Growing up, my family (and many other families) had the tradition of carving pumpkins around Halloween. We would buy that year’s book of patterns, I would pick one that was far too complicated for a ten year old with shaky hands, and we would proudly display them on our front porch the week leading up to the best night of the entire year. To this day Halloween is one of my absolute favorite holidays. I love the thrill of dressing up and getting together with friends, generally just having a good time! Over the years I’ve gone as a witch, a cow, the Queen of Hearts, and this year I’m going as Karen from Mean Girls. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner, she is my celebrity look alike. My flatmate is going as Gretchen, and we are hitting Soho with a Cady and maybe a Regina on the big night.
This year, being in London, I’ve realized Halloween isn’t quite as big of a deal as it is back home. People still go out, and kids still trick or treat, but it’s just not as big of a night. I convinced my flatmates that we needed to do some pumpkin carving, and purchased four big ones! The best part of carving pumpkins is roasting the seeds. I LOVE roasted pumpkin seeds. My mom used to make them with olive oil and sea salt, and this year I’ve decided to put a twist on it and make some bomb homemade granola! This granola is gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. Literally a guilt free snack that goes with everything! Put it on your yogurt, put it in your porridge, eat it by itself, it’s seriously amazing!
This granola has a bit of a surprising twist to it as well. Instead of loading it up with sugar, I used an overripe banana as a binding agent. It works marvelously, and adds a bit of delicious banana-y flavor! The ingredients in this also provide so many nutrients and enough protein and fiber that it will keep you full. Seriously, you gotta try it.
1/2 C raw almonds, rough chopped
1 C oats
1 C pumpkin seeds (I got exactly what I needed from one pumpkin)
2 T sesame seeds
2 T ground flax
1/3 C dried blueberries (preferably ones without added sugar, Bob’s makes some!)
1 overripe banana
1-2 T agave nectar
Salt to taste
Cinnamon to taste
Preheat oven to 250F/120C
If you are using fresh pumpkin seeds, you’ll want to roast them on their own for about 15 minutes. If you bought yours, just throw it in with the rest of the ingredients!
Mash the banana super well, no lumps! I had one in the freezer, so I pulled it out and let it thaw before I mashed it, worked great!
Combine all ingredients. I used about 1 tsp of both salt and cinnamon, but feel free to adjust it to your taste preferences. I also only added 1 T agave at first, and drizzled the other on about halfway through the baking process.
Spread out onto a baking sheet covered in parchment. Try to spread into as even a layer as possible.
Bake, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until it’s nicely toasted. In total I baked mine about 30-35 minutes. The granola will get crunchier as it cools, so don’t worry if it’s a bit softer than you prefer it!
Eat with everything!