The first leaves have fallen. That means it’s time to bust out the boots, throw on a scarf, and whip up a batch of Healthy Pumpkin Bars.
Maybe I’ve been sitting too close to a lit pumpkin spice candle, but I felt the air change this week.
Instead of flip-flops and short-sleeved tees, I found myself subconsciously reaching for slippers and scarves.
I’m also dumping cinnamon on everything (plus baking Cinnamon Blondies), and debating how to use my first purchased can of precious pumpkin.
While Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies would be a tasty choice, I think these healthy pumpkin bars may just edge them out of contention.
5 Star Review
“YESSSSSS!!!!! These are fantastic.”— Tracy —
Packed with pumpkin flavor and warm spices, these healthy pumpkin bars are everything I love about fall (and dessert) in a single recipe.
- They’re ultra moist, pleasantly chewy, and incredibly filling.
- Loaded with taste-good, feel-good ingredients like cranberries, ginger, and dark chocolate (like these Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars).
- Thanks to pumpkin and peanut butter, these oatmeal breakfast bars contain no butter or no oil so they’re low in fat.
- Contain zero processed sugar. Instead, they’re naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup (like this Vegan Pumpkin Bread).
- A “dessert” that’s also socially acceptable for breakfast (like these Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins).
I was a bit worried about how the pumpkin and peanut butter would go together, but the combo turned out to be perfect.
How to Make Healthy Pumpkin Bars
Similar to my Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars but with the addition of pumpkin, these healthy baked pumpkin oatmeal bars are moist, flavorful, and ultra-versatile.
- Oats. Add texture and a little chew to these pumpkin bars.
- Oat Flour. A wholesome, nutty flour choice that also has the added bonus of being gluten free (reminder: always check your labels).
- Peanut Butter. Makes the bars moist, but its flavor is subtle.
- Pumpkin. Packed with fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants, pumpkin is the true star of these healthy bars. Make sure you don’t accidentally use pumpkin pie filling!
- Ginger. I went a little heavy on the ginger because I love the way it tastes paired with the pumpkin.
- Maple Syrup. No sugar required. These healthy pumpkin bars are naturally sweetened with nature’s best.
Pumpkin Bar Mix-Ins
Add 1/2 cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, or even toasted coconut flakes. Here are a few of my favorite combos:
- Dark Chocolate Chips + Cranberries
- Pumpkin Seeds + Coconut Flakes
- Dried Apricots + Pecans
- Walnuts + Raisins
I’ve been making these bars on repeat for weeks, yet the versatile mix-ins make them a little different every time.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and then fold in any desired mix-ins.
- Transfer to a baking pan and bake until golden.
- Let cool, remove from pan, and slice. ENJOY!
How to Store Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- To Store. Leftover pumpkin oatmeal bars can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or at room temperature for 3 days.
- To Freeze. Individually wrap the bars, and freeze them in a ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or on the counter for a few hours if you are in a hurry!).
Never mind that the forecast is 69 degrees; fall is here. My boots, scarf, and stash of healthy pumpkin bars are (finally) ready!
Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tried making this recipe with wheat-based flour so it would be an experiment. If you wish to swap the oat flour for regular flour, I would suggest using an equal amount of white whole wheat flour. Note that the texture of the bars will likely turn out different and they will no longer be gluten free.
Yes. You may swap the canned pumpkin for an equal amount of pureed fresh pumpkin.
I have not tried adapting this recipe to be vegan in my kitchen. If you’d like to experiment, you can try swapping the egg for a flax egg and the milk for your favorite non-dairy milk of choice. Let me know your results if you attempt in the comments. Or try this Vegan Pumpkin Pie or these Vegan Pumpkin Muffins.
Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- 2 1/4 cups rolled oats or quick oats; do not use instant oatmeal
- 1/2 cup oat flour*
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder (I recommend aluminum-free)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin filling
- 1 cup milk of choice (skim, almond, soy, etc.)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade B)
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter almond butter, or other nut butter of choice
- 1/2 cup desired mix-ins: chopped nuts dried cranberries, chocolate chips, diced apricots, coconut (I used 1/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, egg, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients, then gently stir by hand, just until combined. Fold in any desired mix-ins.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until golden and set on top, dry at the edges, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan completely, then slice into bars.
- *To make your own oat flour, grind regular rolled oats in a food processor for 1-2 minutes, until they are pulverized to a flour-like consistency. You’ll need just over 1/2 cup rolled oats to yield 1/2 cup oat flour, but be sure to measure before adding it to the recipe!
- TO STORE: Leftover pumpkin oatmeal bars can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or at room temperature for 3 days.
- TO FREEZE: Pumpkin bars may be individually wrapped and frozen in a ziptop bag for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or on the counter for a few hours if you are in a hurry!).
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