Pumpkin Oatmeal Anytime Squares (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

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My Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bar recipe seems to be the hit of the season so far on the blog. I’ve had quite a few questions about how to make the bars oil-free, so I figured it was a good opportunity to play around with the recipe. Pumpkin naturally lends moisture to baked goods and I’m happy to say it worked well as an oil replacement in this recipe. I’m also guessing the same amount of mashed banana might work too, but when in pumpkin season…#pumpkinallthethings! I added some pumpkin pie spices to enhance the pumpkin flavour. The result is a much lighter and softer/cake-y bar compared to the original recipe, but the upshot is that these feel light enough for a morning snack. Or at least I sure hope so because I’ve been nibbling away at them each morning when I try to decide what to make for my actual breakfast.

I know some of you also asked about a nut-free option, so I tried a couple versions subbing the almond flour. I didn’t create anything worthy of sharing yet (my trials using oat flour + arrowroot powder and sorghum flour were both drier than I would have liked). Maybe I would have better luck adapting the original recipe with coconut oil? Be sure to leave a comment and let us know if you had any success. I’ll also let you know if I test a nut-free version worth sharing!

My favourite way to enjoy these pumpkin bars is to spread some vegan butter on top (similar to how I love freshly baked muffins!). I guess that defeats the whole oil-free thing, but it sure is tasty. They would also be awesome with my Lightened Up Pecan Pumpkin Butter. I stashed a bunch of the squares in the freezer and found that they freeze well too.

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4.7 from 42 reviews
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Pumpkin Oatmeal Anytime Squares

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free

By

Soft and muffin-like in texture, these oil-free pumpkin oatmeal bars are light enough for breakfast and all your snacking needs.

Yield
9-12 squares
Prep Time
Cook time

Ingredients:

  • 1 flax egg: (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin purée
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour (Or use 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (not almond meal)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (for enhanced binding)
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mini non-dairy chocolate chips, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flax egg in a small bowl or mug and set aside to thicken for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin and sugar with electric beaters until combined.
  4. Pour in the flax egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  5. Add the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and beat again.
  6. Finally add in the oat flour, rolled oats, almond flour, arrowroot flour, and pecans. Beat until combined.
  7. Spoon dough into prepared pan and spread out until smooth and even. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. I like to cover the dough with a piece of parchment paper and roll it with a pastry roller. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and press down.
  8. Bake for 15-19 minutes (I baked for 18 minutes), until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Be sure not to overbake.
  9. Place pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then, lift out and place square directly on cooling rack for another 10-20 minutes, until cool. Slice and enjoy! The bars will crumble slightly if sliced warm, but they firm up nicely when cooled.

Tips:

Tips: 1) Instead of coconut sugar, you can try using Sucanat or natural cane sugar. Also, if you'd like a less sweet square you can try reducing the sugar a bit. 2) To make the freshly ground oat flour, add 3/4 cup rolled oats into a high speed blender. Blend on high until a fine flour forms. You can also simply use store-bought oat flour (3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon should do it).

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

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Julie June 2, 2017

Have made these time and time again, but with some adjustments.
Instead of sugar I used water-soaked and pureed dates (about 12 will do for my sweet tooth). I also add raisins and roll them in balls instead of squares because making squares makes it more difficult to remove them from the parchment paper. I use parchment paper on the baking pan bc it sticks to the pan.
They are just absolutely delicious and my go-to when I have a craving for sweets.

Reply

Tammy McCaffrey April 28, 2017

This recipe, the pumpkin oatmeal squares. I can’t use almond flour so I was wondering what you can replace it with in any recipe. Also wondering if there is anything you can replace cashews with in dips and soups. Would sunflower seeds work? I know white beans can sometimes work.

Reply

Tammy April 5, 2017

What can you use in your cookie recipes in place of almond flour?

Reply

Angela Liddon April 28, 2017

Hey Tammy, It can depend a bit on the recipe. Do you have a particular cookie recipe in mind?

Reply

Diamond Vitality February 5, 2017
Recipe Rating:

This is a perfect spice combination and texture. Will be making it again soon!

