We decorate and paint them, carve and illuminate them, but cooking with them other than in the fall is often not considered. Pumpkins are so nutrient dense and you shouldn’t have to wait until this time of year to cook and bake with them!
Some of the health benefits of pumpkin:
- Rich in vitamins and minerals while low in calories
- High in potassium that can help regulate blood pressure
- Contain antioxidants that can help prevent degenerative eye damage
- One of the best sources of beta carotene
- High in fiber and heart healthy due to the fiber as well as potassium and vitamin C
The first time I made these, I had too high a ratio of dry to wet ingredients and they fell apart when I cut them into bars. I also didn’t bake them, which is not necessary, but baking gives them a warm and toasty flavor. It also helps to melt the wet ingredients through the dry so when they’re sliced, they will hold together. The pumpkin granola cereal or crumbles (as I called my first batch) was still delicious mixed with yogurt, but it was not what I was going for.
The second time I made them, I got the wet to dry ratio correct but I still didn’t bake them. The flavor was good, but I felt like something was missing. I split up the batch and baked half for a family taste test and vote. The baked and chilled won!
2 cups oatmeal (*look for gluten free if you have dietary restrictions)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup slightly melted coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9×13 glass baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients and stir.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir very well being sure to coat all the the oatmeal mixture with the wet. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Press the granola mixture tightly into the baking dish using your hands to press down and eliminate any spaces.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate for several hours before slicing. Store sliced bars in the refrigerator in a covered container.
Healthy, tasty, kid approved and great as a snack!