Pumpkin Spice Granola (no oil, no sugar)
It took a few tries to perfect, but now this recipe will become a favorite, and probably a staple this time of the year.
What I like about making granola is how wonderful it makes the whole house smell. The best results are obtained when you bake the granola at a low temperature for several hours (even overnight sometimes!). The fragrance is irresistible and at the end you have a healthy breakfast alternative.
Unfortunately, some granola recipes are not much healthier than your typical dessert recipe, containing large amounts of oil and sugar or sugar equivalents (such as maple syrup or agave sweetener). Store-bought granola varieties can be even worse, since they can be loaded with fat, refined sugar and preservatives. It is a challenge to come up with a recipe that is oil and sugar free, and yet has good texture and flavor.
The secret to making this recipe is not only not to let it burn or dry up too much, but also to store in an airtight container to preserve the freshness. You can add more or less sweetener to suit your taste, but I like it the way it is now.
Other variations can be to add walnuts instead of pecans, add more of the pumpkin pie spice, or add other spices to taste. This recipe can easily be just a starting point for those who like to experiment!
10 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups dates
1 1/2 cup (or 1 can) pureed pumpkin
1 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
1 to 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more if you'd like!)
In a big bowl, mix rolled oats, pumpkin seeds and half of the pecans (1/2 cup). Blend the rest of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. If no high-speed blender is available, blend the water, 1/2 cup pecans, dates, salt, and spices, adding more water if necessary. Then incorporate this mix to the pumpkin puree and stir well.
Add the pumpkin mix to the dry ingredients. Mix together well until all the oats are moist. Spread over two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Bake at very low temperature (200 to 250°F) for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours, although baking time will depend on your oven. Convection ovens bake much faster, so use a lower temperature and check sooner to prevent burning. The granola will be ready when it's dry and crunchy but not burned.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool down before storing in an airtight container. Serve with dried cranberries or fruit of choice.
For more healthy and delicious whole-food, plant-based recipes check out my cookbook!