These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are super soft and chewy, yet are healthy, vegan, and gluten free! They make the perfect dessert for fall with the cozy pumpkin spice flavors.
I know the internet is CRAMMED with pumpkin recipes all over this time of year, so I'm trying to only put pumpkin in my desserts when it's absolutely necessary. And spoiler alert—it is 100% necessary here😏
I know the pumpkin + chocolate combination is a bit controversial (although 85% of you said it's a "perfect pair" on my Instagram poll). The good news is that you can add chocolate chips if you like them, and if you don't simply leave them out!
I must also mention that these cookies are suuuuuper soft and slightly chewy. Oh yeah, and they're also vegan, gluten free and healthy! Can you really ask for anything more? 😉
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Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice
^^too cliche? sorry🤐 The point is, we are LOADING up on the pumpkin spice here! You can even put more if you like; I don't like it to be too overwhelming. But the real question is, where do you get your pumpkin pie spice?
I've always found it interesting when people write "pumpkin pie spice" in their recipes. 🤔Because every pumpkin pie spice is different! And even if you make your own, are you going to make a whole batch for each individual recipe?
I personally find it so much easier to just put cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg separately in each recipe. It doesn't save you any time to mix them all together beforehand anyways. And this way, I can make it how I like--mostly cinnamon with a hint of the other spices!😛But of course, you can adjust according to your liking. If I was making this for my mom or my sister, I could tone down on the cinnamon, and for myself I'd PILE it on!😂
So what about the actual pumpkin?
There are so many varieties of pumpkin out there, but the number 1 rule in any recipe is to MAKE SURE you are buying pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. The latter is literally what you pour into a pie tin to make a pie--and it's loaded with added sugars and all kind of other stuff.
When you buy pumpkin from a can, I also cannot stress enough that it should be thick, not watery. It should not be able to pour easily; you should have to get a spoon to get it out. If you accidentally buy watery pumpkin, it's not the end of the world, just omit the milk.
Some people will buy a whole pumpkin and make a puree themselves, which is an amazing idea if you ask me. If you have the time and patience, I'll say go for it, but my lazy self is sticking to the cans🤣
What Makes This Recipe Healthy?
"Healthy" is a commonly used term and has a different meaning to everyone. When I say "healthy" I usually mean it has a much higher nutritional value than the tradition, and probably contains a good amount of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. 99% of the time there is no refined sugar and minimal to no refined flour either.
This recipe is "healthy" because it hits these points:
-much more fiber, protein, and healthy fats than the traditional cookie
-refined sugar free
-refined flour free (it actually has no flour at all!)
-overall a much better source of nutrients than traditional cookies
This recipe is also gluten free and vegan--not for health reasons, just for the people who have dietary restrictions 😉
But at the end of the day, there isn't one definition of healthy. I like to eat things because they make me feel good--I won't settle for a dessert that doesn't taste great just because it's "better for you."
I could go so much further into this topic, but that's a discussion for another day😉 let's get into the ingredients and how they contribute to the final delicious product!
In this day and age, there are SO many flour alternatives out there. For me personally, I'm not going to go out and buy a flour for a one time use, that's just a waste of money! So luckily these pumpkin cookies only require 2 flour alternatives, and I have plenty of recipes for both!
The first is oat flour--one of the most basic flour alternatives. It's literally just ground up oats! The great thing about that is that you don't have to purchase oat flour separately, you can make it at home by blending rolled oats until VERY fine, about 5 minutes. Then sift and use as the recipe calls for!
Oat flour is gluten free, and it's also a much better source of fiber than regular flour.
Almond flour is the next one, and it may be a little less familiar to some people. Almond flour, like oat flour, is just ground up almonds. However, you can't make it yourself. It's really hard to get the right consistency, because there is a very fine line between small almond crumbs and almond butter (because they'll start to release their healthy fats at a certain point).
You will have to buy this one, but luckily there are so many uses for it (which I'll get to in a second)! One thing to make sure of is that you're buying almond flour, not almond meal which is coarser, and that you get blanched so there is no skins.
This is my favorite brand of almond flour. It's super fine, which is ideal, and it comes in a big package so a) it'll last longer and b) it's a lot cheaper! It may look like a lot at first glance, but it's really not bad when you consider that it'll last you months. Just be sure to store it in the refrigerator, NOT in a pantry!
Some of my favorite almond flour recipes are:
and many more!
Butter and Oil Substitutes
Like flour, there are tons of butter substitutes out there made from unsaturated oils. My advice to you is stay away from those! Their natural form is liquid since they're unsaturated, so they have to be highly chemically processed in order to get them solid. This can be even worse for you than just using regular butter!
That's why my favorite substitute for butter is nut butters (in this case almond butter)--like almond flour, their made purely from almonds, but unlike almond flour it's fully blended to become smooth and creamy. It actually has a completely different function, acting almost exactly like softened butter. Plus, it's a great source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats and omega 3s!
This is my favorite brand of almond butter. The only 2 ingredients are roasted almonds and salt, so there are no added sugars or oils. And like the almond flour, it's bigger so you get a better deal, and it lasts longer! Perfect for almond butter addicts like me, or if you just like to use it in baking 😉
Tip: store the jar upside down! It makes it a million times easier to mix😉
And because I've rarely had an oil free dessert that has a decent texture, you will need to use oil here. My favorite type of oil is avocado oil because unlike canola and vegetable oils, it's not highly processed or genetically modified!
It has a similar nutritional profile to olive oil, but with a neutral taste so you won’t notice the difference! This is my favorite brand of avocado oil because (like the almond butter and almond flour) it’s bigger, will last longer and is cheaper.
And it’s not a one time use either! Some of my favorite recipes with avocado oil are:
And so so many more!
More recipes you might love:
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Healthy, Vegan, Gluten Free)
- ⅓ cup natural almond butter or cashew butter
- ½ cup coconut sugar or any granulated sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or light-tasting olive oil
- 1 tablespoons oat milk, plus more as needed or other nondairy milk
- 1 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons fine oat flour sifted
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons fine almond flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk the almond butter and coconut sugar with an electric mixer. Whisk in the avocado oil, milk, pumpkin puree and vanilla until fully combined. Beat in the oat flour and almond flour in small batches with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough and form a circle (they will spread, but not much). Add additional chocolate chips if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on you oven) and let cool slightly. Enjoy!