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These vegan, nut-free Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars are a healthy, fast snack that are only 215 calories each. They hold together beautifully for travel, lunchboxes, or just thrown in a gym bag as a pre or post workout snack. The bars are packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats. They are flavored with pumpkin puree and all the pumpkin pie spices for a healthy Fall snack.
I try to steer my raisin cravings toward healthy choices like these Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars and their best friend, Healthy Pumpkin Muffins and away from Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Sometimes I get a little side-tracked, especially when faced with my 25 Best Pumpkin Recipes or an easy pumpkin roll, but that’s a story for another day!
I baked up a batch of these bars before my husband and I took a 10-day trip down South. As I savored the last healthy pumpkin bar on the plane home to NYC, I marveled at how well the bars fared in my purse throughout the journey.
They were unquestionably just as moist and flavorful as the day I baked them! They actually still looked like bars despite having been crammed in a packed travel purse between a book, my iPad and all the other purse secrets that a lady will never reveal.
Table of Contents
Are Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars healthy?
These Pumpkin Spice Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and are naturally sweet due to dates and a little maple syrup. They have 215 calories and 5 grams of protein. They are a filling snack on the go.
- Dates: I prefer the rich, caramel flavor of medjool dates. Furthermore, they are typically a bit juicier and will create a better binder for bites and bars.
- Wheat Bran: The bran is the outer layers of the wheat kernel. It is mostly fiber but also contains vitamins and antioxidants. I use also use this to keep the wet ingredients together, and wheat bran is a great source of fiber (but not calories!). If you can’t find oat bran, replace it with wheat bran or more rolled oats.
- Oats: Whole rolled oats are a very important dry ingredient in these energy bars. They are gluten free and they act as a dry binder for all the wet ingredients.
- Flaxseed Meal: Flaxseed meal is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and it an excellent binder for healthy snacks. The meal absorbs moisture while adding nutrients and a laundry list of health benefits!
- Coconut Oil: I use organic extra virgin coconut oil in energy bars because it acts as a binder, adds a little bit of fat to keep you full and all the other health benefits are a bonus!
- Spices: It’s best to use spices within one year of purchase. They will be most potent and true to their original flavor. This recipe calls for my Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe.
- Maple Syrup: I use pure Vermont maple syrup. They have changed the rating system but I use what used to be “Grade B” and is now “Grade A: dark amber color and robust flavor.” it has the best flavor and is thicker than the lower grades. You can also use “Grade A: Very Dark and Strong Flavor but it is generally very expensive and difficult to find.
- Pumpkin Puree: I use Libby’s pumpkin puree because it is consistent and that is what I use to develop all my recipes. Use whichever brand you prefer. Just be sure to grab pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix! I would not suggest substituting homemade pumpkin puree due to the varying moisture content. There’s a certain percentage of moisture content in pumpkin puree sold in a can. Too much moisture will make the bars sticky.
- Pumpkin Seeds: I use roasted, salted pumpkin seeds in this recipe but you could increase the salt and use unsalted pumpkin seeds instead. If you are roasting your own seeds, be sure to remove the green part from the hard outer shell.
- Raisins: Raisins add a little sweetness and a wonderful chewy texture to these bars. They blend perfectly with the spices for the ideal balance of flavors.
- Rolled Oats: In this recipe you grind rolled oats finely in a food processor. You can skip this step and use oat flour. Oat flour weighs more per cup than rolled oats. I suggest using weight to substitute. You might need to add a teaspoon or more of water at the end of the processing.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: These energy bars use my pumpkin pie spice mix recipe. I make a large batch to use in all pumpkin dessert recipes throughout the season. I’ve listed individual spice measurements in the recipe.
- Dried Fruit & Nuts: You can substitute any dried fruits or nuts for the pumpkin seeds and raisin. Dried tart cherries are also a fabulous addition as are walnuts or pecans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Place in a zip-top freezer bag or between pieces of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. They can then be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator or in the freezer.
Pumpkin spice energy bars can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 days. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
These bars do not have to be baked. You could press them into bars as written, then refrigerate to set the bars. Remove from the baking dish and slice as directed. They will be stickier when unbaked, but just as delicious. Raw bars should be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. The pumpkin puree will spoil at room temperature.
You can make as large a batch as your food processor capacity will allow.
These pumpkin spice energy bars freeze beautifully! Wrap each bar in parchment or layer between pieces of parchment paper or wax paper before placing in a zip top freezer bag.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars
- 12 dates
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats ground in a food processor
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup wheat bran
- 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds roasted, salted
- ½ cup raisins or dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350°F non-convection. The goal is not to brown the bars, so I do not use the convection function.
- Line an 8-inch square baking dish with crisscrossed parchment paper. I secure the edges with binder clips to keep the paper in place while pressing the bars and during baking. Just be sure the binder clips have no plastic components.
- In a food processor, process the rolled oats until finely ground. Add dates, ground flaxseeds, wheat bran spices, salt and coconut oil to the food processor. Process until finely ground. You want to make sure the dates are in small pieces.
- Add maple syrup and pumpkin puree to food processor. Process until a smooth ball forms. It will make a paste and then come together in a ball.
- Scrape from the food processor into a bowl. Stir in roasted, salted pumpkin seeds and raisins.
- Press into prepared baking dish.
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until the top of the bars looks matte. They will brown slightly. Be careful not to overbake or the bars will dry. Technically they do not need to be baked, so you could press them into the prepared baking dish and then chill to set prior to cutting into bars.
- Cool completely and cut into bars. I slice one side in half and the rotate the bars a quarter turn. I slice each half into 5 bars. You can do whatever suits your fancy! I find it easier to remove them from the pan prior to cutting.
Before You Go!
Check out our other delicious, chef-developed Easy Snack Recipes!