Pumpkin is put in just about everything this season, sometimes where it belongs and sometimes… not so much. Somewhere it definitely belongs, and my absolute favorite, is in granola. In Japan, we have pumpkin lattes, alcohol, ice cream and almost everything but granola. In fact, it’s almost impossible to find any flavor of granola. And while my social media feeds are loaded with granola-topped acai bowls and all things pumpkin spice, sometimes I just have to get creative and help myself to a little taste of home.
Since we came here, I have been obsessed with Japanese kabocha squash. It’s sweeter than pumpkin and so versatile. I use it year-round in soups, curry and even grill it on the BBQ. After rounding up our old fashioned oats, coconut oil and cinnamon from the states and honey from our Thailand trip, I stretched my kabocha to new limits.
If you can’t find kabocha, pumpkin is a great substitute. And making your own kabocha or pumpkin puree is the easiest thing since…well, buying it in a can. Just cut the quash into 1 inch cubes, place in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup water, and boil down until tender. Mash when soft with a fork or blend in a blender.
This recipe is super simple and healthy with no added or refined sugar. It can also be vegan by substituting honey for agave or palm sugar.
3 cups old fashion oats
1/3 cup kabocha or pumpkin puree
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tbsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp pumpkin spice (or 1/4 tsp each: ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
1. Mix the pumpkin puree, honey and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
2. While you wait for the sauce to boil, mix the oats, salt and spices in a big bowl.
3. When the sauce is ready, pour it over the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Spread mixture onto a baking pan and bake at 170 C or 340 F for 25 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, stir with spatula.
5. If you want it hot and soft and cannot help yourself, go ahead and eat immediately with some vanilla ice cream. No judgement here. But if you’re patient, let it cool and get crunchy and pile it on your favorite smoothly or yogurt!