!

Benefits of pumpkin/canned pumpkin puree

  • Very high in beta-carotene which is a precursor of vitamin A, which supports healthy vision and fights free radicals (antioxidant property). Just half cup of pumpkin puree provides more than your daily needs of vitamin A!
  • Good source of Vitamin C and K, which support skin and bone health, and the immune system.
  • High in dietary fibre, which helps make you feel full, supports digestive health, fights constipation and helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Source of potassium which supports heart health.

Read more on Dr. Axe’s website (where the info above are cited) and my previous post on the power of yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.

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