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Stacey November 20, 2016

Please let me know if there is another flour I can use other than almond flour. (I have organic sprouted whole wheat flour & spelt flour on hand, will those work?). Almond flour is just too expensive for our budget, please let me know what can be easily switched for it.

Reply

Ayanna November 6, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Tasty! Both the omnivores and herbivores in our house liked this one. Thank you :)

Reply

Angela Liddon November 7, 2016

That’s so great to hear, Ayanna! So glad it was a hit with everyone. :)

Reply

CG October 19, 2016

Can you please tell me what the difference is between almond flour and almond meal? I thought they were the same thing. Thanks.

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Hilary October 6, 2016
Recipe Rating:

These did not cook at all and fell apart. I did everything correctly.. cooked it at 350F for 18-19 min, and the middle was uncooked and I could roll it in a ball. I decided to do 1 tbsp flour and 3/4 cup oats because it was listed as an option, but that’s probably the reason they didn’t turn out.

Reply

Sharon July 27, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Yet another comment for this recipe! There are so many!

For others users info I substituted very black bananas instead of the sweet potato, and replaced half the oat flour for quinoa flour(I didn’t toast this beforehand) for added protein. I used half sugar and half stevia.
Came out perfectly. Great even if you don’t use chocolate chips.

Also I usually double the recipe and cut into squares when cool. I then wrap each one with cling film and put them in a freezer bag and take a few out as I need them. This way I can keep them fresh if I am using less sugar. Also good to take out if you know you will have friend over and heat them in the oven.

Reply

Angela Liddon July 27, 2016

Thanks so much for sharing, Sharon! Great info. :)

Reply

Lindsay April 8, 2016

Hi Angela
These look and sound incredible! I was wondering what you would recommend being used in place of rolled oats and oat flour in this (and any of your other recipes) as I am the mother of a severely allergic child.
Thank you so much :)

Reply

Angela Liddon April 15, 2016

Hi Lindsay, Oh that’s a tough one for sure! Since the oats make up a large proportion of this recipe I really don’t know if they can be substituted. My first attempt would be to try a mixture of quinoa flakes (to replace the whole oats), and ground nuts (such as ground pecans or almonds) and a different flour to replace the oat flour (such as spelt flour), but it would be an experiment for sure! The texture will change quite a bit and it would probably take some trials to get it right. Let us know if you try anything!

Reply

Kirsty January 4, 2016

I just made these bars to take on my longer training runs, and they are delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe :-)

I didn’t have coconut sugar or pecans, so substituted finely shredded coconut, and chopped almonds. I also found the mixture very dry, so added a couple of extra tbsp of water. It came out great!

Reply

Green Moustache December 8, 2015

These look amazing! We shared them on our most recent blog as they are such a good, healthy treat for the holidays – http://www.greenmoustache.com/juicyblog/2015/12/8/staying-nutrified-this-holiday-season

Thank you for all your wonderful, healthy and delicious recipes. We love your site!

Reply

Christine November 27, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Hi there
Just wanted to add the changes I made (FYI, I did the recipe as written once before altering)…I used sweet potato (baked, then mashed) instead of pumpkin; I used almond meal (almonds ground up in my food processor) instead of $expensive$ almond flour from the store; and reduced the sugar by 1/4 (trying to be a healthier breakfast bar!) and they still turned out awesome:)
Cheers

Reply

Laura November 5, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Angela,
I just made these for the second time and they are SO delicious! I have to confess that I use regular (non-vegan) dark chocolate chips (and not mini ones either) and stir them right in the batter. This time I also added pumpkin seeds for a healthy crunch and used butternut squash puree from one I had roasted instead of canned pumpkin. Still tasted amazing! Thanks again for continuing to come up with such healthy, delicious, and inspiring recipes.
-Laura

Reply

Tishari October 25, 2015
Recipe Rating:

I tried this recipe last week and it was AMAZING!!!! My family gobbled them up!!! I pretty much followed the recipe but used slightly chopped up raw almonds and choc chips for inside as well as on top of the squares. SOOOOOOO good. I’m getting ready to make it again and would like to know if doubling the recipe would work instead of doing two separate batches??

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