I love fall. I love the arrival of September, and with it the abundance of apples, pumpkins, and squash. I love seeing the leaves change, and I love returning to soups and stews that warm you up from head to toe. Fall is the season of sweaters, pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, and Halloween. Fall is the season of Thanksgiving, my favourite holiday. Fall is what it means to be cozy. “Fall,” as Lauren DeStefano writes, “has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Last week I was bundled in a sweater, sipping a pumpkin latte while taking the dog for a walk through the park. Today, I am back in a summer dress and sandals. Although the weather in St. Louis has been swaying between warm and cool, my mind is already in fall overdrive. I’m making apple crisps, acorn squash, and this weekend, I made a fall-inspired granola. I used oats as the base for the granola, with red quinoa, dried cranberries, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds that stand out like jewels among the browned, toasted oats and pecans. Smothered in a maple pumpkin puree, this granola not only looks like fall, but also tastes like fall. Hurry up, sweater weather. I’m waiting for you.
(Note: the pumpkin latte was made with real baked pumpkin and maple syrup. No gross syrup here- just the good stuff!)
Why eat pumpkin? The orange colour of pumpkin comes from its carotenoid and beta-carotene content, which your body converts into vitamin A. The antioxidant qualities of beta-carotene have been shown to prevent cancer, and the carotenoids and vitamin A, C, E in pumpkin help to prevent your skin from aging by fighting off toxins and free radicals. Pumpkin is furthermore extremely high in potassium, with a whopping 564 mg compared to the banana’s 422 mg per cup! In addition, the high zinc content of pumpkin is helps to boost your immunity and is beneficial to prostate health.
If you need anymore convincing, pumpkin seeds are also full of heart healthy phytosterols that help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and are teeming with the amino acid trytophan. Trytophan helps your body produce serotonin, a chemical crucial in regulating and balancing your mood. Pumpkin seeds are also a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. 1 oz alone will provide you with 8.5 grams of protein!
Pumpkin Spiced Fall Granola
*yields 6 cups
- 3 cups oats
- 3/4 cup red quinoa
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup apple chips
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, blend the oats, red quinoa, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, goji berries, spices, coconut sugar, and salt. I found that adding the apple chips in with the granola and pumpkin purée in the oven made them soggy, so set them aside for after.
- Pour the granola mixture into the baking tray.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk the pumpkin purée with the coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
- Remove the pumpkin mixture from the heat, and pour over the dry granola mixture.
- Using a spatula, spread the pumpkin purée over the dry granola, spreading it evenly and coating as much granola as possible.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking tray from the oven every ten minutes to flip and stir the granola. Once it has been in the oven for 20 minutes, mix it every few minutes to make sure the granola is evenly toasted.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Once cool, add the apple chips and mix well.
- Enjoy as it is, or with your milk of choice.
What’s your favourite thing about fall? What kind of granola do you like? Let me know in the comments below!
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
more granola recipes:
superfood granola + almond macadamia milk by dolly & oatmeal
high protein + high fibre cereal by oh she glows
grace’s granola of nuts and fruits by happy belly, written by my lovely friend maria