Healthy Substitute // Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Bars

I do not claim to be a foodie. In fact, I wouldn't even claim to be a good cook. It wasn't until about two years ago that I made the commitment to make healthier meals for my family and opted to not buy pre-packaged, pre-made or highly processed food. I strive to feed my family real food from real ingredients. My motto is "I don't eat 100% clean. I eat 90% clean 100% of the time". I keep it simple when it comes to cooking and tend to get a bit more adventurous when it comes to baking. I also am no good at photography. I'll leave the beautiful picture taking to the professional hens.

I created a healthy dessert recipe adapted from a good friend of mine. This recipe is sweet enough to replace a more traditional Thanksgiving dessert yet macronutrient-rich enough to be a quick breakfast on those busy mornings.

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Bars:

pumpkiin bars

Click here to print the recipe!

Here's what you'll need for the bars:

  • 2 cups whole rolled oats
  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 Tbsp water for five minutes
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Here's what you'll need for the "caramel" sauce

  • 30 medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup warm water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 13x9 baking dish.
  3. In a food processor, combine the dates and water. Let soak for about five minutes. Pulse until you get a caramel consistency. You will need to scrape down the sides a few times. Pour into a bowl.
  4. In the same food processor, grind up the pecans, pumpkin seeds and oats into a course consistency. Dump into a large bowl and add the baking powder, salt and spices. Mix well
  5. Combine pumpkin, applesauce, chia "eggs" & maple syrup.
  6. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet.
  7. Slowly spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan
  8. Add the "caramel" on top - as the middle layer.
  9. Top with the remaining batter.
  10. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes.