Chef Ryan and Her Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie


A few years ago, I was the subject of a conversation between my Mom and one of my employees. The topic was getting me to go vegan.

After their discussion, Mom told me, “It isn’t right that you own a plant-based concept, but you aren’t plant-based yourself.”

At the time, I was mostly plant-based but hadn’t fully embraced veganism. But Mom wouldn’t give up – and shortly, I decided she was right. At the end of 2017, I tried a vegetarian diet before going fully vegan for my 40th birthday in May of 2018.

Other than Mom, my employee Ryan has had the most significant influence on my decision to eat plant-based. Part of her success came from never judging or looking down on me because of my diet.

She simply acted as a kindhearted vegan, accepting everyone as they are while enjoying her own food and lifestyle.

Ryan didn’t come from a vegetarian family. By the age of 10, however, her love of animals led her to stop eating meat. Over five years ago, while studying for her Master’s Degree in education, she started working at Fruitive part-time. Today, she’s our Vice President and Chef.

Since finishing her Master’s, she’s completed the following courses:

  • Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional

  • Plantlab Graduate

  • T. Colin Campbell Center For Nutrition Studies-Plant-Based Nutrition Certification

While accomplishing all of that, she’s also been developing the Fruitive menu.

Given that The Conversation reports many people hesitate to go plant-based because they think it’s “not easy” or “inconvenient,” how has Ryan managed it?

As she told me today, she has a different take:

“Eating plant-based is easier than you think. It can seem daunting to change up your routine, but there are so many options now for vegans out at restaurants, in grocery stores, and there are thousands of delicious recipes online too!”

She also explained how motivating it’s been for her to see how much “I could create for myself, friends, and family to include a plant-based mindset in cooking.”

And today, the circle of Ryan’s potential converts can expand as she starts sharing her incredible recipes with our Plantbased readers!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie 

Yield: 1 pie

Pie Crust

1 3/4 cup raw walnuts

6 T cornstarch

2 T oat flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3 1/2 T maple syrup


3/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup raw walnuts

3 T cornstarch

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

15 oz can pumpkin puree

1/4 cup cooked and peeled sweet potato

    • Needs a full overnight in the fridge to firm up!

    • Cook your sweet potato first and mash.

    • For the crust: add walnuts to food processor and process into somewhat of a flour for 15 seconds. Add dry ingredients until mixed. Add syrup and process until large chunks form.

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9-in pie dish really well and press the crust into the dish flat and evenly.

    • Next add syrup and walnuts only to Vitamix. Blend until fairly smooth. Scrape down sides and add cornstarch, cinnamon, pie spice, salt, pumpkin, and sweet potato. Blend until completely smooth like pudding.

    • Pour the batter into the crust and smooth out with back of a spoon.

    • Place 4 double folded 8 in strips of foil around the edges of the crust, crimp them around the dish.

    • Bake for 55 min. then add a large piece of foil loosely over the pie if it is starting to look too brown.

    • Bake 10 more min. or until the center is set and not jiggly.

    • Cool to room temperature for 2 hours and then chill in fridge for 8 hours.


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