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Spiced Pumpkin Oat Squares

As my dear friend Nikolai knows, this recipe is a bit late in coming. I have been scheming away for a few weeks, trying to think of an innovative pumpkin dessert recipe. This has been a huge challenge, given the pumpification of everything under the sun lately. So what was left to pumpify? I settled on these soft, oaty bars, after ruling out various cakes, puddings, tarts, cheesecakes and many more (everything’s been done, man!). I also wanted to keep them vegan, as I was not sure if my dear Nikolai was looking for a vegan recipe or not, and work-friendly, as he wants to bring them in for his colleagues. 

So, voila! Here they are. I worked off of Angela’s Healthy Strawberry Oat Square recipe, modifying the topping, changing up the flour for the base, and adding warm fall spices to both layers. 

They are moist and tender, with hints of cinnamon and a nudge of pumpkin, and are perfect as is partnered with a cup o’ joe, or how I have been enjoying them: warmed up and slathered in pecan butter (recipe coming soon!) and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

I brought some in for my coworkers and they were a big hit. Sometimes I am a bit fearful of vegan dessert reception, but no one could even tell they didn’t have eggs/butter/milk- woot, woot! Every one of them got gobbled up.

Good thing I saved a few for myself 😉 

Spiced Pumpkin Oat Squares
Serves 12-16, depending on how large you slice them

Instant Pumpkin Butter Ingredients

  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin puree (not sweetened)
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp water
Oat Base Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp chia or ground flax + 4 tbsp water
  • 1.5 cup oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider or nondairy milk
  1. Make a chia or flax egg by combining 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax with 4 tbsp water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish with oil. 
  3. Prep the pumpkin topping. Mix all pumpkin butter ingredients together in a pot over medium heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and let cook while you prepare the oat base, stirring periodically.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 oat base ingredients. In a smaller bowl, combine the last 4 ingredients and the chia egg. Mix the wet into the dry. Set aside 1/2 cup of the oat mixture for the topping.
  5. Pour the oat base into the baking dish and smooth out. Then pour on the pumpkin topping and smooth out. Crumble on the 1/2 cup of oat base that you set aside. You may want to do tinier bits than I did in the pictures- or if you want big chunks, go for it!
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and removing from the dish. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy cold, room temp, or my favorite, warmed.
Notes: You may be able to sub maple syrup with agave if that is what you have on hand. You could also probably substitute the spelt flour with whole wheat pastry flour (pastry- not regular!)or just good ol’ all-purpose flour. 

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