This granola is probably one of my favourites that I have ever made - and I am a granola lover through and through! The equal ratio of pumpkin seeds to rolled oats makes it much more crunchy and flavourful than many other granolas that just include seeds or nuts as a small add-in. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of zinc, which is an important mineral for the prevention of osteoporosis, as well as B vitamins, protein, and vitamins E and K. They have been shown to lower bad cholesterol, prevent inflammation in the body, and they can even help to boost your mood and help you to have a good night's sleep since they contain tryptophan. The combination of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon pairs perfectly with the nutty flavour of the seeds and the sweet, chewy dates. This recipe makes a big batch and I have been enjoying munching on this on its own for a snack, and sprinkled over top of yogurt, oatmeal, and applesauce.
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
5 tsp. olive oil or canola oil
4 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg)
1 and 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 cups pitted, chopped dates - You could also use dried cranberries or raisins instead of dates
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line an extra large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds, oats, and olive oil. Evenly spread them onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and pour the oats and pumpkin seeds back into the large mixing bowl. Stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
Spread the granola mixture back out onto the baking sheet again. Bake for another 15 minutes, until it begins to turn golden brown, stirring the granola at least once to ensure even baking.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes, then stir in the chopped dates. Store in an airtight container or jar.
*Recipe by Brooke McMillan