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I am incredibly proud of this super easy, no-bake, vegan, and gluten free key lime pie recipe. It is perfect for so many diets and is a much healthier version of traditional key lime pie without sacrificing any of the flavors! This vegan and gluten free key lime pie requires no baking and can even be made without sugar. The taste is the perfect combination of sweet and tart with a smooth and soft texture.
When I graduated high school my parents moved to Florida and had the most amazing house full of fruit trees and key limes. Fresh key lime pie was my dad’s favorite dessert to make, but now that he is older, it is important for him to stick to a diet with less sugar. I created this recipe so my dad could still enjoy a delicious, but healthier version of traditional key lime pie.
- What is the difference between Key Limes and Persian Limes
- How do you make Vegan Key Lime Pie?
- How to Soak Cashews
- How do you make Gluten Free Key Lime Pie Crust?
- Can Key Lime Pie be sugar free and diabetic friendly?
- Easy Substitutions and Alternatives
- Instructions for making this Vegan Gluten Free Key Lime Pie
- Storage Suggestions
- Enjoy More Gluten Free & Vegan Desserts
One thing I especially love about this recipe is how uncomplicated it is and the additional flavor which reminds me of the tropics. Unlike many other recipes I’ve seen, we do not use condensed vegan milk or silken tofu. It’s not needed. The addition of coconut milk, shredded coconut, and cashews give this Key Lime Pie tropical notes which make this pie taste even better.
What is the difference between Key Limes and Persian Limes
If you are wondering the difference between Key Limes and the more common Persian Limes found in most grocery stores, it comes down to tartness, aroma, and bitterness. I find the Persian Limes to be much more tart and have a slight bitterness to them. Key limes on the other hand are less tart, bitter, and acidic. They also have more of a floral note and aroma.
Using Key Limes will result in a smoother taste that is less tart and a bit more balanced. You also do not need to use as much sugar when using Key Limes. Persian Limes can be used if you can not find Key Limes but you’ll notice that the flavor is sharper and you may need more sugar to balance the tartness.
The only downfall to using Key Limes is you need more than twice as many and they can sometimes be harder to find depending on where you’re located. This also makes them more expensive.
How do you make Vegan Key Lime Pie?
To make this recipe vegan friendly, we have to take out the egg yolks which is what typically gives key lime pie is creamy and custard-like texture. The use of eggs also allows the key lime pie to keep its shape. Instead of using eggs, we are utilizing the amazing benefits of cashews.
Cashews have become one of my favorite ingredients for their amazing ability to give vegan desserts a creamy custard-like texture. They work perfectly in no-bake recipes and allow the dessert to hold its shape once chilled. It also provides a wonderfully creamy texture and light nutty flavor. If you’re vegan, cashews are also a great source of obtaining extra protein.
How to Soak Cashews
Soaking your cashews is an important part of creating this vegan gluten free key lime pie. There is a quick method and a slow method, but the trick is to have them nice and soft when you blend them. This will ensure your key lime pie results in a smooth creamy texture.
The long way to soak cashews is to pour your raw cashews into a container with water and soak overnight. The quickest way is to boil your cashews with water for about 15 minutes. There are many vegan and healthier recipes that use cashew cream, so you can also make this in advance and freeze it.
How do you make Gluten Free Key Lime Pie Crust?
To make this a gluten free key lime pie, we had to modify the traditional use of graham cracker crust. I also wanted to make this crust healthier but with great flavor and texture. Instead of using graham crackers, I’ve created an amazing crust using almonds, shredded coconut, and dates.
Dates are such a wonderful ingredient because they add a natural sweetness and also help hold all the ingredients together so there is no need to bake the crust. You’ll find dates used in many of my recipes to add natural sweetness without the sugar such as my awesome Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies.
Another alternative is to simply use gluten free pie crust you find at the store. While it won’t be as healthy as our version, it will still do the trick if you’re short on time.
Can Key Lime Pie be sugar free and diabetic friendly?
Our vegan and gluten free key lime pie can be made with no added sugar by using liquid stevia. The only sugar in this recipe is from the use of dates in the crust. When using sugar substitutes, I’ve found the best way to completely avoid any type of aftertaste is by combining it with naturally sweet ingredients such as dates and fruits. The results are pretty amazing and I’ve perfected this in such a way that no one ever realizes I didn’t use sugar in the recipe.
