I love pumpkin pie. Seriously. At our house, it’s not just for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have it all winter long. We have it for dessert. We have it for breakfast.

It’s a healthy breakfast, as far as I’m concerned. Much healthier than a bowl of cereal. And it’s a healthy dessert. In fact, a slice of pumpkin pie counts as a serving of vegetables. So if you’re trying to get one of your kids to eat more vegetables, just serve them pumpkin pie.

It works at our house. My youngest still isn’t much for vegetables. But she’s never turned down pumpkin pie.

But ever since I started my anti-inflammatory diet, I’ve struggled to come up with a pumpkin pie recipe that works with the diet. I mean, I’ve come up with recipes that work with the diet, and that were rich and delicious. But the dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free pumpkin pie looked weird, and it didn’t taste like the traditional pumpkin pie. Nobody but me would eat it.

So I kept trying. And I now have a winner. It doesn’t fit my diet exactly, but it’s close.

It doesn’t use sweetened condensed milk. Instead, my new, almost traditional pumpkin pie recipe uses coconut milk and just a third of a cup of sugar. (Did you know that a can of sweetened condensed milk has a cup of sugar? Wow!)

You can use a refrigerated pie crust if gluten isn’t a problem for you. Or you can make a homemade crust, using ingredients that are safe for you. I’ve included a recipe for a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free crust, if that’s what you need. (The pie in the photo was made with a refrigerated pie crust.)

(Almost) traditional pumpkin pie recipe


1 homemade or refrigerated pie crust
1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 15-ounce can pureed pumpkin
½ Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten


Make your crust. (Scroll down for a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free crust recipe.) If you’re using a refrigerated crust, set it on the counter to warm to room temperature, then unroll it and fit it in a 9-inch metal pie tin. Crimp the edges.

Pour a can of coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down so that the coconut milk is at a low simmer. Stir occasionally. When the coconut milk has been reduced to 1 1/3 cup, take it off the burner and let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a large bowl, stir the spices into the pumpkin.

Add the coconut milk mixture and the eggs, and whisk until well combined.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie shell.

Carefully move the pie to the oven. Put a pie crust shield over the pie to keep the crust from scorching.

Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for another hour to an hour and a quarter.

When the pie is done, the filling won’t jiggle when you give it a bit of a shake. If it’s not done, set the timer for another 10 minutes and check again.

Cool the pie on a rack. When it’s completely cool, serve with a dollop of coconut whipped cream or sweetened cashew cream. Or several dollops. It’s up to you.

Gluten-free date-sweetened pie crust

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. It’s perfect for an anti-inflammatory diet. And, while it’s not a flaky pastry crust, it’s good. Really, really good. And it is amazingly delicious with pumpkin pie.


1-1/4 cups pecans
1/4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put all the crust ingredients in a food processor and process until you get a fine crumble that will stick together. If it’s too dry, add another date, or two. But don’t put in too many, or the crust will be wet and mushy.

Scrape the crust mixture into a 9-inch pie shell. Dampen your fingers a bit so the crust mixture doesn’t stick to them, and press the crust evenly into the pan.

Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, to dry it out just a bit. Remove it from the oven and set it on a rack to cool while you finish make the filling.

Read More

Cookies and desserts for special diets and special occasions: It can be hard to find celebratory foods that work with restricted diets. These delicious recipes might help.

Fasting on Thanksgiving: Sometimes, the Orthodox calendar doesn’t fit well with what the rest of the world is doing. It can be a struggle. Here’s how our family handles new calendar Thanksgiving.

Let ALL the children come to me, including those who need gluten-free food: Victoria Marckx shares why it’s important for parishes to accommodate special diets, and how her parish does it.

Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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