As someone who enjoys cooking and baking, the holidays are pretty much my favorite time of year. (Bring on the pumpkin, baby!) I've been making a real effort to cut back on excess sugar in my diet, which can be hard right about now. This vegan Maple Pumpkin Parfait is one way to enjoy dessert without feeling guilty, and without too much sugar. It's healthy and tastes fantastic—and what's not to love about these layers of maple-sweetened pumpkin, cashew coconut cream, and a crunchy nut-seed-coconut crumble?
Each layer component is lightly sweetened and flavored; it's hard to decide which is the best one! These come together fairly quickly, but be sure to plan enough time for the cashews to soak overnight and for the parfaits to chill. This would be an excellent addition to a vegan Thanksgiving dinner—or any other holiday—menu.
This post was originally published on October 16, 2014.
For the crunchy layer:
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- ½ cup raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
- Pinch of salt
For the cashew coconut cream layer:
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight and rinsed and drained
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut cream
- 2 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
For the spiced pumpkin layer:
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
Bake the crunchy layer:
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, combine the pecans, pumpkin seeds, coconut, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Spread the mixture in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake until golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes, checking periodically and stirring every so often so the nuts and seeds don't burn. Let cool completely.
Make the cashew coconut cream layer:
- In a blender or food processor, puree the soaked cashews, coconut cream, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and cover. Chill until you're ready to assemble your parfaits.
Make the spiced pumpkin layer:
- In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and ginger. (You can also puree this layer in a blender for a smoother result.) Cover and refrigerate if you're not assembling the parfaits right away.
Assemble the parfaits:
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of the crunchy mix into the bottom of each of four 6-8 ounce dessert glasses or jars. Top with 2 tablespoons of the spiced pumpkin, followed by 2 rounded tablespoons of the cashew coconut cream. Repeat the layers one more time. Sprinkle the tops of each parfait with the remaining crunchy mix. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.