• 8


  • Prep Time 20'

  • Total Time 40'

  • Gluten-free

  • No refined sugar

Pumpkin pie with nopales tigernut granola recipe

  • 8


  • Prep Time 20'

  • Total Time 40'

  • Gluten-free

  • No refined sugar

It isn’t officially autumn until you bring out the pumpkins. I absolutely love the flavour – pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin anything! This is the best time of year, I can finally pull out my sweaters and boots and bundle up. My days usually consist of at least one walk through the colourful leaves and crisp air.

As the weather cools down, I begin to spend more time in the kitchen. I love transitioning from light and refreshing summer dishes to warmer fall recipes. At the farmers’ market this week, I finally started to see some stall holders bringing pumpkins! I see them and I think two things: Jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkin pie!

Some of my favourite childhood memories are around Halloween time. I always had so much fun carving pumpkins, I would try to carve out something very intricate and it never quite turned out. I loved the fresh pumpkin seeds my mum would bake and the pumpkin bread that my neighbour would bring us. I would always count down the days to Halloween because that meant pumpkin pie!

As I walked past the pumpkins, I had to grab a few. I figured I would start perfecting this year’s pumpkin pie a little early. My stomach rumbled as I started thinking of the sweet smell of cinnamon and vanilla combined with the stronger scent of nutmeg.

I always make a traditional pumpkin pie, while it never disappoints, it is time for a change. This year I thought I’d like to try out a new recipe on my friends who are coming over to be cooked for. I want a recipe that’s easy and leaves me plenty of time with my guests. I started thinking about how I could cut time without sacrificing any flavor. I love the no-bake crust of a cheesecake, so I decided I would try to do the same with the pie!

I began experimenting with ingredients that I had on hand. I already had a bag of the Erbology Organic Tigernut Granola with Nopal Cactus in my pantry, I knew this would make a delicious crust! I love this granola and eat it for breakfast and for a snack. It is made with wholesome ingredients, such as tigernuts, sprouted buckwheat, chia seeds and nopal cactus. It is absolutely delightful!

I went with a basic sautéed filling, keeping it simple! It is just mashed pumpkin with coconut milk blended with coconut oil and then well spiced. The little secret here is the chickpea flour, which works as a thickening agent – this way I can skip the baking part and have it ready in no time!

The crust turned out amazing, the nopal cactus granola couldn’t have been more perfect. It has subtle hints of cinnamon, apples, cardamom, and ginger. When packed together, the crust becomes a bit crunchy and is a perfect contrast to the soft pumpkin filling. I cannot get over how simple this was to make, I could eat this crust with all my favourite tarts, cheesecakes and pies! The best part is that the crust is raw, vegan, activated and gluten-free. It has all the flavors we love about fall with nothing nasty!

I cannot wait to show my friends this delicious recipe. In fact, I’ll probably make a few before that time, too! This indulgent pie is nourishing to your body and is so delicious!

The benefits of tigernuts

Based on the name you are probably thinking these are nuts and you wouldn’t be alone. To clear things up, tigernuts are neither a nut nor a grain. They are a sweet vegetable root from the tuber of its larger plant, the Cyperus esculentus. Tigernuts are packed with fibre, iron and magnesium. They also have prebiotic properties and are considered to be a high-antioxidant food.

You can knock out almost half of your daily fibre requirement in just one 30-gram serving of tigernuts. With 10 grams of fibre per serving, tigernuts surpass both quinoa and chia seeds (1). Fibre is the part of carbohydrates that is not absorbed by our digestive system. Instead, it passes through it and collects toxins, waste, fat and cholesterol particles to eliminate from your body. The fibre content in tigernuts helps with healthy weight maintenance since it makes you feel fuller longer and supports a healthy digestive system.

Tigernuts are a great prebiotic. It is important to first make the distinction between prebiotics and probiotics. Both crucial for our overall health, probiotics are beneficial bacteria for our bodies, while prebiotics are fibre that feeds the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

Prebiotics can be found in many vegetables, fruits and legumes. As humans, we do not digest this fibre, but our gut bacteria do. The good gut bacteria take this prebiotic fiber and turn it into a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Studied for its anti-inflammatory effects inside the colon, butyrate is essential for gut health. The good bacteria inside our digestive system also help with a variety of biological tasks and provides important nutrition to the cells lining your digestive tract (2).

Tigernuts are a great way to incorporate more iron into your diet. A 30-gram serving provides about 10% of the daily recommended iron intake (1). We use iron to build hemoglobin, the compound that helps to deliver oxygen to our red blood cells.

