Chef Fran Costigan

More Vegan Desserts for Thanksgiving

If you’re still in need of vegan desserts for Thanksgiving tomorrow, don’t fear – I have some last minute vegan Thanksgiving dessert ideas for you. If you have time to bake, choose one of three recipes: 2 pies and 1 very quick and simple cake that can easily be made today and served tomorrow. Don’t worry though, if you don’t have the time or space in the oven, I’ve got you covered too. Make the no sugar, no oil, gluten free Fruit Soup and Salad with Cream, or the 1-minute Chocolate Ice Cream Shell to pour over store bought vegan ice cream. (You can dip a vegan candy corn ice cream pop into the shell too)

Happy holidays dear friends to you and your families and friends. In this time of so much violence and troubles in the world, I am grateful to be celebrating a compassionate holiday with friends and family. I wish you peace and love.

Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake

Chocolate Cranberry Coffee Cake  from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan. Photo ©Kate Lewis

Photo ©Kate Lewis


So Delicious Dairy-Free Frozen Desserts with Chocolate Shell, or So Delicious Dairy-Free Candy Corn Bars.

Chocolate Ice Cream Shell from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan. Photo ©Kate Lewis

Photo ©Kate Lewis


Fruit Soup with Fresh Fruit Salad and Cream

Fruit Soup


Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding with Sliced Bananas and a good Chocolate Drizzle.

Banana Cream Puddign


Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans



Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan. Photo ©Kate Lewis

Photo ©Kate Lewis


What desserts will you be serving your guests this Thanksgiving?



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Updated Thanksgiving Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans

Thanksgiving Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans from Fran Costigan

My favorite pumpkin pie recipe was published in More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally in 2006. It is still a keeper but over time, I tweaked it some. This is the first time I am sharing the updated recipe. It’s even better!!

Here is a vegan pumpkin pie with a difference—both dense and creamy, and spiced just right,  although it is made without cream or eggs.

Game Plan:

Remember that the pie needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least five hours, before serving, and overnight is fine, so plan ahead.  Allow the pie to return to room temperature before serving.

Do not place the nuts on the filling until shortly before you are ready to serve– or the sugars will ‘leak’ and get the surface of the pie wet. Its cosmetic only, but let’s serve pretty pie.

About the candied pecans. I can vouch for the fact that you’d best make a double batch of nuts or there will be none left for the pie–they are that good. Use the nut recipe to make spicy nuts, as my son did one year. Mix ancho chili powder to taste into the syrups.

Updated Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans

Yield: one 9-inch pie (8 to 10 servings)



  • 1 12.5 ounce aseptic box of firm silken tofu (Mori Nu or Morenga)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree or 1 (15-ounce) can organic pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup dark whole cane sugar (Sucanat or coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, grade B or dark amber, divided
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Candied Pecans

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, grade B or dark amber
  • 2 teaspoons molasses, barley malt or coconut nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons dark whole cane sugar (Sucanat) or coconut sugar


  1. Position a rack in the lowest section of the oven and another rack in the middle, and preheat to 375 degrees.
  2. To make the filling, tip the water our of the box of tofu. Add the tofu and pumpkin to a food processor and process until creamy.
  3. Clean the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula, and add the sugar, spices, salt, 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and the vanilla. Process a minute until thoroughly mixed..
  4. Combine the arrowroot and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until the arrowroot is dissolved. Add to pumpkin mixture and process about a minute.
  5. Bake the pie: Remove the pie dough (fitted into the pan)  from the refrigerator and place the pie pan on a sheet pan. Pour the filling into the crust.
  6.  Bake on the lower rack for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Move the pie to the upper rack and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling looks darker and has a sheen. The filling will have cracked and the center will jiggle when the pie is moved. A knife inserted into a crack near the center will come out almost clean and feel hot.The filling will firm as the pie cools.
  7. Cool the pie to room temperature on a footed wire rack. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours.

Make the Candied Nuts

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the maple syrup and molasses in a medium bowl. Add the pecans and toss until well coated. Spread the pecans on the prepared sheet in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the dark whole cane or coconut sugar. Bake 4 minutes and stir. Bake 3 or 4 minutes longer, until the sugar is melted and bubbling. an
  4. Set the baking sheet on a rack and allow the nuts to cool to room temperature. Store the nuts until they are needed for the pie, in a tightly covered container, at room temperature. They can be make 2 to 3 days ahead.

Assemble and Serve: Remove the pie from the refrigerator a hour ahead of serving to allow it to return to room temperature. When you are ready to serve the pie, or up to 15 minutes before serving, place the nuts decoratively on topts., as many or as few as you like. Or serve the pie without nuts and pass a bowl of nu


Pie recipe adapted from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, © 2006 by Fran Costigan.

