Pumpkin Pecan Granola

Inspired by Emily’s post about oatmeal, I decided to continue with the breakfast trend. Breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day, so much that I would be completely happy in life if I could eat three breakfasts a day. I can often be caught making breakfast for dinner, or “brinner” as I like to call it. There’s something about homemade breakfast that I always find delicious and satisfying, and I just can’t seem to get enough of it.

Since I usually only have time for a quick bowl of cereal or oatmeal in the morning, I get especially excited to wake up to a homemade breakfast during the weekdays. My favorite make-ahead breakfast is granola. Although I’ll admit it is much simpler to just buy a box of granola from the grocery store, making it from scratch is surprisingly easy. Plus, you can tailor the recipe to your own flavor preferences so that you love every bite of it. Making granola at home is also a great way to control how much sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients are in your breakfast. If you make it, then you know exactly what is in it!

I have been playing around with this Pumpkin Pecan Granola recipe for a while now because I wanted to make sure it was flavorful enough without being too sweet. I increased the spices because doubling the cinnamon in a recipe is a standard revision in my family. The combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove give the cereal a spicy and warm flavor and reminds me of pumpkin pie during the holidays. The applesauce and pure maple give natural sweetness to the the granola, but still follow Emily’s cereal guidelines:  1/2 cup of granola should have between 5-10 g of sugar, and should ideally be closer to 5 g.  This granola comes in at about 6-7 g of sugar/half cup serving, which falls nicely in her suggested range. Emily especially likes this granola because it is gluten-free, and it has some added nutrient bonuses: the pumpkin puree is a good source of vitamin A, and the buttery pecans provide vitamin E, fiber, and mono-saturated fat (which is a healthy fat).

My favorite way to eat this granola is with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (an excellent source of vitamin E and calcium) and fresh berries (loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C), but it would be equally as delicious on top of some plain greek yogurt (packed with protein) or dry as a quick snack. It also makes the house smell heavenly when it’s in the oven–enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pecan Granola

  • 6 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • generous 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • generous 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, salt, and chopped pecans. Mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat and spice mixture and stir until well-combined. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheets. If you want your granola a little clumpy (as I do) squeeze the oats in one fist and let them gently drop from your hands.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans from oven and stir, and switch racks when putting them back in the oven (this ensures even baking between the two pans). Bake for another 15 minutes and do the same thing. Then, depending on how crunchy you like your granola, bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden and crisp to your liking. Let cool completely before eating and store in an airtight container.

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