Today’s recipe is all about feeling like you’re splurging. Hence, the air quotations around “pie.” I don’t know how it is for you, but staying on track with healthy eating is about 90% mental for me. I feel trapped and overwhelmed if I restrict myself too much (i.e. no carbs, sweets, alcohol, etc.). Inevitably, I end up having a major binge fest when I can’t take it any longer and feel that I MUST have bread and pasta! (yes, this just happened to me last weekend… and yes, I blame Ben for making said delicious bread and pasta…) SO- I am a pretty firm believer in treating yourself to “bad” stuff in moderation. I try to make healthy eating choices the majority of the time, while also allowing myself some sinful foods every once in awhile in a reasonable portion-size. I have found this helps minimize the whole guilt/shame cycle of binging and then feeling horrible afterwards. But here is the good news folks: This recipe IS healthy, and you get to psych yourself out as though you are eating something delightfully sinful. Win-Win.
These are all the ingredients you need: fruit, nuts, and vanilla extract. Booya! haha.. yep, I was surprised too. More specifically, for one regular 9 in. pie dish, you need 1/3 c. each of walnuts, cashews, and almonds; 1 c. dates; 2 tsp. vanilla extract; 2-3 bananas; 1 can mandarin oranges; 1 can pineapple tidbits; about 1 pint of fresh strawberries; and some blueberries. You can actually use whatever fruit you want, except for the bananas and strawberries–those are essential to this recipe.
First, put all the nuts, dates, and vanilla extract into a food processor (sidenote: I love my Ninja. It is awesome!), and pulse until it becomes a gooey mess. You may need to stop at least once to scrape the sides so that all the nuts get chopped up into smaller pieces.
Once you have a gooey, sticky mess (and clean hands!), press the mixture into the bottom of a pie dish. I try to make it as even as possible.
Then, slice bananas lengthwise into strips. I use a pairing knife and tried to get them as thin as possible without breaking each slice into smaller pieces. This can get tricky because bananas are slippery little boogers, so be careful not to cut yourself! Lay the banana slices on top of the crust mixture, using smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. You basically want a single layer of bananas going over the crust. It doesn’t have to be perfect though!
Next, I use my trusty food scale to measure out about 6 oz. of fresh strawberries. If you don’t have a scale, it is about 7-8 medium to large strawberries. Once I have my 6 oz. I slice each one in half before throwing it into the same food processor (you don’t even need to rinse it from the nuts because it’s all gonna taste so good!) and pulse/blend until you have a nice liquid puree.
Pour the puree on the banana slices and use a small spatula to spread it across evenly. The puree is what is going to help your pie stick together, so you’ll want to get it into every crevice if possible! (Is it weird to say crevice in a recipe?? It sounds weird.. but seriously, get that puree everywhere.)
Now the fun part– Sprinkle on whatever fruits you like! I like the double-whammy strawberry effect, so I added sliced strawberries first (about 5-6 strawberries sliced). Then, I drained the cans of mandarin oranges and pineapple tidbits and added those. Last but not least, I sprinkled some blueberries on top for another dash of color. After you are done adding your fruits, gently press the fruits so that they are all touching or are somewhat involved with the strawberry puree. They need its stickiness! Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour before eating.
And here she is… a gorgeous Fruit “Pie!” I made this for the Super Bowl Party we attended last weekend, and it was a smash hit! I think everyone appreciated the healthy option. This is a great recipe to keep around to make everyone happy–health nuts, sweet eaters, vegans, kids, you-name-it.
You can also make this in a pyrex dish if you want. I made a double batch and only had one pie dish, and it worked quite well! To close this post– I want to give credit where credit is due. First, I have to thank my good friend, Robin, for introducing me to this recipe (although I’ve never tasted her version, I’m sure it is just as amazing!). Second, this recipe is originally from The Engine 2 Diet website (http://engine2diet.com/recipe/date-nut-fruit-pie/). In my version, I added a little more vanilla extract for better crust consistency (helps it get a little stickier so it stays together when you slice it into pieces); switched out some of the fruit (I can’t stand fruits with little seeds, so cut out the raspberries!); and used about 6 oz. of strawberries for puree instead of only 4 oz (I didn’t think 4 really covered the whole pie very well). Feel free to try their recipe to compare, or just trust me and my little test kitchen. I won’t steer you wrong. Happy Eating!! I hope you will enjoy this “pie” completely guilt-free.
1/3 c. almonds
1/3 c. walnuts
1/3 c. cashews
1 c. dates
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 bananas, sliced lengthwise
6 oz. fresh strawberries, pureed + 4 oz. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1 sm. can of pineapple tidbits, drained
2-3 handfuls fresh blueberries
***Combine nuts, dates, and vanilla in a food processor until a sticky consistency is formed. Press mixture into the bottom of a pie dish. Layer banana slices across crust mixture. Pour strawberry puree over bananas, spreading evenly across entire dish. Sprinkle on all other fruit and gently press into puree when completed. Cover with plastic wrap, and Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.***