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Pumpkin Week: Gluten Free Pumpkin Granola

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Granola

With all this pumpkin madness going on at the lair, no one should be surprised to discover I keep finding myself with half a can of pumpkin puree and no idea what to do with it. It turns out that’s not the only random bit of tasty scraps I have cluttering up the place. This recipe is a great pantry cleaner. I was able to use up my spare pumpkin puree along with the last dregs of assorted dried fruit and chocolate chips all while pretending to be healthy.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Granola

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
½ cup honey or real maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
3 ½ cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Optional Add-Ins:
½ cup dried cherries, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips

I once more accidentally went vegan. I actually like meat. A lot. But I have a lot of vegan friends, and a lot of gluten free friends, and a lot of kosher and halal friends. In addition to being a pantry cleaner, this is also one the few seasonal recipes I can serve nearly all my friends regardless of their diets or food allergies. (Sorry, Paleo people. Come back when it isn’t pumpkin week and I’ll show you all kinds of meaty love.)

To make this disgustingly simple granola, start by mixing the canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling – just plain old pumpkin puree), honey or maple syrup (for the hardcore vegans who don’t eat honey), coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

Once that’s a nice, dark orange paste, mix in the brown sugar, unsweetened coconut flakes, and gluten-free rolled oats. If you’re not serving people with gluten intolerance issues, you can use regular rolled oats. A lot of non-regular oats are processed on the same machinery as wheat products, and even trace amounts can set off a horrible nuclear reaction in the guts of people with celiac disease. When in doubt, go ahead and spend and extra buck on a bag of the oats made in a gluten free facility.

Once everything is mixed together, let it sit for about ten minutes so the liquid will soak into the oats.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Lube up a large cookie sheet (I used a silicone baking mat, but those are expensive. Aluminum foil with some nonstick cooking spray works just fine.) Spread your granola in an even layer across the sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes. Take it out and aggressively mix that stuff up every 10 minutes.

I’m not joking about that last step. If you just leave it there, your granola will burn and your house will smell like someone set fire to a Bed Bath and Beyond. Set a timer. Take your granola out every 10 minutes and really mix it up. If it starts to smell burned, trust your instincts and take it out early.

After 40 minutes of cooking, let it cool on the baking sheet for another 20 minutes.

Now mix in your extras. I added ½ cup each of dark chocolate chips, dried cherries, and dried cranberries. Why? Because that let me empty out a lot of random bags cluttering up my pantry. You can add any dried fruit you’d like.

You can also finish off any seeds or nuts you have around the house by adding them to the wet ingredients when you add the rolled oats. Tasty additions include your leftover pepitas, pecans, walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds.

To be honest, I veer away from pecans, walnuts, and peanuts in my cooking because they’re common food allergies. If you’re blessed with friends who have a hearty digestive system and aren’t too picky, enjoy adding some tasty crunch.

I like to let this sit on the baking sheet overnight to let it finish drying out. (If you have animals or small children, just turn off the oven and put the baking sheet back inside. It can hide there all night.) After that, give it another good stir then put it in a plastic bag. It stays good for at least a week. It probably stays good longer, but mine always disappears before I can make a proper scientific study.

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