Pumpkin Cocoa Cashew Butter Bars

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For those of us that grew up on the West Coast these are basically Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars. For everyone else, they are decadent, almost raw and insanely good. The chilling steps are crucial. Be patient, they’re well worth it!


Layer 1 (base)

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup almonds (raw or roasted without salt)

Layer 2 (middle)

½ cup canned pumpkin

½ cup cashew or almond butter

1/3 cup – ½ cup coconut oil

½ cup dates

Layer 3 (top)

1/3 -½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup agave syrup

4 Tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional, but adds a nice chunky texture to the top layer)


Begin the first layer by grinding up almonds in your food processor. Add one third of the dates, and pulse to combine with almonds. Continue with second portion, until no dates remain. This will make for smoother integration between the two ingredients, and make things easier on your processor.

Press mixture into a pan that has been lined with wax paper. We used a vertical loaf pan because the edges were straight up and down. This helps to maintain the shape and clean corners for the bars.

Let the almond/date mixture set in the fridge for minimum 15 minutes.

For layer 2, combine the first set of ingredients: pumpkin/almond butter and coconut oil. (Note: The coconut oil will give a strong flavour so use more or less based on preference and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.) Once mixed, gradually add in dates as outlined in step 1.theveganproject.com 50

Using a spatula, spread the pumpkin mixture over the base layer so it’s level throughout. Let this layer sit for minimum 1 hour. You can move on to the next layer if you wish, but allowing ample time for each layer to set gives you the definition between the layers that makes the bars so beautiful!

For layer 3, combine coconut oil, agave, and cacao first. Add chocolate chips last. The final texture of this will be chunky due to the chocolate chips, and that is intended.

Pour layer 3 on top of the pumpkin mixture, and smooth with your spatula to ensure even distribution.

Optional: you can garnish the top with a sprinkling of additional cacao or place whole almonds across the pan so each piece has a whole almond pressed into the centre!

Let the entire dessert sit for two hours (minimum) so it can set completely. This dish serves best straight from the fridge, so keep cool and refrigerated as long as possible before serving. Cut into pieces, and enjoy!


You can find more incredible plant-based holiday recipes in our eBook – What To Feed That Effing Vegan: The Holiday Edition! Most popular recipes include: Sweet n’ Sour Bean Balls, Gluten Free polenta Stuffing, Christmas Morning Quiche, and a Festive Lentil Loaf that will have you and and your family not missing the meat AT ALL!

You can check it out here: https://gumroad.com/l/thateffingvegan_holiday


– The Vegan Project


– @zoemarg//  @theveganproject


  1. When it says “Add chocolate chips last” – how much?? They are not listed in the ingredients list. I was confused for this step in the e-book as well.

    • Hey, sorry about that! It’s an optional step to add 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the top layer (makes them not raw). I updated the post!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂



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