Hello friends! Quick disclaimer: I came up with this recipe in summer and wanted to ‘save it’ for pumpkin season, but re-take better photos. Photos never happened, but here’s the recipe regardless, with a few mediocre pics! I still wanted to share the recipe, because these easy and scrumptious homemade pumpkin peanut butter granola bars are worth whipping up.
Now, if you’re not into pumpkin spice, fear not. These are not pumpkin spice-y. In fact, the pumpkin flavor is pretty subtle.
Rather than act as the main showboat of the recipe, pumpkin acts as a binder for these granola bars and ensures they stay nice and moist and chewy (the way granola bars should be, in my opinion).
When paired with your favorite nut butter (I used peanut, but use whatever suits your fancy), a splash of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of salt, you’ve got a satisfying, sweet-and-savory way to mix up your snack game.
I LOVE IT. Anyways, I don’t always share my Spoon stuff on my blog (if you want more Spoon, I usually do archive my pieces under the “Published” tab), but I really think this is a fun quick piece on 30 Foods that Surprisingly Vegan. You can read the piece published on Spoon here, or you can poke around below. Enjoy !
The Home-Style Butter Cream, Caramel, Classic Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Pecan, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Lemon Supreme and Strawberry Cream varieties are all vegan. Cheers to vegan buttercream! Now hand us the spoon.
3. Duncan Hines Cake Mixes:
In Classic Carrot, Moist Deluxe Butter Golden, Classic Yellow, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Devil’s Food, Fudge Marble, German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Swiss chocolate, Coconut Supreme, Lemon Supreme, Pineapple Supreme AND Strawberry Supreme all contain no dairy or eggs. Some people may get finicky about food dye sources, but for most, all of the above are vegan-friendly. Swap out the eggs and butter/oil for a can of soda or sparkling water and you’ve got yourself the fluffiest vegan cake you could ever want.
4. Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix
Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Pistachio, and Banana Creame are all vegan! Add your favorite non-dairy milk and you’re good to go.
5. Smucker’s Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping
As marshmallows contain gelatin (made from cow hooves), lots of vegans pass them up. But now vegans can rejoice – Smucker’s has made a gelatin-free version AKA vegan marshmallow fix is possible.
6. Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito (minus the cheese)
No lard in these beans, bitches!
7. Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists
For after the lard-free burrito.
8. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
For your soy milk, almond milk and non-dairy ice cream delight.
9. Chipotle Sofritas
Which honestly everyone should try.
10. Betty Crocker’s Bac-O’s Bacon Flavor Bits
We’re not sure if this is something to celebrate or be very, very afraid of.
11. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Ahh, the buttery taste of vegetable oils.
12. Ritz Crackers
Another food that prides itself on butter flavor, yet has none. Pass us a sleeve with some soy cheese, please!
13. Unfrosted Pop-Tarts
In Brown Sugar, Blueberry and Strawberry. Because Pop-Tarts are important.
14. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
A great shortcut to a delicious vegan dessert or appetizer.
15. Lindt Excellence Cocoa Bars in 70%, 85% and 90%
16. Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies
In Chocolate, Oatmeal Macaroon, Peanut Butter and Vanilla.
17. Goya Flan
Yeah, another thing we’re not going to try to explain.
18. Nutter Butters
19. Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars
In Apple Crisp, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Pean Crunch, Roasted Almond AND Maple Brown Sugar. We are so darn excited it hurts. Bring on the crumbs!
20. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers
We suggest you pair these with some of that chocolate frosting mentioned above. #yum
21. Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies
In Apple, Cherry and Peach. PIE ME.
22. Thomas’s New York Style Bagels
In Blueberry, Cinnamon Swirl, Everything and Plain. Because carbs. And tofu cream cheese.
23. Super Pretzel Baked Soft Pretzel
Glorious, glorious salty carbs.
24. Chocolate Chip Teddy Grahams
Delicious and vegan. And so darn cute we can BEARly stand it.
25. DQ Star Kiss Bar
A non-dairy ice cream bar at Dairy Queen. Paradoxical, but we dig it.
26. Sara Lee’s Frozen Pies
In Cherry and Apple. We’ll take both.
22. Mast Brother’s Chocolate
No dairy in most varieties. WIN. WIN. WIN.
27. Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookies
Spicy sweet perfection. Pro tip: dip in almond butter.
28. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Chocolate Bars
Dark Chocolate, 72% Dark Chocolate and Bittersweet with Almonds. We love you Trader Joe’s.
29. Trader Joe’s Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles
Again, we love you Trader Joe’s.
30. Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
Just sub an egg substitute like a tablespoon chia seeds and some almond milk or a few tablespoons of apple sauce and you’re seconds away from gooey vegan brownies.
I have a granola bar addiction. There’s something so wonderful about these tiny squares of oats loaded with other goodies that I can never get enough of.
I think my granola bar obsession peaked in college because granola bars became “special treats.” Let’s face it: groceries in New York can be expensive. As in a box of 5 Kashi bars is literally $7.99 at Duane Reade. Unless I bought granola bars at Trader Joe’s which I find a leeetle bit too sweet sometimes, granola bars became occasional treats I would buy only when they were on sale or when I was home on breaks. And then on breaks I’d go to Target and buy like 10 boxes of granola bars and pack them all in my suitcase and bring them back to school with me. I’m sure if my luggage ever got searched it was a lol to TSA.
My dream granola bar is chewy, full of big chunks of nuts and lots of textures, and loaded with dried fruit, and a healthy dose of chocolate. Most of the time. Other times I want something a little simpler and more like a not-sweet snack that will keep me going in the afternoon. That’s right folks – sometimes I want things that aren’t too sweet. Gasp. I know. The nice thing about cooking/baking is that if you want these babies sweeter, you can add as much sugar as you like and make ’em to your liking. Making things from scratch is great, isn’t it? Thought so.
These bars have a nice, deep earthy flavor thanks to the pumpkin + sunflower combo. Grinding up the nuts into a nut butter not only binds the oats together, but gives them a hearty texture and some staying power thanks to all the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats they have to offer.
I honestly liked these more than I expected to. They’re chewy but hearty. And they have this distinct deep savory-sweet flavor that keeps you wanting to nibble. They’ll grow on you with every bite. Prep time is minimal, and one batch gives you a whole pan / week’s worth of snackies. I suggest you mix up your usual granola bar routine and give these a whirl. Make your days be full of peace, love, and excessive amounts of granola goodness. 🙂
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds [or, if you have it, 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter + 1/2 cup sunflowers]
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup – 3/4 cup brown sugar, depending on desired sweetness
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional, but recommended)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place 1/2 cup sunflower seeds in a food processor and puree until the seeds reach a smooth nut butter paste. Add canned pumpkin and continue to puree until well mixed.
3. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Mix well.
4. Add pumpkin/sunflower seed butter mixture to the oat mixture. Mix until well combined and all oats are moist. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and mix again. The mixture will be thick and cookie-dough like.
5. Line a 9×9 baking sheet with parchment paper or grease well. Pour dough into pan and press down using a spatula or your hands.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and fragrant and edges begin to pull away from the sides slightly. They make seem a little gooey when you take them out of the oven but they will continue to set as they cool.
7. Cool completely and cut into whatever sized bars you want. Store in an airtight container or bag for up to a week.