Packed with all of the wonderful flavors of fall – pumpkin pie spice, pecans, pepitas, and dried cranberries – this Pumpkin Spice Granola is a delicious, healthy autumn treat.
I have something to tell you all. I’m not very proud of it. In fact, I’m quite ashamed.
Here it goes: this is the first batch of granola I have made in weeks. Yes, weeks.
Some of you might be thinking “Um, okay, so what?” But those of you that know me, like know me know me, probably just fell off your chair. Craziness, right? I honestly couldn’t tell you the last week that went by that I didn’t make a batch (our vacation to Italy aside). 2013? 2012? Whether it’s Cinnamon Nut, Strawberry Almond, or Lynn’s incredible Almond Joy, a batch of granola is made in our house at least once a week – no excuses, no exceptions.
So why the hiatus? Well, during our little move to Philly, I may have accidently packed up all of our nuts first without considering the granola implications. The horror! But have no fear my friends, all is right in the world again. Now that *almost* everything is unpacked and the dust has settled a bit, I finally got a chance to whip up a nice big batch of granola this past weekend.
And my goodness how I have missed those glorious little clusters.
In celebration of granola’s much-anticipated return to our pantry and, more importantly, to our tummies, I decided to add a little fall pizazz to this batch by adding none other than — you guessed it — PUMPKIN!
I am usually firmly in the “no pumpkin until October” camp, but we’re basically there, and when it comes to welcoming the prodigal-granola back home, all rules go out the window.
Of course, there was no stopping at adding just a little bit of fall pizzaz. Pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), quinoa, extra pecans, craisins, pumpkin spice, a little extra cinnamon were all obviously required to attend the party, too. Go big or go home, as they say.
For this pumpkin spice granola, I must confess, I broke a couple of my cardinal granola rules. Since my granola world was already flipped upside down, I figured, why not keep living on the granola edge and try something new?
For starters, I used a much higher oats to nuts ratio than normal, which is definitely not my usual style. Why? I wanted this granola to be pecan and pepita heavy – my favorite fall nut and seed – and while delicious, pecans and pepitas are on the more expensive side of things, so in an effort to not have this recipe completely break the bank, I upped the amount of oats. PLUS you’ll need those extra oats to soak up some of the moisture from the pumpkiny goodness.
I also broke my no-stir rule. Can you believe it? While I am usually firmly in the no-stir camp when it comes to granola, it’s a must for this recipe, again, because of the extra moisture from the pumpkin. You’ll want to stir this 2-3 times during baking to make sure everything is getting evenly baked and and to ensure that a pumpkin-y film doesn’t start developing on the underside of the granola. While I suggest stirring during the baking process, you definitely do NOT want to stir it after you’ve pulled it out of the oven for the final time. In order for those beautiful little clusters to form, you’ve got to be 100% hands off until it’s completely cool.
I absolutely love the subtle flavor and touch of softness that the pumpkin puree adds to this granola (and without extra fat or excessive calories! ), but, believe it or not, the pumpkin is not my favorite part of this pumpkin spice granola. And that is saying something folks, because I am a pumpkin/pumpkin pie spice fanatic. For me, this pumpkin spice granola is all about the uncooked quinoa and dried cranberries.
I love the extra little crunch that the quinoa provides – just what the doctor ordered to balance out the soft touch of the pumpkin – and the tart yet sweet notes from the dried cranberries pair perfectly with the cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg flavors in the pumpkin pie spice.
While I usually suggest having some fun with your granola and tweaking it to your tastes, I beg of you, do not leave the quinoa or dried cranberries out this time. You won’t regret it, I promise!
I cannot express to you how excited I am to finally have my beloved granola back in my life, in the most festive and flavorful of ways.
And happy [almost!] pumpkin season 😉
- 2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
- ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup pepitas
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, quinoa, sunflower seeds, pecans, pepitas, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, honey, and maple syrup. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Spread out granola mixture on the parchment-lined baking sheet evenly.
- Bake for a total of 55 minutes, until granola is golden brown, stopping to stir at 15 minute intervals - 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes.
- Remove granola from the oven, but DO NOT STIR. Allow the granola to cool completely, then sprinkle the dried cranberries over the top of the granola. Break the granola up and store in an airtight container.
On instagram? Be sure to follow me and tag your recipes #grainchanger so I can see the recipes you make!