Make It Happen Lemon Pie

Guest Post by Ann Casey of The Friday Floatlemon pie

Make the Lemon Pie Happen

Michael Jordon once said, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

My husband, Wild Bill (a highly tongue-in-cheek nickname), used to love lemon pie. It was his favorite. I didn’t say lemon “meringue” pie because he merely tolerated the toasted cloud of egg white that sat on top. And I said “used to” and “was” because he recently thought that sort of delicious dessert was all over for him.

It’s been one of the things his taste buds have cried out for, wept over, and I’m not being wholly hyperbolic here. If you think lemon for a short while, your mouth starts to water. This is your family of taste buds weeping fondly, or in horror, over the possibility of straight lemon juice. The reason Wild Bill’s taste buds were disconsolate over the lack of lemon pie is because he felt like he needed to follow the strict advice of Caldwell Esselstyn, a doctor who is both author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and a star player in the 2011 documentary, Forks Over Knives.

Making a Change for the Better

You may have seen Dr. Esselstyn a few weeks ago as a guest on Sanjay Gupta MD. As always, Esselstyn took the stance that there’s no reason for anyone to experience a heart attack… ever… and that most people can reverse their heart disease, severe or not. They can end up with clear veins and enjoy all the energy and longevity that it implies. President Bill Clinton was also a guest on the show and informed us that, during the last year, only one bite of turkey made its way between his vegetarian lips.

“I like to eat, just like always,” this other Bill said. (A much, much wilder Bill than mine, I might add.) “I just love eating beans and vegetables and such.”

It’s obvious that Clinton doesn’t feel deprived. And neither does Wild Bill. At least, not now that he’s made his lemon pie happen.

My husband had his self-issued orders via Dr. Esselstyn’s book: eat nothing with a face or a mother… and down no added oils. Stringent stuff, yes, but toss the word amazing in there too. Over the course of a year I watched this man shrink from the stereotypical male who is sixtyish, red-faced, big-bellied, and practically racing toward a heart attack to a guy who is at his most fit weight. All this time, as he was studiously avoiding eating things with mothers and faces, he was going to the gym an hour each morning, six days a week. I confess that I was, and am, shocked at the results. Shocked in a good way. Again it brings to mind the quote: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

I have to confess, however, that once in a great while I still like to barbecue something with a face. But I’m seriously considering giving it up. Among Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Esselstyn, President Clinton, and Wild Bill, a remarkable case for a vegan—or at least vegetarian—lifestyle has been built. My Bill lost 60 lbs that year and is in his best shape ever. My eyes have been opened.

But now, on to the quest for a scrumptious vegan lemon pie!

Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free AND Tasty!

Since several people in my family have gluten issues, including me, Bill and I cook gluten-free. So this is a no-bake (and no-oil!) pie crust recipe from Fat Free Vegan that is also gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats. (An interesting aside: my granddaughter is so sensitive to gluten that she can’t tolerate even certified gluten-free oats.) Do feel free to use your own favorite crust, though. Hint: you may want to lightly oil the pie pan first so that you can remove the slices more easily. I promise I won’t tell Dr. Esselstyn or Wild Bill. But you really don’t have to—Bill always manages to patiently excavate the pie pieces from his glass baking dish without pre-oiling.

This particular lemon pie filling has its roots in The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. One more aside,,,if you’re the sort who likes to substitute stevia for part of the sugar, I would suggest a quarter cup stevia, but still keep one cup of regular sugar. For a fascinating overview of “The 5 Best, and 5 Worst, Sweeteners to Have in Your Kitchen” by Rodale, I recommend that you check out.


No-oil, No-bake Crust

Optional: consider lightly oiling the pie pan first or dusting with a sprinkling of crushed nuts to help remove it from the pan.

  • 8 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked (use certified gluten-free oats if gluten is a concern)
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple juice

Place the 8 chopped dates into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the oats and process until crumbly. With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons of apple juice. Continue to process until mixture begins to adhere. If necessary, add more juice a teaspoon at a time, but be very careful not to add too much. You want it to be sticky but not wet. Press into the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan (dipping fingers in apple juice or water if you need to) and up the sides an inch and a quarter. Set aside.


Lemon Pie Filling

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 cup rice milk

¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 or 5 lemons)

2 tablespoons grated lemon rind

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water and rice milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Turn off the heat and slowly stir in the lemon juice and grated rind. Let cool about 30 minutes before pouring into the fatfree pie crust (or a graham cracker crust if you don’t need it to be completely fatfree). Chill thoroughly.

8 servings: about 230 calories per serving

Yum! Make it happen. Wild Bill did.

Ann Casey

Ann Casey is the creator of, a blog dedicated to sharing some pretty good ideas in a fun and unique way. She also creates card designs for Recycled Paper Greetings and is currently polishing a completed mystery manuscript, Butterfly In Black. She continues to try to tame Wild Bill.

[box type=”download”]

【ツ】 Big boatloads of thanks to Ann Casey for bringing her wonderful writing to my humble blog. Thanks, too, to Wild Bill for sharing his culinary derring-do! Show Ann some veggie love by commenting below and perhaps checking out the other words of wisdom you’ll find on her FridayFloat blog. It’s always well worth the time.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on Going Veggie and share your experiences, product reviews or opinions, send me a note at with your ideas. Let’s explore this big veggie world together! ~Veggie Val



4 thoughts on “Make It Happen Lemon Pie

  1. It was a pleasure and privilege to post here, Val. What a great site…so much excellent resource information (and where else, I ask you, can one find such an enormously pleasing quote by Marty Feldman?)

  2. Just found this wonderful blog. Wow, Wild Bill has made some very significant lifestyle changes and has still found a way to have his beloved lemon pie. Thanks to Going Veggie & Ann Casey for sharing this story and including the recipe. Just think …. There is no reason for anyone to experience a heart attack ever & most heart disease can be reversed … Now that’s big news!

  3. You’re certainly welcome on my part, Cherirae, and no doubt on Going Veggie’s part. Isn’t the news about heart disease amazing…and amazingly simple? By the way, I couldn’t resist diving into Val’s wonderful collection of quotes again and found this gem: “A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.” ~P.J. O’Rourke (LOL!)

  4. Thanks for your comments and welcome to the site, Cherirae! Good to know that disease can be reversed, but it’s so tough for some people to get out of that mind set.

Comment Here Please