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Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Tarts (Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free)

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Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

Happy almost Thanksgiving!  I’ll be celebrating the holiday in earnest this week on the blog (minus drunk uncle Gary and the inevitable family drama) with delicious healthy recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner and beyond.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

Now, onto the good stuff: the food.  These Salted Caramel Pecan Pie tarts are a riff on one of my favorite Thanksgiving desserts, Pecan Pie.  While the base of a pecan pie is actually quite healthy – the pecans – in traditional recipes, those innocuous nuts are doused in both cane sugar and corn syrup.  This version of healthy pecan pie uses a simple almond meal shortbread to create a buttery, grain free crust.  Atop that is the recipe’s secret, superstar ingredient: the caramel sauce.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

The caramel sauce uses only dates, almond butter, vanilla and coconut oil to make something that tastes exactly like refined sugar laden caramel.  I love using my Vitamix to make this, as it creates a truly silky smooth result, but if you don’t have one, I recommend using a food processor: a normal blender won’t work nearly as well.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

The trick is starting on the lowest possible setting, then letting it go around a bit, scraping down the sides if necessary, until it begins to become creamy.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

Then you can turn up the speed for the final few seconds, resulting in an ooey-gooey, perfect healthy caramel.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

A sprinkle of Maldon sea salt takes these truly over the edge: all of the flavors of the nutty, buttery base with the toasted pecans and the sweet, gooey caramel sauce are enhanced and highlighted by those crunchy little white nuggets on top.

Healthy Pecan Pie Tart

Topped it with cream and voila: a Pecan Pie Tart that even guests who hate traditional healthy food won’t be able to get enough of.  I’m absolutely obsessed with these, and I’m sure you will be too.  They also come together surprisingly quickly, and there’s something so fun and cute about perfectly portioned tarts (I’ve always preferred them to pies myself).

Remember to stay tuned for the rest of the week for more awesome Thanksgiving recipes, and don’t forget to enter to win your own Vitamix (details are at the beginning of the post). Enjoy the healthy pecan pie goodness!

This post is brought to you by Vitamix, one of my beloved brand partners.  I only work with brands I truly love and adore; thank you so much for supporting the companies that make Sprouted Routes possible.  

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Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Tarts


  • Author: Liz Moody
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Tarts 1x
Scale

Ingredients

Tart Crust

  • 1.5 cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel

  • 2 cups dates, pitted and soaked in boiling water for 1020 min, then drained
  • 4 tsp coconut oil or ghee
  • 6 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Additional Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw pecans
  • Sprinkle of Maldon sea salt
  • Whipped cream of choice (I used coconut), to serve

Instructions

Tart Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together all ingredients, pressing together with your hands, until it can be pressed into a ball. Let sit in fridge for 10 minutes, then distribute evenly between 12 baking cup-lined muffin tins, pressing the dough firmly down in the base. Use your thumbs to create an indent in the middle of each muffin tin, so that it resembles a traditional tart shape. Place muffin tin in freezer for 10 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely (at least 15 minutes) before adding caramel/pecan topping.

Pecans

  1. Spread the pecans in a thin layer on a baking sheet and pop into the oven after you take the shortbread out. Let toast until fragrant and golden brown, usually about 10 – 15 minutes, then remove from oven.

Caramel

  1. Load all ingredients into Vitamix or food processor. If using Vitamix, start on the lowest setting and blend until all ingredients are combined, then go up to 4 or 5, scraping down the sides, until the caramel is creamy. If using a food processor, process until creamy.

Assembly

  1. Mix together toasted pecans and caramel sauce, then press into muffin tins, pushing the caramel/pecan mixture down to really fill the space. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt, then let firm up in for 10 minutes in the freezer before topping with whipped cream of choice and serving. Makes 12 tarts.

Notes

These will keep, fully assembled, for up to 4 days in the fridge. Wait until just before serving to top with whipped cream.

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Comments

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Delicious! Will definitely make many times! Thank you!

  2. Tf says:

    Omg ?? I made a batch not sure what to except from the healthy version….. but so delicious. Just got more ingredients to make another tray because I have a feeling they’ll run out fast for Thanksgiving. Thank you for the amazing recipe

  3. Aileen says:

    Can you do a pie or tart with this recipe instead of muffins? Thanks

  4. Stacey says:

    I e made these twice now. They are specaracular. Even my mother who has diabetes can eat these. Sooooooo good. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. Siobhan says:

    These were delicious and easy! The only thing I think I’ll do differently next time is chop the pecans up a bit before mixing them in with the caramel so that they can push down and fill in the gaps a bit more. But it’s a great recipe and perfect for a party — I brought them to a friend’s and everyone was very surprised to hear that they’re healthy (I had to brag about that when everyone was asking what was in them lol)

  6. Tina says:

    Dates should be boiled 10-20mins. Are we just looking for the dates to be softened?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      You don’t boil the dates – you just soak them in boiling water. And yes, the goal is to soften them!

  7. Janet Gillam says:

    I subscribed, liked you on FB, started following you on Instagram and shared this recipe on FB but was unable to tag you. I am excited to stumble across your blog and am super excited to try these Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Tarts, I haven’t had pecan pie or tarts since becoming a vegan! Having a Vitamix would sure make it easier to enjoy these yummies! Hope I get entered!

  8. Mickey says:

    Oh my! These look AMAZING. I’ve got a vitamix on my Christmas list! Liz, I run a fitness blog and would LOVE to include your recipe on a roundup of healthy Thanksgiving dessert options. Would you mind if I use a picture of yours and link people over to your website?