Tigernuts are one of the best natural sources of magnesium available to us today. A serving of tigernuts counts for 7% of our daily recommended magnesium value (1). Magnesium is a micronutrient that our body needs in order to produce energy and new protein, replicate DNA and signal between cells.

Tigernuts also have important antioxidant properties that help to prevent the harmful effects of free radicals in our bodies. Being a source of both vitamin E and oleic acid, tigernuts can neutralize potentially harmful free radicals.

Why we sprout buckwheat.

Buckwheat, which is actually not a wheat but a seed, has been a staple in the Asian diet for centuries. The buckwheat seed, or “groat” has recently been gaining popularity across Europe, US, and Canada. Naturally gluten-free, buckwheat is a great nutritious, low-calorie alternative for people who are sensitive to gluten or have the coeliac disease.

Sprouting allows our bodies to more easily digest the buckwheat and unlock more of its nutrients. Through sprouting, buckwheat reduces its content of phytates, which helps the body to absorb more minerals. Phytates, or phytic acid, are natural compounds that bind to minerals such as iron, zinc or manganese and slow their absorption (3).

Sprouted buckwheat allows you to get more nutrients, one of them being co-enzyme Q10. Co-enzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. It is made by our bodies and stored in the mitochondria of our cells. The mitochondria are responsible for producing energy and protecting cells from oxidative damage and disease-causing bacteria or viruses. We find the highest concentration of CoQ10 in our vital organs (4).

CoQ10 is involved in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-carrying molecule found in the cells of all living things. ATP acts as a vehicle. It captures chemical energy obtained from the breakdown of food molecules and releases it to fuel other cellular processes. We use three categories when it comes to the way our cells use chemical energy: first, to drive metabolic reactions that would not occur automatically; second, to transport needed substances across membranes; or third, mechanical work such as muscle movements. ATP is not a storage molecule for chemical energy, but the mechanism we rely on for delivering energy to places within the cell where energy-consuming activities are taking place (5). We must replenish our CoQ10 supply especially as we get older. Natural production tends to decrease with age.

The buckwheat seed boasts roughly 11 to 14 grams of protein for every 100 grams (1). Not the highest of all plant-based protein sources, but quality is equally as important. Buckwheat provides two essential amino acids: lysine and arginine. These are important because our body can’t produce them on its own, so buckwheat helps you cover the full range of essential amino acids.

A 100g serving of buckwheat accounts for 40% of your daily recommended value of fibre (1). The fiber in buckwheat is mostly composed of cellulose and lignin, which is concentrated in the husk of the seed. In the husk you will also find resistant starch, which is categorised as a fibre due to its “resistant” properties. This resistant fibre gets fermented by the beneficial bacteria in our gut as it moves down the digestive tract. It is linked to processes such as butyrate production and has been shown to reduce spikes in blood sugar (6).

Buckwheat is richer in minerals than many other pseudo cereals and cereals. It is especially high in magnesium. 100 grams of cooked buckwheat, or groats, contain about 230 mg of magnesium or more than half of our daily recommended value (1). Studies have shown that higher intake of magnesium can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially in overweight women (7).

Magnesium plays an important role in our cardiovascular health. It relaxes blood vessels, improves blood flow and nutrient delivery, and lowers blood pressure. Higher magnesium intake has also been linked to improved glucose and insulin homeostasis, helping to balance our blood sugar levels (8).

Glucose is an essential substance in our body, it acts as the primary source of energy for all biological functions. Blood glucose levels are not static and ideal ranges vary by person and timing of meals. When our blood sugar is too high, we may experience thirst, blurry vision or feelings of faintness. When too low, also referred to as hypoglycemia, we may experience clumsiness and loss of consciousness. Homeostasis keeps these levels within the appropriate range for our body so that we do not experience the negative symptoms of having too high or too low blood sugar (9).

A 100g serving of buckwheat contains about 3.7mg or a fifth of the recommended daily value of iron (1). Especially when it comes to a plant-based diet, it is important to focus on iron and how you are absorbing it. We previously mentioned that sprouting is a method to reduce phytic acids, a common inhibitor of iron absorption. Iron is essential to red blood cells transporting oxygen and nutrients to every cell in our body. While the mineral is found all around us, it also happens to be one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Symptoms of an iron deficiency include fatigue, pale skin, weakness and inability to maintain body temperature.

Recently in the U.S., the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) gave new recommendations for iron, the DRI for vegetarians are actually 1.8 times higher than the general population (10). This is because the iron in plant foods is not as easily absorbed as the iron in animal products. There are two types of iron; heme, which is found in animal foods, and non-heme, which comes from plants. Heme iron is better absorbed than non-heme iron. If you partake in a plant-based diet, there are plenty of quality iron sources, try eating more legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.