Easy Substitutions and Alternatives
- Sugar: You can use 1/3 cup powdered sugar instead of liquid stevia. Be sure to add small amounts at a time and give it a taste so you can adjust to your own preferred sweetness. With key lime pie, you want there to be enough sweetness to balance the tart, but you never want it to be overly sweet.
- Limes: Using regular limes instead of key limes is ok. Most people will not notice the difference. It will produce a more sharp, tart pie so you may need to use more sugar or stevia.
- Crust: Instead of making our no-bake crust, you could also purchase a gluten free crust to use. If you are not concerned about gluten free, you can also use a regular pre-made graham cracker crust
- Nuts: If you do n to want to use almonds in the crust you can also substitute walnuts or pecans.
- Filling: Don’t even bother! Trust me when I say to skip all the complicated variations that use ingredients like silk tofu and condensed vegan milk. The use of soaked cashews and coconut milk is a game changer and creates the most delicious Vegan Key Lime Pie with hints of the tropics.
Instructions for making this Vegan Gluten Free Key Lime Pie
Soak Cashews & Dates
First, you need to either soak your raw cashews overnight or boil them for 30 minutes until they are nice and soft. Then you also want to make sure your dates are soft and sticky which may require soaking them for 20 minutes in warm water. You’ll want to strain the liquid in both your cashews and dates.
Making the Crust
To make the crust you will start by adding the almonds into a food processor and pulsing until they form a ground consistency. Then add the soft sticky dates (drain the water if they were soaked) and shredded coconut. Continue pulsing until it forms a ground but sticky consistency.
Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper and pour the crust into the pan packing it down into a thin layer at the bottom of the pan.
Making the filling
To make the filling, place the soaked and drained cashews, lime juice, liquid stevia, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and canned coconut milk in a food processor or blender and pulse until completely smooth. When measuring the canned coconut milk, first add all the fat from the top, then add the liquid (do not the can).
Pour the filling over the crust, extending it evenly. Then, refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until completely set. This process can be sped up by placing the dessert in the freezer for one hour and then moving it to the fridge to set.
Slice & Garnish
When your key lime pie has chilled and set, remove it from the refrigerator. Then grab the sides of your parchment paper and remove the pie completely from the pan. Cut into 9 equal square slices. You can garnish each slice with edible flowers, a small lime wedge, fresh fruit, a sprinkle of shredded coconut, or a few chopped nuts like pecans or macadamia.
Any slices that won’t be enjoyed within 30 minutes should go into an air-tight container and place into the refrigerator. The more chilled the pie, the more solid the filling will be. This gf vegan key lime pie is also amazing because it freezes incredibly well. Just place in a freezer-friendly container and then thaw for a few hours in the fridge before serving.
Enjoy More Gluten Free & Vegan Desserts
No-Bake Vegan & Gluten Free Key Lime Pie
- 1 8" baking dish
- ½ cup dates pitted
- 1 cup almonds
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 4 tbsp lime juice fresh
- 1 cup coconut milk canned (mostly solids)
- 2 tsp liquid stevia or 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked overnight
- First soak cashews overnight and soak pitted dates if they are not moist and stick for 30 minutes in warm water.1/2 cup dates, 2 cups raw cashews
- Place almonds in a blender or food processor and pulse until a ground consistency. Then add dates (drained) and shredded coconut. Continue pulsing until the crust is grainy but sticky.1/2 cup dates, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup almonds
- Line an 8’’ square pan with parchment paper and transfer the crust mixture into the pan. Then press it down to cover the bottom of the pan evenly.
- To make the filling, place the soaked and drained cashews, lime juice, liquid stevia, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and canned coconut milk in a food processor or blender. Pulse on high until completely smooth.4 tbsp lime juice, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 tsp liquid stevia, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 2 cups raw cashews
- Pour the filling over the crust and spread it evenly with a spatula. Then, refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours or until completely set. This process can be sped up by placing the dessert in the freezer for one hour and then moving it to the fridge to set.
Slice & Garnish
- Finally, once set, remove the pie from the pan by lifting up the parchment paper. Then cut into 9 square slices. Garnish with slices of key lime, berries, edible flowers, shredded coconut or crushed nuts.
- If your dates are dry, make sure to soak them in warm water for 30 minutes. Then Drain them before adding them to the food processor.
- cashews can be soaked overnight or boiled for 30 minutes. Make sure to drain water before using them.
- Uneaten pie slices can be saved in the freezer and take out for a few hours to defrost
- you can replace liquid stevia with powdered monk fruit or powdered sugar
- Almonds can be replaced with pecans or walnuts
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