  9. emily says:

    Can I make this as a pie instead of as individual tarts?

  10. Healthy Cookie Dough Cups + A Vitamix Giveaway! | Sprouted Routes says:

    […]  I use it daily to make green smoothies, soups, popsicles, chia puddings, and treats like the Healthy Pecan Pie Tarts with Salted Caramel I made for last year’s giveaway (which, PS, if you haven’t tried this recipe, you must! […]

  11. B says:

    Recipe sounds great, how do these keep, should they be kept in the freezer? And can they be made up ahead a few days, or are they best freshly made

    1. Liz Moody says:

      They should be kept in the fridge, for up to 3 days. Just wait until right before serving to top with whipped cream, if you’re doing that!

  12. Patty says:

    I will never crave pecan pie ever again after making and eating these. Guiltless deliciousness. I used pink Himalayan salt on the top and left off the whip cream.

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Aw, yay! I’m so glad you liked them! Pink himalayan salt is my fave 🙂

  13. Emmie Greene says:

    Oh my goodness I am so confused. Heehee. I thought there was going to be an announcement at midnight so I stayed up. Is the announcement later? 🙂 Also I made these with homemade coconut whipped cream. It was so YUMMY! Thank you Ms. Liz!

  14. Liz True says:

    I followed all the steps for the giveaway! Cannot wait to try out this recipe, Vitamix or no Vitamix.

  15. Dana says:

    This looks fantastic!

  16. Diana Cote says:

    I liked/follow all the social network pages and shared all the posts as well as tagged you, plus subscribed to your newsletter. I love to cook and bake so it’s great to get a bit of inspiration in the mail. 😀 I love that this recipe is free of all the things I avoid. Thank you so much, I can finally make a non regrettable dessert. hehe 😀 crossing my fingers for the vitamix, our ninja is not working well so this baby would be an amazing Christmas present for the whole family. 😀

  17. Meghann says:

    These are going to be my contribution to Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to try this caramel!

  18. Rachelle says:

    We would love this! Please pick us my husband just found out he is diabetic and we were talking about how nice it would be to have a vitamin tonight!!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Thanks for entering, Rachelle! And best of luck to your husband – my father-in-law is diabetic and he’s really enjoyed a lot of my recipes. Xx Liz

  19. Margot says:

    I shared and signed up but I dont know how to tag @sproutedroutes on Facebook .

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hi Margot! You can share the post directly from my Facebook page (I posted it a bit ago, and just click “share” on that post). Then I’ll be sure to see it! Thanks for entering!

  20. Therese says:

    Big fan of that salted caramel flavor and have been looking for a healthy alternative to cream! Can’t wait to try. Wish I had a Vitamix! ?????

  21. Ellen says:

    Hi! Want to try these this weekend as a birthday surprise. This recipe will fill 12 standard-sized muffin tins? Thank you!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      yup, 12 standard muffin tins! Be sure to use liners though, otherwise they can be pretty tricky to get out! Hope the birthday surprise goes well! Xx

      1. Ellen says:

        The tarts were a huge hit today! Thank you so much. It ended up not to be a surprise as my niece saw the FB post that I shared on my page and asked it I was going to make it for today’s get-together. I got busted before we even gathered! Thanks again! Beautiful website and recipes are quick and healthy!

  22. Sandy Mac says:

    Can’t wait to try this …. sounds YUMMY

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Yay! Come back and let me know how you like them!

  23. Nancy Orrala says:

    Excelent! Delicious and most important its healthy!

  24. Mrs C says:

    That recipe looks delicious!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Thank you! I’m pretty addicted to them! 🙂

  25. Laura B. says:

    I followed on Twitter, retweeted and signed up for email. Please enter me in our Vitamix giveaway.

    1. Liz Moody says:

      You’re entered, Laura! Good luck!

  26. Lorene says:

    These look amazing! I am going to try my hand at them for Thanksgiving next week. Couple of questions: Should I use whole pecans, or pieces? If I wanted to do mini muffin tins, how much time should I adjust the crust baking? I’d like to make these the night before, and then travel (couple hours in car) the day they’re to be served, how should I store them after assembling them? (after the 10 min in freezer, but before the whipped cream).

    Thanks!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hi Lorene! You can really use whole pecans or pieces – the recipe would work with either, although if you’re going to do mini muffin tins, I’d recommend pieces, since with the whole I think you wouldn’t have enough room to really press it down onto the crust. For baking, check it after 10 minutes, and then monitor for the next few minutes – you’re looking for a hint of brown around the edges. I’d store them in the muffin tin, so they’re protected, at room temperature. Once you get to the destination, pop them in the freezer for 10 more minutes so they firm up, and then top with whipped cream. Come back and let me know how it goes! Xx Liz

  27. Megan says:

    These look so delicious! Will definitely be making these over the weekend!

  28. Maddie says:

    WOAH!!! HOLY YUM! these little treats are definitely going to be making an appearance on my thanksgiving menu!

  29. Carol says:

    I liked your Facebook page, shared this recipe,and tried to tag you but tagging didn’t work. Tried again via my browser. FB took me to the share and write a message page. I wrote a message and tried again to tag you. (Signed up for your email updates too.) Tagging wouldn’t work and when I hit share it would not post. Help! How can I enter your contest for the Vitamix?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hi Carol! I’m sorry to hear that – Facebook is so annoying sometimes! Go ahead and share the link without tagging me, and I’ll consider you entered in the contest!

  30. Jesse says:

    making these for thanksgiving! thanks for the recipe!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Yay! You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy them! xx