Pies are a recipes that make great desserts all year round, but spring and summer are particularly fabulous times to enjoy them since most pies enjoyed in the warmer months require absolutely no baking whatsoever. Pies can be made either no-bake or 100 percent raw, and many are also fast and easy to make without hardly any prep time. But instead of those pies made with traditional whipped cream and store-bought pie crusts, why not keep things delicious but make them healthier and plant-based too? Most whipped creams and pudding-based pies that are enjoyed in the warmer months are filled with nasty sugars, additives, and excess oils and starches you don’t even need.

Give these different creamy ingredients a try in your next pie recipe instead of whipped cream, store-bought pudding mixes, or cream-based frostings. These aren’t just healthier for you, but also 100 percent animal product free too!

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1. Whipped Bananas

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Banana pudding isn’t the only way to enjoy these fruits in a cool dessert. Put some ripe bananas in your blender with a splash of non-dairy milk, give them a good blend to whip them into pudding and use this as a base for a pie. When blended, they become whipped, creamy, and oh so light! You can flavor the filling with vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or even strawberries (use frozen for a colder texture), or even blueberry, coconut, etc. Just blend in a little of whatever flavoring you want to your pie and adjust the amounts depending on the strength you desire. Essentially, it’s like making banana ice cream, except you can use this as the creamy base for a pie. Bananas’ starchy nature helps them hold up well in recipes. For one standard size pie, you’ll likely need around 7-8 large bananas. Try some unique flavors to mix in with your bananas, or go with one of these: Banana Mango, Banana Chai, or Berry Mango Banana. These are some of the best creamy, cooling flavor combinations for a pie that will win anyone over, guaranteed!

2. Coconut Cream

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A creamy, rich ingredient that makes an easy swap for dairy cream used in pies is coconut cream. You’ll want to be sure you buy the cans of full fat coconut milk at the store thought — the lighter options and milk in a carton won’t produce the same results because they have additional ingredients in them and/or aren’t high enough in fat to produce a cream. To make coconut cream, just put the can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. As it sits overnight, it thickens up. When you open the can though, you’ll want to be sure you remove the liquid at the top of the can and just scoop out the fatty cream underneath. Add this cream to your blender or food processor, whip with some sweetener like stevia or maple syrup (just a touch), a tsp. of vanilla extract, and a little pinch of sea salt to bring out the flavor more. Coconut cream is so good for you too; it’s saturated fats are great fuel for the brain and metabolism, and are completely cholesterol-free but help support your body’s own necessary cholesterol stores. Use coconut cream anywhere in the same amounts you would normally use dairy cream. Try these: Vegan Coconut Cream Lime PieBelly Busting and Totally Delicious Banoffee Pie, and Raw Chocolate Banana Pie With Whipped Coconut Cream. 

3. Avocados

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Avocados are a fatty fruit that are hard NOT to love. In fact, they’re one of the best replacements for dairy cream because they provide a fatty, creamy, yet light mouthfeel, and you can flavor them however you like because they offer a mild taste. Though many people enjoy them in a chocolate pie or pudding, you can also use other ingredients like lime, vanilla, berry, or just about anything else you want. To make one pie filling soley out of avocados, you’ll need around 4-5 ripe avocados at a minimum. Try them in Raw-vocado Key Lime Pie or a Healthy Key Lime Pie With a Chocolate Crust. 

4. Cashew Cream

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Cashew cream is another option if you’re not into coconut cream. It’s also a bit denser and less airy than coconut cream, and its richness and ability to be easily flavored are other reasons to give it a try if you haven’t yet. Cashew cream can easily be made by soaking raw cashews overnight to allow them to plump up with water and make them easier to blend. The next day, you just drain, mix, and cream them up! You can add any flavors you like to your cashew cream, but it’s pretty tasty on its own. Try it in this Summer Berry Cashew Cream pie as a great recipe to start with.

5. A Special Blend

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If you’re looking for a certain type of texture (such as more whipped than dense or more rich than airy), you can also try mixing a few of these options together. For instance, some pies will produce a lighter texture that’s milder in flavor when using bananas and avocados whipped together, versus just bananas. Others will produce a nice texture when you mix coconut milk with bananas, and avocados, etc. While ratios will differ depending on the type of pie you’re making, a blend can work well and may be better suited than just one ingredient alone. Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Pie and No Bake Mississippi Mud Pie are just two examples of vegan pies that work best with a blend.

There are lots of other options you can use in a pie recipe to make them vegan-friendly. Some ingredients include tofu, other nuts or nut butter, vegan cream cheese, and frozen fruit. Try some of our vegan pie recipes here for more ideas, and let us know which ingredients are you go-to methods for making pie creamy without the animal ingredients. We’d love to hear them!

Lead Image Source: Belly Busting and Totally Delicious Banoffee Pie

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