Those slimy seeds you pull from your Halloween pumpkin are surprisingly loaded with fiber — so cleaning and roasting them is good for your heart and digestion.
However, if you’re tired of the same old oven treatment, this energy bar recipe puts pumpkin seeds in a whole new light — mixing them with other heart-healthy ingredients, such as pecans, cranberries and flaxseed.
The trick here is hulling the seeds, by either boiling them or hitting them with a cooking mallet. So, we suggest cheating: Pick up a package of pre-hulled, non-salted pumpkin seeds instead, and toss out the slimy shelled ones.
Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars
This heart-healthy snack can help boost your energy with a powerful dose of fruit, nuts and seeds.
- 1 cup pecans, crushed
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup hulled, raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup flaxseed
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Step 1: Preheat and Roast
Heat oven to 350° F.
Heat the oven to 350° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread the pecans, oats, pumpkin seeds and flaxseed on the sheet and bake until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Step 2: Create the Caramel
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, honey, butter and salt to a boil. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Step 3: Drizzle and Stir
Drizzle the caramel all over the nut-and-oat mixture. Stir in the puffed rice and cranberries until evenly coated.
Step 4: Mold the Bars
Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, extending the paper over the side. Pour the cereal mixture into the dish in an even layer. Cover the mixture with a second sheet of parchment and press down to compress it. Let stand until firm, about 2 hours.
Step 5: Slice and Serve
Discard the top piece of parchment. Using the overhanging paper, lift out the cereal square and transfer to a work surface. Cut into 12 bars and serve.