These gluten free & paleo pumpkin bars will fulfill all your fall cravings AND leave you feeling good! They're naturally sweetened with maple and full of healthy fats and a protein boost.
In many houses, fall is baking season. It's such a cozy season to spend time in the kitchen, whipping up treats for your family and friends.
But let's face it, too many sugary treats don't make anyone feel good. That's why I love coming up with healthier versions of fall treats that are still totally delicious. I want to have my pumpkin bars and eat them too!
My latest concoction, gluten free and paleo pumpkin bars, use a combination of almond flour and coconut flour for a lovely texture and a punch of protein and healthy fats. They're lightly sweetened with maple and studded with chocolate chips for the perfect level of sweetness. And of course, they're packed with tons of pumpkiny goodness!
These would be perfect to bring to a Halloween party or to bake with your kiddos on a rainy weekend. I hope you love them!
Paleo Pumpkin Bars with Chocolate Chips
- 1/3 cup almond butter*
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree*
- 1 egg (omega-3)
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract*
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl mix 1/3 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 3 Tbsp maple syrup, ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, ½tsp vanilla and 1/8 tsp salt.
- Once well combined mix in ½ cup almond flour, 1 tbsp coconut flour, ½ tsp baking soda and ¼ cup dark chocolate chips.
- Pour into greased loaf pan and bake ~20 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges and cooked in the middle. Allow to cool completely.
What is the nutrition like in these paleo pumpkin bars?
While these paleo pumpkin bars are squarely in the dessert category, they do have some nutritional benefits. They're only lightly sweetened with a bit of maple syrup and the almond flour and almond butter lend protein and healthy fats. If you'd like to make this into more of a breakfast than a dessert, feel free to sub chopped walnuts or pecans for the chocolate chips!
Here are some of the nutritional highlights for this recipe:
Almonds (Magnesium, Vitamin E, Potassium)
This recipe features almonds in two forms, almond flour and almond butter. Look for almond butter that contains just almonds and salt for maximum nutrition.
Almonds are good for your heart and also help lower LDL cholesterol. Furthermore, one serving of almonds also has as much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk! Thus they're a particularly good choice if you're dairy-free.
Pumpkin (Vitamin K, Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron)
Super high in vitamin K and beta-carotene, pumpkin also contains many other nutrients. Together, these nutrients make pumpkin great for your immune system, eye health and heart health. Just make sure the canned pumpkin you buy has only one ingredient – pumpkin!
Eggs (Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Selenium, Lutein, Choline)
An egg contains 7 grams of protein and is full of lutein (good for your eyes) and choline (good for your brain). Try to get Omega-3 eggs or pastured eggs if you can – they're not only higher in Omega-3s, but in vitamins A and E as well.
Maple Syrup (Manganese, Zinc)
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup contains 165% of the recommended dietary intake for manganese and 28% for zinc. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, reducing blood sugar spikes.
Coconut Flour (Iron, Fiber, MCTs)
Coconut flour may benefit heart health, blood sugar stability, and digestion. Furthermore, a 1/4 cup serving offers 6 grams of protein and 20% of daily iron needs. Coconut flour is also high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a kind of fat that may support your immune system, brain health and even weight loss.
Are these gluten free pumpkin bars meal prep friendly?
Yes! My paleo, gluten free pumpkin bars are the perfect meal prep friendly dessert.
You can make the whole recipe ahead of time, store in the fridge, and enjoy throughout the week.
OR, make it ahead and freeze it! You can tightly wrap the entire loaf in plastic wrap and then foil and stick in the freezer if you like. If you'd prefer to freeze individual slices, flash freeze them before wrapping. To flash freeze, slice the pumpkin bars and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze for a few hours. Then transfer the bars to a freezer container (wrapping each one if you like) and freeze until you're ready to enjoy!
What to Do with Coconut Flour – Other Recipe Ideas
If you're anything like me, you may be hesitant to buy a specialty ingredient just for one recipe. However, if you do a lot of gluten free, paleo or keto baking, coconut flour is totally worth adding to your pantry.
First of all, it's not very expensive so the risk is minimal even if it turns out you don't like it.
Second of all, it really helps with texture in gluten free and paleo baking. I usually use it combined with another healthy flour, like the almond flour in this recipe, and love the results.
Still, if you need a little help with ideas for using up your coconut flour, here are some of my favorite recipes to get you started!
What are some other paleo pumpkin recipes?
I don't know about you but I like to take full advantage of the autumn season, embracing all things apple, pumpkin and cinnamon. If your'e looking for more gluten free or paleo pumpkin recipes, these three are winners!
These paleo pumpkin swirl brownies are a little more involved but, trust me, they are totally worth it! They're a showstopper and will definitely be a highlight of any gathering where you serve them.
Alternatively, if you're in need of a super quick and easy paleo pumpkin dessert, this pumpkin mousse is perfect. It comes together fast and is excellent for meal prep because it needs to sit in the fridge anyway to achieve the right texture. I love topping mousse with something crunchy. Toasted pecans or cacao nibs (or both!) are great choices here. Granola is also tasty on top!
This recipe is perfect for those of you who, like me, live places where it's still quite warm in the fall. It has all of that fall pumpkin flavor, but is nice and cool for warm fall mornings. If you want a really refreshing pumpkin treat, you could even freeze this smoothie in popsicle molds (one of my favorite mom hacks for healthy treats!)
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