Yup, you read that right. Crunchy “Nutella” Zucchini Cream Pie Bars. These will remind you of a smooth, luscious chocolate cream pie, but full of wholesome ingredients. We’ve all seen zucchini muffins, zucchini bread, cake, etc. but zucchini cream pie bars is a new one, and you will love it. These are one of my favorite creations, ever. Vegan, gluten-free, raw, dairy-free Nutella bars and all with just 8 easy ingredients, total, including the crust.
So, are you wondering why I came up with these perhaps? Well, my blog is being featured in the online magazine, Vegetarians In Paradise. I honestly was honored to even be asked, as only 11 chefs are featured and most of them are established chefs and/or cookbook authors. The only requirement was that it had to involve zucchini. I didn’t want to do the obvious, savory, and I didn’t want to do what would be expected in a dessert, such as muffins or bread. My first thought was a chocolate pie, but then I thought, pie bars sound a lot better, easier and they turned out more beautiful than I imagined. Seriously, one of my best creations so far. SO creamy and velvety.
If you don’t like zucchini, don’t worry, you cannot see, taste or will even have a clue there is zucchini in these. The key is using a fine grater to get the zucchini in tiny pieces, not shredded pieces.
These have the best of both worlds:
Crunch from all the chopped hazelnuts and a luxuriously, smooth, creamy pie filling from melted chocolate, almond butter, coconut cream and ZUCCHINI!
Tastes like pie, but more rustic and easier to just grab a bar when the craving strikes. You can eat them by hand, or grab a plate and fork and slowly savor each bite.
If you make these, and you should, you know what to do….come back and leave me feedback here and if you are on Instagram, tag me with your photo because I love, love seeing your creations each week! Tag @thevegan8 and use hashtag #thevegan8, to make sure I don’t miss the notification! You can also tag me on Twitter too!
Crunchy “Nutella” Zucchini Cream Pie Bars
Nutella gets a makeover with these crunchy, creamy zucchini bars. These bars have the Nutella flavors of hazlenut in both the crust and filling. The filling will remind you of a smooth chocolate cream pie, but with a textural crunch and flavor of hazelnuts. They will remind you of Nutella, but with much healthier, wholesome ingredients that still taste incredibly rich.
- 1 cup whole almonds (150 g)
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (64 g)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup mini dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips (190 g) (I used mini Enjoy Life brand b/c they melt easy)
- 1/4 cup canned lowfat coconut milk, room temp!
- 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup finely grated, loosely packed zucchini (about 1/2 of a medium zucchini)
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (32 g)
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1. Line a 9X5 loaf pan with plastic wrap (not parchment) with it hanging over the sides for easy removal later. Add the almonds to a food processor and process until a fine flour forms. Add the hazelnuts and pulse again until the mixture resembles almond meal. Add the syrup and vanilla and pulse a few times, just until clumps form. Press the dough into the prepared pan, flat and hard, evenly out to the edges. Really pat down hard and flat. Set aside.
2. Add the chocolate chips to a cereal bowl and melt either over a double boiler or in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted, stirring after each 15-30 seconds. Stir the chocolate until completely smooth and pour into the food processor.
3. Add the coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla and salt and process until completely smooth.
4. Finely grate 1/2 of a zucchini and measure a loosely packed 1/4 cup with the grated zucchini. Grating is different than shredding. Grating is using the smaller holes of a grater to get them into really small pieces, not shreds. Now, place the zucchini between 2 pieces of papertowel and squeeze all the excess water out really, really well. Add it to the food processor and process until it is blended and smooth.
5. Add the 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts and pulse a few times just until blended; you do not want them broken up. Pour the chocolate filling over the crust and smooth out evenly with a small spatula or back of a spoon. Sprinkle extra chopped hazelnuts over the top. Place in the fridge for about 4 hours to firm up. While still in the pan, slice into 8-10 bars, about 1 1/2 inches thick each. Keep stored in the fridge. These will totally hold their shape though for a party at room temperature, they are perfect!
*Raw, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, oil-free
*Nutrition per bar (not including additional garnished chopped hazlenuts on top): 296.8 calories, 22.1 g fat, 19.3 carbs, 6.6 g protein, 15.1 g sugar
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