When I set out to create a healthier version of key lime pie, I had a lot of goals in mind. First, I wanted it to be no-bake, because #August. And #Texas. Which was tough, since you can’t have key lime pie without that signature graham cracker crust. Second challenge is that I wanted it to be vegan, and I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t easy to recreate the creamy custard filling without using the classic sweetened condensed milk, which, you can probably guess, is not vegan. But I prevailed, and I bet you’ll never guess the secret ingredient that gives this mousse it’s richness. Which is fine, because I’m about to tell you.
Phoebe is my sweet-toothed girl. If it were up to her, she’d skip every meal in favor of dessert (but really, wouldn’t we all?) She’s really been my inspiration to give our favorite sweets a healthy makeover; instead of depriving her of one of life’s greatest joys, I love making recipes that still feel like a treat, but aren’t full of tons of sugar or processed ingredients. So, as I laid in bed one night thinking about different ways to make this mousse taste creamy without dairy (because that’s how I lull myself to sleep, ha), and I had an epiphany thinking about this delicious chocolate mousse that I’d made using… avocados! And they’re green! And so full of nutrients! I knew I’d found my solution.
In order to avoid the pie crust (and turning on the oven) thing, I turned this into a mousse with a press-in no-bake layer of graham cracker crumbs and almonds, and the flavor is amaze and tastes just like the traditional version while being way less work. Oh, and have y’all ever made whipped coconut cream? Follow the easy instructions on the recipe card below and get ready for your mind to be blown. The whole thing is tropical, summery, no-bake, vegan goodness — it was a tall order, but I think we did it.
*photos: Laura Dominguez
for the crust:
- 5 full graham crackers (use gluten-free if desired)
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
for the filling:
- 1 can coconut cream
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 limes, zest & juice
- 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- toppings: more whipped coconut cream, toasted coconut, and thinly sliced limes
- Make the crust: In a high-powered blender or food processor, pulse all ingredients until it holds together when you press it with your fingers. Divide among 6 ramekins and press into the bottoms and partially up the sides.
- Chill can of coconut cream in fridge overnight, or in freezer for 1 - 2 hours (when chilled, the solids will separate from the watery part.) When ready to use, remove from fridge, flip over, open can and then drain off the liquid. Transfer the solid to the bowl of a standing mixer and use the whisk attachment to whip cream until soft peaks form.
- Add all other ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, about a minute. Add to the cream and the stand mixer, and whip together for 1 minute, then divide between ramekins, scooping the mousse on top of the crust.
- Chill for at least an hour, then top with more whipped coconut cream, toasted coconut, lime slices, and lime zest