Mooncakes are one of my favorite Asian confectionaries, but the question I had to ask myself was, can I make mooncakes both vegan and healthy? The question made me just stop and think of all the possibilities and vegan components that make vegan desserts actually work.
One of those ideas was using chickpeas. That’s right, chickpea mooncakes. Chickpea (and bean-based) desserts have been getting more popular these days, from chickpea blondies to chocolate chip cookies. It turns out, chickpeas are a terrific base for mooncakes, too. Read more to see how they’re made:
Ingredients Used to Vegan Chickpea Mooncakes
**I’ve linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Chickpeas – Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, phosphorous, chickpeas have a satisfying nutty flavor and great additions to a healthy diet. Research shows that chickpeas have been linked to preventing the development of diabetes and heart diseases. It also has a beneficial effect on your gut flora due to its soluble fiber raffinose! In my recipes, you can use either canned chickpeas or chickpeas you’ve cooked yourself.
- Almond Butter – like this one. You can also use other natural nut butters like pecan butter, walnut butter, cashew butter, mixed nut butter, or even seed butter like sunflower. So many choices!
- Coconut flour – Coconut flour does not substitute well, and I can’t recommend swapping coconut flour with other ingredients in this recipe.
- Maple Syrup – I used maple syrup for this recipe but you can use other liquid sweeteners of choice like honey, agave syrup, or liquid stevia
For the Filling You’ll Need
- Sweetened White Bean Paste (a.k.a. Shiro An) – fudgy and sweet, white bean paste is a perfect filling for mooncakes. You’re welcome to use other fillings for this recipe. More ideas below in the “variation” section
More Chickpea Recipes
The main highlight of mooncakes is their beautiful engraved patterns and shapes. Mooncake molds are readily available at different Chinese grocery stores. You can also find it online, especially on amazon. They are of premium quality and quite affordable. I got the 50g mooncake molds here
How to Make
How to Make Vegan Chickpea Mooncake Recipe
Blend chickpeas, 3 Tbsp coconut flour, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth
The dough should be soft, but still firm dough that can be rolled up into a ball without sticking to your hands. Add more coconut flour (at most, 1 Tablespoon more) if the dough seems too soft. Once done, divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and roll into a ball (about 20-30 grams of dough each).
Prepare the filling- roll the sweetened white bean paste filling into a heaping tablespoon-sized balls (about 30g).
Flatten the dough into a thin disk using the palms of your hands, place about 30g of filling in the middle. Cover the filling with the dough and gently squeeze the dough into a ball. The ball really does not have to be perfect or smooth, because you’ll be using the mooncake mold to press these rough edges into shape anyways.
Use a well-greased mooncake mold to press the dough into shape. A non-stick cooking spray works well to ensure that the mold is properly greased.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden and dry. The bottom of the cakes should be lightly browned.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
There are so many types of fillings used in traditional mooncakes. Sweet Bean Paste, Lotus Paste, Jujube Paste and Nuts/seeds are just a couple of examples. For a different kind of filling you can also try these ideas below:
- Lotus paste – classic! You can buy these in the refridgerated section in a Asian grocery store, or buy them online (like Amazon, here)
- Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) – on Amazon, here
- Koshi-an (sweetened red bean paste) – on Amazon, here
- Matcha paste : 1/2 cup Shiro-on mixed with 1/2 tsp matcha powder; or Matcha Chickpea Filling (recipe here)
- Coffee paste : 1/2 cup Shiro-a mixed with 2 tsp coffee extract (click on the link to see my 2 ingredient coffee bean paste recipe here)
- Purple sweet potato – mashed, lightly sweetened and rolled into a ball
- Chopped Nut filling – can be peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, you name it!
- Cheesecake – it’s just how it sounds like 🙂 Use a mini circular cookie cutter to cut a small circle of cheesecake and use it to fill these mooncakes.
- Nutella paste: 1/2 cup Shiro-on mixed with 1 Tbsp Nutella (or Nutiva)
- Cookie dough: like my healthy chickpea cookie dough made in the food processor (recipe here)
Use any nut butter of choice to replace almond butter.
How to Make this Healthier
- Storebought lotus pastes and sweet bean pastes are delicious, but rather high in refined sugar and calories. While I still recommend you use the storebought kinds to make these mooncakes as close to the original texture as possible, there are many healthier alternatives for the filling, such as mashed sweet potato (the best ones are Asian sweet potato and Purple Sweet Potato), chickpea cookie dough or chopped nuts (I’ll post the recipe on this later).
- I also love adding nuts, seeds and other ingredients to the filling that add texture, fiber and nutrition. Try adding nuts or dried fruit to the filling before rolling into tablespoon sized balls.
- If you want to increase fiber, mix a Tablespoon of ground flaxseed or coconut flour to the filling.
- For a protein boost, you can also add a Tablespoon of protein powder of your choice. I’ve tried using an unsweetened plant-based protein powder. You can also use this chocolate protein powder
How to Store
- You can store these cakes covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. For longer storage, you can place them in a plastic freezer bag or airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 4 months.
- I found that these mooncakes taste WAY better the day after they are made. I don’t know how to explain it other than that these mooncake crusts have a better flavor and develop a more melt-in-the-mouth, tender texture when they have a chance to rest in the fridge overnight. So for the best flavor and texture, I recommend that you store these mooncakes inside an airtight container and let them cool in the fridge for at least 8 hours before eating.
More Mooncake Recipes
More Vegan, Gluten-Free Mooncake Recipes Coming Up:
Go to my Healthier Mooncake Experiment post to see more ideas!
Vegan Chickpea Mooncakes
- In a food processor, blend chickpeas, 3 Tbsp coconut flour, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth. The key to this recipe is blending them until very smooth, so scrape down the sides and blend until no visible chickpea chunks remain (about 1-2 minutes)
- The dough should be soft, but still firm dough that can be rolled up into a ball without sticking to your hands. Add more coconut flour (at most, 1 Tablespoon more) if the dough seems too soft. Once done, divide the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces and roll into a ball (about 20-30 grams of dough each).
- Prepare the filling- roll the sweetened white bean paste filling into a heaping tablespoon-sized balls (about 30g).
- Flatten the dough into a thin disk using the palms of your hands, place about 30g of filling in the middle. Cover the filling with the dough and gently squeeze the dough into a ball. The ball really does not have to be perfect or smooth, because you’ll be using the mooncake mold to press these rough edges into shape anyways.
- Use a well-greased mooncake mold to press the dough into shape. A non-stick cooking spray works well to ensure that the mold is properly greased.
- Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden and dry. The bottom of the cakes should be lightly browned.
- For best flavor and texture, let the mooncakes cool in the fridge overnight (or at least 8 hours) sealed inside an airtight container. This extra step ensures that the mooncake crust to soften and become more chewy, rather than tough.