These chewy pumpkin hemp granola bars are the perfect flavorful, on-the-go vegan snack. With no refined sugars, these guys are perfect for before or after a workout and a great family-friendly, kid-friendly snack!
Gooood morning! All you snack lovers (like myself) can rejoice with today’s recipe. And you pumpkin lovers, too! How was your weekend?
On Saturday, we drove down to Columbia for the UMass/USC game. I feel so far removed from UMass, having graduated in ’08 and being 1,000+ miles away, but I jumped at the chance to see my alma mater play close by. Plus, there’s a Charlotte alumni group here that gathered before the game for a mini tailgate session.
Our friend is a USC season ticket holder so he got us tickets. It was a beautiful fall day for a football game. Neither team is very good this year, so the game was a bit sloppy with a lot of turnovers. UMass totally could have won, but blew it on a few occasions. It was a fun game though.
So, About these Granola Bars…
I think I’ve talked before about how I grew up with basically no cares about food or nutrition. As a very active child, I never worried much about what I was putting into my body (until college). I kid you not, I used to eat a slice of ice cream cake EVERY DAY after school in high school. Every day. My mom knew how much I loved it and it would just always be there in the freezer. Yikes – it’s scary to think about my sugar intake back then.
Anyway, since I was an active child, I was often eating on the go. I had weird snack preferences, but they worked. For example, before a basketball game, I ate sliced cucumbers. Who the heck knows why I chose them as pre game fuel, but I liked chomping on them. I’d also always have a Quaker chewy granola bar. While there are much worse bars out there (with much higher sugar contents), it still wasn’t providing me any protein. It was, however, giving me carbohydrates, which likely benefitted me on the soccer field or basketball court.
Now I always look for granola bars that have some protein.
Because, I snack not to just snack, but to hold me over until my next meal. And without protein and healthy fats, that’s unlikely to happen.
Funny story. I made batches of these before FNCE, thinking I’d have plenty to take with me, but also to come home to. But, I came home to two empty containers because someoneee (read: Ed) loved them so much and ate them.
Worried about protein?
These guys have about 7 grams of protein each. The protein comes from the oats, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds (affiliate link). I’ve been breaking them up and tossing them in my yogurt for a little bit more. Plus, these have no refined sugars. The sweetness comes from maple syrup. They are not overly sweet, though, so if you do like your bars sweeter, you can simply add more. Or a few scoops of coconut sugar.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ⅛ tsp tsp sea salt plus some for topping
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ cup almond butter or peanut butter
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup + 1 tbsp syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Grease 8x8 pan or line with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, seeds, salt, spices, almond butter, pumpkin, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix until fully combined. Fold in chocolate chips last.
- Transfer dough to baking pan and spread evenly over the pan. Press down firmly so it is flat.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until edges turn brown.
- Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before cutting into bars. These will harden slightly upon cooling.
- Top with sea salt and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. I will warn you that the smell of the dough itself is breathtakingly awesome. And then, the baked pumpkin overtakes your kitchen. You’re welcome.
Please make sure to sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over these bad boys while they are cooling. The sea salt is a game changer, in my opinion. And, take these bars everywhere. They are the perfect portable snack, with lots of healthy fats (thanks to the hemp and granola seeds), complex carbs and protein!
What was your favorite granola bar growing up?
Favorite type of seed? I love pumpkin and sunflower seeds!