This same serving of buckwheat provides around 10% of our daily recommended value of vitamin B-6 (1). The body uses vitamin B-6 every day to move, think, expend energy and keep our blood flowing. For example, vitamin B-6 helps with the production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body, giving us energy and balancing our blood sugar levels.

Why is nopal cactus so good for you?

The nopal cactus is commonly known as the prickly pear. It is slightly fruity and packed with fibre, calcium, magnesium, and flavonoids that help fight oxidative stress.

100 grams of nopales satisfy about 8% of our daily recommended fibre consumption (1). Essential for our digestion, bowel movements, and cholesterol reduction.

Nopales are rich in minerals. They boast 16% of our daily recommended calcium intake and 12% magnesium (1). Calcium is absolutely necessary for strong bones and blood clotting. We need our blood to clot in order to prevent excessive bleeding if a blood vessel is injured. Almost all of the calcium in our bodies can be found in our bones and teeth. We use up calcium by sweating, urinating, and eliminating, and must replenish this source since our bodies don’t produce it. Magnesium is a “calming” mineral, useful for inducing sleep and reducing anxiety. Magnesium helps with protein absorption, healthy bones and immune system.

Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients found in most fruits and vegetables. They are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Usually, we can attribute a fruit or vegetable colour to the flavonoids and carotenoids. They have been studied to protect against allergies, free radicals, toxins that damage the liver, microbes, tumours, ulcers, and viruses (11).

Written By: Danielle Bear


(1) “Daily Value Reference of the Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD).” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/dailyvalue.jsp.

(2) Fallon, Sally, and Mary G. Enig. “Be Kind to Your Grains … And Your Grains Will Be Kind To You.” The Weston A. Price Foundation, 1 Jan. 2000, www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/food-features/be-kind-to-your-grains-and-your-grains-will-be-kind-to-you/.

(3) Wolfram, Taylor. “Prebiotics and Probiotics Creating a Healthier You.” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., 27 Feb. 2018, www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-creating-a-healthier-you.

(4) Garrido-Maraver, J, et al. “Coenzyme q10 Therapy.” Molecular Syndromology., U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25126052.

(5) “Adenosine Triphosphate.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/science/adenosine-triphosphate.

(6) Skrabanja, Vida, and Ivan Kreft. “Resistant Starch Formation Following Autoclaving of Buckwheat (Fagopyrum Esculentum Moench) Groats. An In Vitro Study.” ACS Publications, 7 Apr. 1998, pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf970756q?journalCode=jafcau.

(7) Song, Y, et al. “Dietary Magnesium Intake in Relation to Plasma Insulin Levels and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women.” Diabetes Care., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2004, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14693967.

(8) Plum, Leona, et al. “Central Insulin Action in Energy and Glucose Homeostasis.” Journal of Clinical Investigation, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 3 July 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1483153/.

(9) Huizen, Jennifer. “Blood Sugar Chart: Target Levels throughout the Day.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 20 May 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317536.php

(10) “Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/#h2.

(11) Panche, A. N., et al. “Flavonoids: an Overview.” Journal of Nutritional Science, Cambridge University Press, 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465813/.


The crust:
The filling:
  • 1 medium-sized pumpkin (4 cups cooked pumpkin)
  • 1 star anise
  • ¾ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4-5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cloves
  • ½ tsp coconut oil for cooking

Here's how you make it

  1. You will only need to use ¼ of your pumpkin. Peel and cut the pumpkin into small cubes and boil in slightly salty water with star anise until it softens.
  2. In the meantime, make the crust. Add Erbology Organic Tigernut Granola with Nopal Cactus to a food processor, pulsing a few times until pieces are smaller.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until the mixture starts to come together.
  4. You can use a square or rectangular pie pan for this dish (I used a 4 x 11 inch pan).
  5. Pour the mixture into the tray and press it down using your hands, it should easily stick together.
  6. Take the pumpkin out and strain.
  7. Heat a pan and add the coconut oil.
  8. Add the pumpkin cubes to heated pan and mash with a spatula while it’s cooking. Add in ½ cup coconut milk, leaving ¼ for the rest of the mixture.
  9. In a separate bowl, mix the chickpea flour with the coconut milk.
  10. Add your flour mix and the remaining ingredients to the pumpkin puree. Whisk well and give it a boil.
  11. Take off the heat and leave to cool a bit.
  12. Pour the pumpkin puree into the crust and let it cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
  13. It is ready to slice and serve, Enjoy!


  • Buckwheat
  • Fiber
  • Gluten-free
  • Nopal cactus
  • Protein
  • Tigernut

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