Berry Pie with Pecan-Sunflower Crust

plant-based and heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust topped with blueberries and blackberries

My “How Not to Die” Pie

I LOVE cookbooks and was excited when my brand new copy of Dr. Greger’s “The How Not to Die Cookbook” arrived the other day!  It’s really a beautiful book.  The The How Not To Die Cookbookpages are thick and the pictures are gorgeous, but most importantly the recipes look both amazing and heart-healthy.

Like a short story, a good recipe can put us in a delightful trance. ~ Bee Wilson, The New Yorker

As I thumbed through the book, this pie just jumped right out at me as something I had to make right away.  What to do??  Invite the neighbors for a healthy plant-based dinner!  Julie Soup and home baked cornbread, and finished with this lovely pie–it was a definite winner.  The crust is so delicious, the first bite immediately inspired ideas for other pies or bars.  And the filling … yum!  It has a wonderful texture with a hint of lemon which pairs so well with the berries.

Berry Pie with Pecan-Sunflower Crust

the crust without the filling and the open cookbook in the background for the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust

The crust pressed into the pie plate before the filling has been added for the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust

The crust is a blend of pecans, sunflower seeds and Medjool dates.  The flavor really stands out with each bite and doesn’t get lost in in the flavors of the berries and custard, plus it provides a lot of the sweetness of this pie.

The custard is just a little tricky.  It’s made with pre-soaked cashews and uses very little additional liquid, so how carefully you measure the cashews can make the custard a bit firm or more pudding-like (more cashews more firmness).  You can play with it to your taste.  Another texture factor is whether you use date sugar or date syrup.  I made it both ways and liked it both ways–date sugar is very dry and made the custard firmer.  In these pictures I used date syrup and carefully measured cashews so the results were like pudding as you can see.  It does firm up a bit after it’s been chilled.

pudding-like filling being poured into pie shell for the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crustpudding-like filling being smoothed with spatula in pie shell for the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust

You can use either fresh or frozen berries.  I used fresh blackberries but frozen blueberries because I couldn’t find organic fresh ones that day, and I like frozen blueberries–I know they’ve been picked ripe and are reliably sweet and delicious.  They are just not quite as pretty and uniform as the fresh ones can be.

close up of the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust

I really love making things like this that are so pretty yet delicious and healthy.  No refined sugar, no added fats, and filled with wholesome ingredients that are really good for us.  The pecans and sunflower seeds in the crust are a great source of heart-healthy fats and protein, and the dates provide fiber and B vitamins along with minerals that help control blood pressure.

And don’t forget the cashews in the custard–also a good source of heart-healthy fats and protein, but the berries… oh yes the berries!  Powerful fruit loaded with fiber and Vitamin C, rich in antioxidants and polyphenols; they’re filled with high levels of compounds that help widen our arteries and are so, so good for our hearts.   It’s really yummy and we like the delicate sweetness comeing from whole foods.

Hands holding heart-healthy Berry Pie with Pecan-Sunflower Crustwhole pie with knife cutting first slice of the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crustplant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust with a slice cut out of it on a plate in the background

Berries are the healthiest fruit, offering potential protection against cancer and heart disease, boosting the immune system and acting as a guard for the liver and brain. ~ Dr. Michael Greger

Berry Pie with Nut-Date Crust

Rating: 51

Berry Pie with Nut-Date Crust


  1. 1 cup pecans
  2. ¾ cup sunflower seeds
  3. ½ cup soft, pitted Medjool dates (about 9 dates)
  5. ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours in hot water, then drained
  6. 2 tablespoons date syrup or date sugar
  7. ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  8. 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  9. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. ½ ripe banana
  11. 1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries, or thawed frozen
  12. 1 cup fresh blackberries, or thawed frozen


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until coarsely ground and holds together when pinched. If it doesn't hold together, add a tablespoon of water and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Press the crust mixture into a 9-inch pie plate (lined with plastic wrap for easy removal if desired).
  3. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling,
  5. In a high-speed blender, add the drained cashews, date syrup (or date sugar), lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Blend until smooth, stirring and scrapping down the sides frequently.
  6. Add the banana and 1/2 cup of the blueberries and blend again until smooth and creamy.
  7. Spread the filling evenly on top of the crust.
  8. Arrange the blackberries and remaining blueberries in concentric circles on top of the filling.
  9. Refrigerate for 4 hours to firm up before serving.


Lightly adapted from "The How Not To Die Cookbook".

I enjoy and learn a lot from the information Dr. Greger shares through his site,  His cookbook is a spinoff from his bestseller “How Not to Die:  Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease”.

Music, laughter, good conversation with friends while a brand new baby falls asleep in your arms … these things are all good for your heart too.

high angle looking down on the plant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust on table with candlesFriends that came for dinner to try the Berry Pie with Pecan-Sunflower Crustplant-based, heart-healthy berry pie with pecan-sunflower crust with slices cut out of it and slice on plate in background

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