Pumpkin Spice Seed Bars (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


I think I’ve mentioned before that I find no end of inspiration from my fellow bloggers when it comes to cooking and baking. I still love a good cookbook or cooking magazine, thumbing through it in the comfort of a big chair and wondering what I want to make next. And lucky me, I happen to keep winning new cookbooks from giveaways on other people’s blogs! But blogs really do provide me with much of my inspiration and there are a few blogs I keep returning to, again and again. I’ve mentioned Roxana’s blog, A Little Bit of Everything, a number of times, and I am about to do it again right now. Because this recipe, although very much modified to suit my own tastes and needs, was once again inspired by her.

I’d seen her Dried Fruits and Seeds Bars back in June and they immediately caught my attention. I’ve always loved snacking on granola bars and these seemed similar but even healthier, sweetened only by applesauce and full of nutrition. Sadly, even as healthy as they were, they wouldn’t have been kind to my blood sugars. But the idea of them stayed on my mind for weeks, even months. I kept wondering how I might modify them into a diabetic-friendly snack. The applesauce and the dried fruits were a problem because they would add a lot of additional carbs that my body wouldn’t tolerate. What to do, what to do?

The end of the summer came so quickly and with September came the hunt for canned pumpkin. It wasn’t easy to find, so when I had some leftover from my Pumpkin Cardamom Bread, I couldn’t just let the precious stuff go to waste. And that’s when it occurred to me to use pumpkin in place of the applesauce, and make a fall-oriented version of Roxana’s bars. I skipped the raisins and currants and added in chopped nuts instead. I did have ground chia seed on hand, but I decided to go with some lovely roasted flax seeds from Trader Joe’s instead. The flour was replaced with almond flour, naturally. I added a much smaller portion of oats – I wanted some in there for texture, but I didn’t want to add too many carbs. I did a smaller batch than she did, to see how they would turn out. And of course, I added the typical spices that go with pumpkin at this time of year.

The Results: I was really at a loss of what to call these bars, as they aren’t granola bars in the regular sense of the word. But they are somewhat similar. They have a softer texture and aren’t as chewy, but if you are looking for a low carb snack bar, this is a pretty good bet. I loved the fall flavours in this, the pumpkin combined with the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. However, I do think that they weren’t really sweet enough. Roxana’s recipe had no sugar or sweetener, but would have been naturally sweet from the applesauce and dried fruit. I put in a little erythritol and stevia to compensate, but it wasn’t quite enough. Pumpkin just doesn’t have enough natural sweetness on its own. So I have written up the recipe to reflect a little more sweetener, which I think would help.

I will say, these were an excellent breakfast with a smear of peanut butter on top. Peanut butter and pumpkin go surprisingly well together!

Pumpkin Spice Seed Bars

3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cups sunflower seeds
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
15 drops stevia extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400F and line an 8×8 inch pan with foil. Butter or grease the foil.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredient and stir together until well incorporated. Spread in prepared pan. Line top with plastic wrap or parchment paper and press firmly and evenly into pan with the bottom of a glass or flat-bottomed measuring cup. Peel away plastic or parchment.

Bake 20 minutes, until center is firm and edges are golden brown. Let cool in pan and then cut into 12 bars.

Serves 12. Each bar has a total of 6 g of carbs and 2.5 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.5 g.

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  1. Jeanette says

    I saw a similar seed bar at Whole Foods the other week and was wondering how they made it, no added sugars, but dried fruit in the ingredients. Love your low carb adaptations you made – so creative. Will be sharing this with friends looking for a healthy low carb snack.

  2. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    I love what you did with these bars to make them your own! Pumpkin seeds are such a great addition to the typical mixed nuts and I bet these are delicious!

  3. Agrigirl says

    Ok so I'm wondering if I could spread this out on the sheets in my dehydrator and dehydrate them instead of cooking them?

  4. The Mom Chef says

    Those are amazing. I love the color and the pumpkin seeds peeping in there. did you leave out raisins and currants because of the sugar content in them? I would have thought they'd add an extra level of flavor. Just curious (being a non-low carb or gluten person). Gosh, they're gorgeous.

  5. RavieNomNoms says

    These look great with all of those seeds. I am a nut and seed freak anything I can snack on is definitely a winner in my book. These bars look great

  6. Kate says

    oh my, i am so glad that i found your blog! i have such a hard time trying to make baking work with low carb flour substitutes. everything here looks so wonderful. great job!!

  7. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    This is my kind of 'not-quite-a-granola-bar!' What a perfect snack to make for the fall!

  8. Roxana GreenGirl says

    After I emailed you earlier I was thinking, maybe I'll make some pumpkin bars :)) Guess I'll stick with the cookies!
    I'm so going to try your version! Perfect after our stroll to the park!
    Thanks your mentioning my name, once again! You're too sweet!

  9. Kim Bee says

    These look delicious. Great snack for when you're on the go. And homemade is always better. Pics are stunning.

  10. scratch-made wife says

    I just LOVE this time of year. We plan to go out tomorrow to get some pumpkins so we can carve – and get to those yummy seeds inside. :)

  11. Becky says

    These bars look and sound like fall with the pumpkin seeds and all of the spices. I like your your low carb variation.

    Have a great weekend!

  12. glutenfreesoyfree says

    These bars look good!

    I recently gave in at a wedding to the posh-looking chocolate cake. It had a majestic texture and was consistent throughout and nice to eat. Not to mention the fact that nearly 4 hours afterwards I was thinking I would need the hospital and could hardly walk due to severe joint pain. Sick for 2 weeks afterward (I’m coeliac)

    Meanwhile, on the other hand, I recently found a potential cure for those with gluten intolerance and celiac disease – Dr. Wise’s Gluten Relief – I blogged about it at http://wp.me/p1244N-6k

  13. Tiffany says

    Love these nut bars… and so much better that they are no sugar added! You are nothing short of genius Carolyn!

  14. Kate@Diethood says

    These look delicious! I am so excited to try them! I was just thinking the other day about how much I like granola bars, but hate all the ones at the store.

  15. Katherine Martinelli says

    These look great! I love the inspiration found in others' blogs too. I recently made my own energy bars for the first time (also inspired by a blog!) and they were amazing. I'll try these next! Also, I'm having a pumpkin blog hop right now and hope you'll link up!

  16. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    These bars look soooo good. I love anything pumpkin and I love the addition of the pumpkin seeds in these bars. YUM! :)

  17. Chef Dennis says

    Carolyn those bars look amazing, you can just see the flavors and wholesomeness packed into each bar. Sometimes a snack doesn't have to be too sweet, I know were use to sugars but I think flavors are more pronounced with out the sugars.
    Thanks for remaking Roxana's bars!

  18. Nichol says

    I am going to have to make these. As soon as I saw them they reminded me of homemade Kashi TLC Crunchy Granola Bars Pumpkin Spice Flax, which are my favorite snack bar. They look amazing!

  19. Baking Serendipity says

    The pumpkin and peanut butter combination sounds awesome to me! I am always game for a new breakfast treat and this sounds like a great one :)

  20. kita says

    Im not a sit down and eat breakfast kind of girl, but when I do grab something its usually in the form of a bar. These sound like they would really hit the spot.

    • Carolyn says

      Hi there. I don’t calculate calories and fat because the only thing I am concerned about is carbs. You should be able to just enter all the ingredients into a system and it will tell you what those numbers are. There are some free systems online for calculating that sort of thing.

  21. Becca says

    I made these tonight and they were incredibly good! I thought I was giving up granola(ish) bars for good when I started eating low-carb. I used Vanilla NuNaturals Stevia and Swerve and they were perfect. Thank you!


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