What do you call a granola bar that tastes similar to a muffin?
If you know, please tell me. In the meantime, I’ll just be sitting here eating one of these chewy pumpkin squares and sipping on a hot cup of tea.
But actually, calling this a granola bar recipe just doesn’t seem accurate.
Yes, it’s cut into squares, contains oats and seeds, and has a maple-cinnamon flavor. But it’s also so soft and almost spongy, giving it a muffin-like feel. It is so similar to these pumpkin nut muffins, but with more wholesome goodness!
And as someone who thinks muffins are one of the superior baked goods, that’s a very good thing.
After all, anyone can buy a granola bar, but not everyone has a hearty homemade version like these on hand.
But what’s even better is that they’re also a nutritious option for a filling snack, or a light breakfast.
Thanks to the flax seeds, oats, applesauce, and pumpkin, there’s so much heart-healthy fiber packed into every bite!
But what gets me the most excited is all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that these are filled with, thanks to the addition of pumpkin and the seeds.
Anytime you see an orange vegetable, it’s a safe bet that it’s high in beta-carotene. Responsible for the orange color, beta-carotene is more than just a pigment, it’s also a powerful antioxidant that may protect us against cancer and heart disease.
Of course, pumpkin is more than just antioxidants. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium, while being low in calories.
Plus, it tastes good!
While the flesh tends to get the most attention, the seeds are just as impressive, if not more.
Also known as “pepitas,” pumpkin seeds are rich in healthy fats and high in protein. They’re also a great source of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper and antioxidants. You can enjoy them raw, or toasted with your favorite spice mix.
Studies looking at the health benefits of these seeds have shown that diets high in these seeds are associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the stomach, colon, breast, lung, and prostate.
Additionally, if you’re having trouble sleeping, the tryptophan, zinc, and magnesium in the seeds may help!
As you read through the ingredient list, there may be a few ingredients you aren’t familiar with: potato flour, sorghum flour, and xanthan gum.
Both flours are gluten free, but to keep the bars from ending up too flat and dense, xanthan gum is added. Acting as an emulsifier and binder, it will give these bars some lift.
However, if you aren’t gluten free, feel free to use all-purpose or white whole wheat flour instead.
Okay, so now you know that A. these bars are essentially a muffin in bar form and B. they are packed with nutrition, there’s really no excuse not to make them.
Plus, they’ll make your kitchen smell amazing!Print
These soft and chewy pumpkin granola bars essentially take all the best flavors of fall and wrap them into a healthy, snack-sized package. Read more now.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
- 1/4 cup potato flour
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 11-by-9-inch baking dish with coconut oil or spray, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, ground flax, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, flours, xanthan gum, and sunflower seeds. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin, egg, molasses, honey, vanilla, and coconut oil.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well-combined.
- Spread mixture into the baking dish, using a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and lightly press them down.
- Bake 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and the edges start to pull away from the sides.
- Cool for 5 minutes and then cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
Note: If you’re not concerned about keeping this recipe gluten free, you can use 1 cup of all-purpose flour in place of the sorghum flour, potato flour, and xanthan gum.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Category: Granola Bar
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin seed, granola bar
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Preheat Oven, Grease Pan, and Measure Ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease an 11-by-9-inch baking dish with coconut oil or spray. Set aside.
Measure out all of your ingredients.
You can use a store-bought applesauce, or try our homemade maple cinnamon pressure cooker version.
Step 2 – Make Batter
Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well-combined.
Step 3 – Pour Mixture Into Pan and Bake
Spread mixture into the baking dish, using a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle with the seeds and lightly press them down.
Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and the edges start to pull away from the sides.
Step 4 – Cool and Slice
Cool for 5 minutes and then cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
Leftovers keep best in the fridge for up to 5 days. Bars can also be wrapped individually and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Use Up Leftover Pumpkin
After the accomplishment of making your own bars that are essentially fall in bite-sized form, you may be wondering what to do with the remaining canned puree.
The first step is to scoop the remaining pumpkin out of the can and into an airtight container if you won’t be using it right away.
Place that container in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 5 days. Notice some water on the top? Simply give it a good stir before using.
Here are some Foodal-approved recipes for a healthy breakfast to use up the rest of your pumpkin:
If you don’t plan to use the remaining pumpkin within 5 days, pour it into freezer-safe containers and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. This option is perfect for making smoothies or chili down the road.
What are your favorite uses for leftover pumpkin? Share in the comments below, and be sure to leave a rating after you’ve had a chance to try this recipe!
Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 4, 2011. Last updated: May 19, 2023 at 13:51 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD
Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.