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
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Looks heavenly, I cannot wait to try this out!
YUM! This is Bo’s favorite. Can’t wait to make it!
You are going to LOVE!
OMG!!l! In our house we simply L O V E lemon and everything lemon-related, so this receipe will definitely be favorite:-)
Oh good! Hope you love as much as we do! xo
This looks AMAZING. I’m going to attempt to make this tonight. Keyword: attempt! 😉 xo Julie
Yay! Can’t wait to hear what you think — let me know how it turns out!
Genius! Reading about your recipe I was thinking about avocado. Perfect choice! Going to make this next weekend!
These look and sound DELISH! Gorgeous photos!
Absolutely love this recipe and method! Love how you have broken it down and thought carefully about recreating this classic. Looking forward to trying it for myself! xx
These look so delicious! And would be very easy to turn GF too 🙂
Wow, this looks amazing and I am sure it tastes GREAT, but you are not making it healthy with all that added oil. Please watch some of the youtube videos about “no oil” like this one: No Oil — Not Even Olive Oil! – Caldwell Esselstyn MD – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_o4YBQPKtQ
Thanks Joni, that sounds really interesting — I’m going to check it out! Most desserts need some fat for richness, and from my research unrefined virgin coconut oil has tons of health benefits and is a great plant-based vegan option over many other oils… however, I look forward to watching the link you shared and hope to learn something new from it! Thanks for sharing –
Made this exactly as written – excellent! Very refreshing for these hot summer days.
Sounds delicious & intriguing! I am interested in calories & in looking up coconut cream, discovered that there are both raw & sweetened versions of canned coconut cream. May I ask which you use?
What would you recommend if someone, yes me, doesn’t like coconut? Thankss for the recipe sure it tastes heavenly
This looks awesome. Would you say it hardens up to be a pie consistency, or does it remain soft like a mousse even after chilling? I’m looking for something that firms up….. another way of asking is does it remain something you use a spoon for? Haha. Thanks.