Thursday, November 25, 2010

Diabetes-Friendly, Wheat-Free Pumpkin Bars for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll soon be on my way up north to visit my family and enjoy a delicious feast. All week I was planning on making Evan's pumpkin quinoa stuffing, but our fridge is only getting down to 46 degrees, which is way too warm for a dish like that to stay safe (anything above 41 degrees can grow bacteria)! Instead of the stuffing I made some wonderful pumpkin bars, which were able to stay in our freezer until today.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth, Diabetes-Friendly Pumpkin Bars
(Source: Diabetic Living, Issue September 21 2010)
(Found on dietitian Anthony's blog)

**The original recipe is in black. My crazy modifications are indicated in red, when applicable **


- 1/2 cup vegetable oil spread, softened (I used 1/2 cup organic unsweetened applesauce, which probably isn't the best substitute for margarine....)

- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar ( I used Splenda brown sugar, although the recipe strongly advised against this! I probably should have listened...)

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (I added a bit extra)

- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin

- 1/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed or 1 egg (I used 1 egg)

- 1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole grain brown rice flour, but would probably only use half whole grain flour if I made these again)

- 1/2 of an 8 oz package reduced-fat cream cheese (I used fat-free)

- 1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed

- ( I added sliced almonds on top of my bars)


- Preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour a 9x9x2 baking pan (I used a quick bread loaf pan, which was about 23 cm by 13 cm, because I didn't have enough batter to fit into a larger pan, so I thought....). Set aside.

- In a large bowl, combine vegetable oil spread, brown sugar, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-mixed. Beat in pumpkin and egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in any remaining flour.

- Spread dough into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (It took my bars about 17 minutes to cook all the way through because they were THICK!). Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

- Meanwhile, for frosting: In a bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Beat in half of the dessert topping. Fold in remaining dessert topping. Spread over cooled pumpkin layer. If desired, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg. Cut into bars. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Don't they look prettier with the almonds on top?!


If you check out the original recipe from Diabetic Living Magazine, you will see that it made about 24 bars. Mine only made 10. Clearly mine were thicker than theirs, oops, maybe next time I will cut them in half so they aren't as thick. My nutrition stats were also much different, but at least over half of my carbohydrates were from whole grains!

Nutrition Facts
(1 bar, out of the total 10 bars)

Carbohydrates: ~30 grams (2 carbohydrate exchanges)

Whole grains: ~ 18 (one full serving of whole grains!)

Calories: ~150

TASTE: 8 out of 10, Nick loved these, I thought they were tasty, for a healthy dessert.
I would advise against using Splenda brown sugar, I would also suggest using half brown rice flour and half white flour. Perhaps I could have used two pans instead of one, which would make these bars a lot less thick, and half the calories. Either way, it was fun to experiment with all of these modifications and I think my family will still love them! When Nick loves something, it's a good sign :)

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! And, don't forget to make half of your plate packed with fruits and veggies. This was my plate from last year (minus my second helping of turkey and sweet potatoes, my small glass of red wine, and my dessert!).

Be safe, and have a great time with family and friends. I'll be back next week!


  1. i'm definitely gonna make something like this (if i can't get all the recipes here...) this Mom will like it! :)

  2. These look delicious. I might make these to enjoy my Thanksgiving leftovers with! :)

  3. Hapy Thanksgiving Gina! Hope you have a fantastic celebration with your family :)

  4. is it weird that i've made no pumpkin flavored things what so ever for thanskgiving..

    hahah i guess i'm burnt out on pumpkin from my everyday life. THAT'S when you know you eat too much pumpkin on a daily basis.

    i've been loooving cream cheese lately! it gives everything a cheesecake vibe :)

  5. those bars look GORGEOUS. have a great thanksgiving weekend! :)

  6. Thanks for the recipe - I always am on the look out for diabetic friendly desserts.

    Happy Thanksgiving Gina! :D

  7. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  8. Hi Gina,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Nick and your families.

    Thank you for using and quoting my recipe. Will have to try it with some of the modifications :)

    I'm wondering if you knew if emailed you recently? It was a personal invitation, which I sent to your email address. I haven't heard from you, which makes me think it might have went into your spam mailbox--please check it. Thanks!

  9. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

    Those look delicious! I love how you decided to ignore something the recipe strongly advised against, I'd be scared to do that haha. Glad they came out good anyways.

  10. Those bars look delish! I didn't get my fill of pumpkin because I was so stuffed. I think I will have to carry it into Christmas.
    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Gina!!

  11. Gina,
    Thanks for letting me know you didn't receive my email. With that said, want you to know I resent it out to you this evening to your address.
    Thank you,

  12. Looks like a good recipe! I probably would have used regular brown sugar, too. :)
    Hope you had a great Tgiving!

  13. Yum! I love modifying recipes and making them my own:)

  14. The pumpkin bars look amazing. Definitely a must try!