Mooncakes are traditionally made with flour and eggs, but these sweet vegan pistachio mooncakes skip these ingredients for a gluten-free and vegan option. Each bite of the pistachio mooncakes is filled with nutty and earthy notes that are out of this world.
The pistachio flavor really shines in these mooncakes. Having a mung bean filling adds a nice sweetness to the mooncakes, but it doesn’t take away from the rich pistachio flavors. Adding in a bit of matcha only brings out the pistachio’s hidden flavors.
Once you have a bite of these pistachio mooncakes, you’ll realize that delicious and healthy mooncakes are possible!
Here’s why I love this recipe
- easy to prepare
- under 5 ingredients
- gluten free
- low carb
- low calories
Ingredients Used to Make these Sweet Pistachio 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 🙂
- Pistachio Butter – Pistachio Butter is a creamy smooth spread made with finely ground pistachios and neutral flavored oil, and it’s what gives this mooncake crust a tender, melt-in-your mouth texture. If you don’t have pistachio butter at home, you’re also free to use other creamy nut butter, such as cashew butter, or peanut butter.
- Almond flour – I used blanched almond flour. But you can also make your own by blending raw or blanched, slivered almonds in the food processor and sifting them through a sieve.
- Sugar – You can use any granulated sugar of your choice (I used golden monk fruit sweetener here) but for even healthier alternatives, I recommend using coconut, date and maple sugars which are less processed and higher in vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind though that darker sugars do impact the final colors of these mooncakes, and they’ll appear darker. For the lower carb, lower calorie option, you can use a sugar-free substitute such as stevia powder (but you’ll have to convert the amount of stevia according to package directions).
- Milk or water – you just need to add a little moisture to hold the cookie crust dough together. I used unsweetened almond milk, but you can also use regular milk or just plain water.
For the Filling You’ll Need
- Matcha Mung Bean Paste – soft, creamy and sweet, matcha mung bean paste is used as a filling for this pistachio mooncakes recipe. Here’s the recipe for it right here:
- You’re also welcome to use other fillings, such as lotus paste, sweetened white bean paste or red bean paste.
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 75g and 125g mooncake molds here
More Recipes that Use Nuts as the Main Ingredient (HERE)
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Sweet Pistachio Mooncakes
STEP 1: Prepare mooncake filling
Roll about 3-4 Tablespoons of the filling into balls. Set aside.
STEP 2: Make Mooncake Crust
Mix pistachio butter, almond flour, sugar and milk together until smooth
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (or more depending on the size of the mooncake mold)
Flatten each piece of dough into a disk, then wrap the prepared filling with the dough (it doesn’t have to be perfect, since it’ll be pressed into shape)
Use a lightly greased*** mold to press the dough into mooncake shapes and set onto a clean parchment paper. I used a 125g mooncake mold, but you can use any mold size you have at home – just be sure to adjust the filling size.
***I used olive oil cooking spray to grease my mooncake mold. If you don’t have olive oil cooking spray you can use other vegetable oil sprays or melted coconut oil.
Once all the dough is molded into mooncakes, bake in a preheated 325F oven for 7-9 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden-brown. DON’T OVERBAKE! These mooncakes burn very easily, and since they’re vegan they only need to be baked until they’re slightly golden on top.
For the best texture, store these mooncakes inside an airtight container and chill overnight in the fridge (room temperature is also fine). The mooncakes actually taste better the day after.
Slice and Enjoy!
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
There are many types of fillings used in traditional mooncakes. Here are some ideas below:
- Lotus paste – classic! You can buy these in the refrigerated section in a Asian grocery store, or buy them online (like Amazon, here)
- Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) – on Amazon, here, or here’s a Shortcut White Bean Paste Recipe I make when I’ve run out of Shiro An
- Koshi-an (sweetened red bean paste) – on Amazon, here
- Mung Bean paste – sweet and delightfully yellow, homemade mung bean paste is a perfect mooncake filling for those who are looking for a healthier bean paste alternative. Here’s my 2-Ingredient mung bean paste recipe here
- Coffee paste : 1/2 cup Shiro-an mixed with 2 tsp coffee extract (click on the link to see my 2 ingredient coffee bean paste recipe here)
You can also play around with different Crust flavors, too.
- Chocolate mooncakes – add 1 Tbsp of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients before mixing; add some mini chocolate chips to the filling before rolling into tablespoon sized (about 30 gram) balls.
- Lemon-Pistachio mooncakes – add 1 tsp of lemon extract to the crust batter, and 1 Tbsp of lemon zest to the filling recipe.
How to Make Pistachio Mooncakes Healthier
- Storebought bean pastes and lotus 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 also love adding nuts, seeds and other ingredients to the bean paste 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 bean paste filling.
See All My Mooncake Recipes (HERE):
How to Store
- You can store these pistachio mooncakes 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.
- Depending on the brand of the pistachio butter, you may need more almond flour to hold the pistachio mooncake dough. You want your resulting dough to be soft but still firm enough to be rolled into a ball.
- I found that these mooncakes taste 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. So for the best flavor and texture, I recommend that you store these mooncakes inside an airtight container and wait at least 8 hours before eating.
Vegan Pistachio Mooncakes with Mung Bean Filling
- 1 125 g mooncake mold
Filling of Choice (read note* for options)
- 300 g MATCHA MUNG BEAN PASTE FILLING link to recipe
Mooncake Filling (read note* for options)
- Prepare mooncake filling. Roll about 3-4 Tablespoons of the filling into balls (adjust size if using smaller mooncake mold). Set aside.
- Mix pistachio butter, almond flour, sugar and milk together until smooth
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (or more depending on the size of the mooncake mold)
- Flatten each piece of dough into a disk, then wrap the prepared filling with the dough
- Use a ligtly greased*** mold to press the dough into mooncake shapes and set onto a clean parchment paper. I used a 125g mooncake mold, but you can use any mold size you have at home – just be sure to adjust the filling size!
- Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 7-9 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden-brown. DON'T OVERBAKE! These mooncakes burn very easily, and since they're vegan they only need to be baked until they're slightly golden on top.
- For the best texture, store these mooncakes inside an airtight container and chill overnight in the fridge. The mooncakes actually taste better the day after.