Pie crust from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan, ©2013



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Snackworthy Cereal Bars from DIY Vegan by Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman

DIY Vegan by Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman

Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman are seasoned cooks and long-time vegans from Toronto who know how hard it is to it to avoid excess salt and sugar as well as additives and animal-based by-products in commercially prepared foods. I am in love with their new cookbook DIY Vegan. Full disclosure—I adore these two women. I first met Lisa many years ago at NAVS Summerfest, and was drawn to her glowing good looks, huge smile and vitality. We became fast friends. I got to spend a week with Lisa when she attended my Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®. Sometime after that, Lisa’s friend Nicole Axworthy took “Boot” as well, and I saw the same  enthusiasm, talent with food, and glowing good looks. Lisa holds a raw chef certificate from the Matthew Kenney Academy, while Nicole holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T.Colin Campbell Foundation. And, as you read earlier, these women hold a certificate from the Costigan Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®.

In their brand-new book, DIY Vegan: More Than 100 Easy Recipes to Create an Awesome Plant-Based Pantry, Lisa and Nicole show readers how easy it is to make their own vegan pantry staples at home. Using only easy-to-find whole food ingredients that enhance flavors and nutrition, they’ve given us 1oo recipes to stock our pantries, refrigerators and freezers. You’ll find easy to make vegan milks, ice creams and butters from a variety of nuts and seeds, home-ground flours, fantastic sauces and even a vegan pop tart! DIY Vegan includes an array of make-them-yourself cheeses, some quick and some artisian. There’s even a recipe for that beloved orange cheese sauce that beats everyone’s favorite boxed mac and cheese!  All of the recipes are vegan and have gluten-free options, and some are Lisa and Nicole’s raw food favorites.

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or someone just wanting to kick the packaged-food habit, DIY Vegan by Nicole and Lisa will show you how to create an awesome, more compassionate kitchen powered by a pantry filled with healthy, homemade, plant-based staples.

I was wondering which of the recipes to make first. There were many that called out to me, but my time was limited the day the book arrived, so I choose the Snackworthy Cereal Bars. All the ingredients were in my pantry, but as Lisa and Nicole point out, the nuts and seeds can be swapped for other kinds. Instead of the puffed rice cereal specified in the recipe, I used puffed kamut cereal and it worked just fine. After the bars were cold, I cut smaller squares instead, for myself. Good thing I did—these chewy crunchy bars are irresistible. The coconut sugar adds lovely caramel undertones. and the bars are nice and chewy. I’ve got mine in a container in the refrigerator, since I rather like them on the cold side. Nicole took the appealing photos that grace the book. Don’t you just want one now?

Snackworthy Cereal Bars DIY Vegan by Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman

Snackworthy Cereal Bars

Makes 10 to 12 bars

We packed these easy snack bars with some of our favorite ingredients, but really, this is a pretty customizable recipe—swap out the nuts, seeds, or dried fruit and you have a whole new bar. Tuck one or two in your purse or travel bag for an easy snack when on the go. Or hey, since there are oats and cereal in there, why not bite into one for breakfast?


  • 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup raw hemp hearts
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup brown rice syrup
  • 3½ tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the puffed rice cereal, oats, pecans, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to coat. Press into the pre-pared pan, using a spatula to press down and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.

TRY THIS: For a nut-free version, replace the pecans with ½ cup raw sunflower seeds.

Reprinted from DIY Vegan. Copyright © 2015 Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin. Photo by  Nicole Axworthy.

I have a copy of DIY Vegan for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. US and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight on November 17th. good luck!


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Authors Nicole and Lisa want to share two of their most-loved kitchen appliances with you! Use the box below to enter to win a Blendtec blender or Breville food processor. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents* only and will run until 12:00 a.m. EST on December 9, 2015. One US and one Canadian winner will be chosen. Good luck!  



Prize One: Blendtec Designer 725 Series Blender ($650 value) is a sleek, top-of-the-line kitchen appliance that will meet all your blending needs! Features SmartBlend technology, multi-speed pulse, and a 100-speed touch slider for precision control. *Shipping qualification apply. One US resident will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.  


Breville Sous Chef 12 Plus

Prize Two: Breville Sous Chef 12 Plus Food Processor ($500 value) boasts power and versatility in a more compact size! This 12-cup food processor comes fully equipped with an additional accessory kit to simplify a wide range of kitchen tasks. *Shipping qualifications apply. One Canadian resident will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.


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