This healthy homemade pumpkin granola with warm spices, maple syrup, and dried cranberries is full of fall flavors, but it’s delicious any time of the year. Wholesome, lactogenic ingredients, including oats and flaxseed, are especially helpful for nursing moms.
The leaves are falling, twirling, and blowing in the cool autumn wind. The apple tree where Little Bear plays on his wooden swing, looking out at the color-changing mountains, is almost completely bare.
Recently, we’ve been enjoying apples with this homemade pumpkin spice granola that tastes like pumpkin pie and fills the air with a delicious fall fragrance as it bakes. It’s getting colder outside, but inside it’s warm and cozy.
Homemade granola makes a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert. Made with cacao nibs for extra crunch (and even more health benefits), it might be crunchier than the leaves.
It is made with a tasty combination of nutrient-dense nuts (I like to use pecans, walnuts, and almonds), seeds, and dried fruit. Although it tastes like sugar and spice, it doesn’t contain any refined sugars.
As a bonus for breastfeeding mamas, this simple recipe calls for several ingredients rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids (think: omega-3 and omega-6) that support a healthy milk supply. For an extra boost, you can add a little brewer’s yeast. Even though it can be considered a lactation granola, it’s good for the whole family.
Boost Your Milk Supply Naturally with Lactation Granola
This pumpkin granola is made with whole-food ingredients that are beneficial for nursing moms.
Pumpkin, our star ingredient, is a galactagogue (a substance that promotes lactation). It was shown to increase the milk volume of exclusively breastfeeding mothers in a 2017 study.
Oats are full of nutrients, including iron, zinc, magnesium, and some B Vitamins. Many moms, including myself, have noticed an increase in milk supply after eating this comforting food. (That’s one reason why I add them to banana muffins and use oatstraw in my favorite lactation drink.)
Coconut oil and shredded coconut provide healthy fats that can enrich milk and promote healthy brain development. Coconuts also contain lauric acid and caprylic acid, which have antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil is incredibly beneficial for mom and baby.
Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats and protein, integral components of a balanced diet, which is incredibly important for nursing moms. Quinoa , which is said to increase milk supply, is another excellent source of protein as well as magnesium. Flaxseed delivers essential fatty acids and contains phytoestrogens that may help with breast milk production. Raw nuts, especially almonds, are also thought to be lactogenic.
Dried dates and apricots can increase prolactin, a hormone that helps stimulate breast milk production. They are also rich in iron and calcium. (Like me, maybe you have some dates leftover from the last month or so of the third trimester? I definitely think eating a few a day during that time helped ease both of my labors!)
Brewer’s Yeast is an optional ingredient that is believed to be a galactagogue. It may even increase energy levels, which is great for sleep-deprived mamas. Plus, it’s a good source of protein and B-complex vitamins.
Soaking grains, nuts, and seeds makes them more digestible. It takes more prep and bake time, but it’s worth it. (You could also use a dehydrator, to preserve enzymes and nutrients that are damaged at high heat.) I purchase sprouted oats and quinoa for this recipe.
Ground flaxseed is easier to digest than whole. Consider grinding your own, since oxidation can break down those aforementioned fatty acids.
If you choose to use almonds, make sure to buy organic ones because toxic chemicals might have been used in the pasteurization process otherwise. Personally, I prefer raw, unpasteurized almonds from Spain, since all U.S. grown almonds require steam or chemical pasteurization.
If you like a more rustic, traditional granola, you don’t have to blend the nuts so finely. I do this because I know I’ll be sharing with Little Bear. If you, too, will be sharing with a little one, be mindful of any large pieces that the blender or food processor may have missed.
Seed cycling to balance hormones? Feel free to swap out the flax and pumpkin seeds, which are great for the follicular phase, for sunflower and sesame seeds during your luteal phase.
Make sure the dried fruit does not have any added sugar. Cranberries are often sweetened, so check the ingredients label.
Look for debittered, unsweetened brewer’s yeast, if you’re using this optional ingredient. I think it still has a slightly bitter taste, but the other flavors in this granola make it not as pronounced.
Notes on Preparation and Baking
Want less cleanup? Skip the bowl. After whisking the wet ingredients and chia seeds, add the rest right to the large saucepan or skillet and combine. Also, use unbleached parchment paper on your baking sheet.
In a pinch for time? You can increase the oven temperature, up to 350 degrees, and bake for about thirty minutes, stirring halfway through. Alternatively, if you don’t mind waiting, you could bake at a lower temperature for longer or use a dehydrator. To achieve the crunchy texture I prefer, 300 degrees is the sweet spot.
Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin Granola
My family and I enjoy eating this pumpkin spice granola with homemade nut or oat milk and fresh fruit. It’s better than store-bought cereal and much healthier.
It’s also delicious served over vegan yogurt. You can make a parfait by layering probiotic-rich yogurt, granola, and fruit in a glass or mason jar.
As a dessert, try it on top of warm cinnamon apples. I like to make them in a cast iron skillet with coconut oil, maple syrup, and a squeeze of lemon. It is even more delicious with a few scoops of nice cream (vegan ice cream made with blended frozen bananas).
Feeling fancy? Sprinkle in some edible flowers, such as organic rose petals, after its out of the oven. They’re pretty and beneficial, too.
How to Make Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Granola
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed, quinoa, shredded coconut, salt, and spices.
- In a large saucepan or skillet, melt coconut oil on low heat.
- Whisk in the maple syrup, pureed pumpkin, vanilla, and chia seeds.
- Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.
- Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet or glass pan.
- Bake for an hour, or until it’s golden brown, stirring every twenty minutes, and adding cacao nibs when there are a few minutes remaining.
- Toss while still warm with the dried fruit. Let it cool down and crisp up.
How to Store Homemade Granola
I recommend storing the granola in an airtight glass container. It should keep at room temperature for two weeks. You can also freeze it.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy granola? Let me know in the comments.
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ceylon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup nuts, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup sprouted quinoa
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup dried dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed, quinoa, shredded coconut, salt, and spices. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan or skillet, melt coconut oil on low heat.
4. Whisk in the maple syrup, pureed pumpkin, vanilla, and chia seeds.
5. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.
6. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet or glass pan.
7. Bake for an hour, or until it's golden brown, stirring every twenty minutes, and adding cacao nibs when there are a few minutes remaining.
8. Toss while still warm with the dried fruit. Let it cool down and crisp up.
If desired, a 1/4 cup of debittered brewer's yeast can be added for its lactogenic properties.