I’ve got a confession: I’ve never once made my husband’s favorite dessert—until now. Hemant loves sweets, but generally prefers not to have them around the house.
We recently celebrated our sixth anniversary, so I decided it was about time I made him a whole food, key lime pie. Rather than a whole pie, I whipped up these adorable Vegan Key Lime Pie Mini Tarts.
Why I love these vegan key lime pie mini tarts
First, like my other desserts -- vegan molasses ginger cookies, 4-ingredient apple crisp, and skinny chocolate pudding for example -- they're healthy!
And who doesn't love a bright and citrusy desert like these tarts or my lemon loaf cake with lemon icing?
I also love these little tarts because they’re made with simple, easy-to-find whole food ingredients: avocado, lime, walnuts, oats, coconut, etc. They’re pretty simple to make too, which is perfect for dessert-challenged cooks (like me).
By far the coolest thing about this recipe though are the avocados. Just as you can use avocados to make a creamy chocolate mousse, they’re kind of magical in these vegan key lime pie mini tarts.
The lime completely masks the avocado flavor, so I promise, no one will know this filling is avocado-based if you don’t tell them. Avocados make the filling green, which seems pretty fitting for lime dessert. And their creamy texture is spot-on as a pie filling.
Second, I love the fact that while it’s a bit more tedious to make individual mini tarts than a whole pie, the result is 12 reasonably-sized servings. And you freeze these mini tarts, so they last for weeks—which means there’s no rush to eat the whole batch right away. Much less willpower needed here, folks!
How to make avocado key lime pie filling & nut-date crust
To keep things simple, I used regular limes rather than key limes to make these vegan key lime mini tarts. (Sorry to all you key lime purists out there.) Why? Because 1) key limes are harder to find, 2) harder to juice and 3) you need a LOT of them. Like maybe 16 of them. (You can learn more about the difference between conventional limes and key limes here.)
Plus, these little avocado key lime pie mini tarts taste AH-MAZING made with plain old, everyday limes. But of course, you be you; use key limes if you like.
As I mentioned above, the filling’s base is avocado, plus a bit of tart lime and sweet maple syrup. That’s it. (For a lower fat version, you can even substitute some silken tofu for one of the avocados.) You blend it up and set it aside to chill.
The crust is equally simple. You mix together a few dry ingredients (walnuts, oats and shredded coconut), add dates and process into a moist, crumbly dough. Done.
The only tricky part is making sure to equally distribute your crust and filling ingredients into your cupcake liners. Don’t ‘commit’ too early by spreading things out until you’re sure you have approximately equal portions.
Then, you just have to fiddle a little with the slightly sticky crust to press it into the bottom of your cupcake liners. A little patience and a moist shot glass work wonders here.
Finally, you pop these no-bake babies into the freezer and wait about two hours. Like Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.
If you like this whole food plant-based recipe, you might also like:
- Baked Tortilla Vegan Cannolis
- Flourless Sweet Potato Brownies with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chunks
- Skinny Chocolate Mint Chia Powder Pudding
- Skinny Matcha Pudding
- Healthy Brownies with Peppermint Frosting
Vegan Key Lime Pie Mini Tarts
- 2 large avocados or 3 small avocados. Sub 1 cup extra firm silken tofu for 1 of the avocados for a lower fat version-see notes
- ½ cup fresh lime juice about 4 -5 regular limes. See notes if using key limes
- 1 tablespoon lime zest plus more for garnish if desired
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 pinch of salt
- 12 medjool dates pitted and chopped
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut plus more for garnish if desired
To make the filling:
- Place all of the filling ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed (see notes).
- Set the filling in the fridge while you make the crust.
To make the crust:
- Place the chopped dates in a small bowl. To soften the dates, add a tablespoon of water and microwave on high for 30 seconds. (Or soften with a small amount of boiling water. )
- Place all of the crust ingredients EXCEPT THE DATES in a food processor. Pulse the dry ingredients on high until finely ground. Then, add the dates a few at a time letting each batch blend in with the dry ingredients. Repeat until all of the dates have been added, and process into a moist but still crumbly dough. Don't over process, or the crust will be tough.
To assemble your mini tarts
- Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
- Use a soup spoon to scoop some of the dough into each cupcake liner. Don't press until you have all of the dough evenly distributed throughout the muffin pan.
- Use a spoon or a shot glass to press the dough down into the bottom of each cup to form the crust. The dough will be a little sticky, so you'll want to moisten your spoon or shot glass and press down in a rotating motion to keep things from sticking.
- When you're done with the crust, place a large spoonful of filling into each cupcake liner, again making sure you have the filling evenly distributed before you smooth out each top.
- If desired, sprinkle a little lime zest and coconut on the top of each tart.
- Freeze for at least 2 hours. Let sit our at room temperature to soften for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- For a lower fat version, you can substitute some extra firm silken tofu for some of the avocado. You may need to add more lime and maple syrup if you want to completely mask the tofu.
- It's not always easy to find key limes, so I chose to use regular limes for this recipe. If you plan to use key limes, you'll probably need quite a few (as many as 16 or more) to get ½ cup of juice.
- When blending the filling, taste it and adjust to your desired sourness/sweetness level, and to make sure the flavor registers as lime to you rather than avocado.
I made these yesterday for a potluck. I am the only one who eats wfpb but a couple of the others are vegan. They were an enormous hit with everyone! Thank you for this awesome recipe.
You're so very welcome, Linda! I'm thrilled to hear that everyone enjoyed these mini-tarts. They're pretty universally yummy!
Looks delicious. Would you suggest a substitute for the coconut? Thanks!
Hi Lorain, Thanks for the comment! For the crust, you can easily omit the coconut and sub more nuts or oats. As for the garnish, you could use extra lime zest or perhaps even a little chopped walnut if you like. Enjoy!
Thank you. I omitted the coconut and added little more nuts and oats. They were delicious!!!
Lorain, thanks so much for letting me know this worked out for you. I'm so glad you liked these mini tarts!
Yummy! I can't wait to try this! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Stella, I hope you enjoy them!!
Any suggestions for no nuts in the crust was hoping to make these for a family function but we have some with walnut allergies. Think cashew would work or any way to leave them out altogether
Hi Anna, Other nuts would definitely work. Macadamia, hazelnut, pecans or almonds for example. Cashews might be a little soft, but might be okay. To leave them out altogether, you could probably just increase oats and coconut, or if you can find a graham cracker that meets your dietary requirements, that could work too. Good luck and if you think of it, let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear!
They have key lime juice (bottled) at my local Harris Teeter.
Hi Rene, you could certainly use bottled. I'm personally biased toward fresh ingredients and for me, the fresh lime and zest really make this dessert. But I'd love to hear about your results using bottled juice if you try it!