Healthy Pumpkin Bars
Published Oct 31, 2022, Updated Sep 12, 2023
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These healthy pumpkin bars are made with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, applesauce and studded with chocolate chips. They have less oil than traditional pumpkin bars and can easily be made vegan.
If you only make one pumpkin-flavored thing this fall, these healthy pumpkin bars should definitely be it. They’re like my go-to pumpkin bread, but in bar form. They have the perfect amount of spice and the dark chocolate chips add a rich sweetness to each bite. Plus, you can never go wrong with the combo of pumpkin + chocolate, am I right?!
Seriously, they are so good! I literally couldn’t keep my hands off them and ate one with every meal when I first tested them, including breakfast.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Pumpkin is not only high in fiber and vitamins, but it also helps to keep these bars moist!
- The recipe only calls for 1 Tablespoon of oil. The pumpkin, applesauce and yogurt replace the rest of the fat.
- Can easily be made gluten-free + vegan!
- The combo of pumpkin, fall spices + dark chocolate = chef’s kiss!
- whole wheat pastry flour – a whole grain, nutrient-dense flour that results in a light and fluffy cake. My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. Cake flour and all-purpose flour will also work. You can also do a 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose if you’d like! And if you need this recipe to be gluten-free, you can use gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- pumpkin pie spice – a must for this recipe! Pumpkin pie spice is a blend that usually consists of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and sometimes allspice. You can make your own pumpkin pie spice at home or use a store-bought blend.
- coconut sugar – I love using coconut sugar because it’s a natural sugar with a bit more nutrition but brown sugar or regular white sugar will work as well.
- pumpkin puree – you can use canned pumpkin puree or homemade pumpkin puree. If using store-bought, just make sure the ingredient list is only “pumpkin” – you don’t want to accidentally buy pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugars.
- unsweetened applesauce – I like using unsweetened applesauce to keep baked goods moist without using a ton of oil. You can make your own applesauce or use store-bought, just be sure to grab unsweetened to avoid added sugars!
- Greek yogurt – this really amps up the protein and helps to keep these bars moist. I like Fage 5% Greek yogurt or Stonyfield whole milk Greek yogurt. If you need these bars to be dairy-free, use vegan yogurt! My favorite dairy-free option is the Culina coconut yogurt.
- coconut oil – we’re only using 1 Tablespoon of oil for this entire recipe. This adds healthy fat and helps bind the bars together.
- eggs – helps bind the ingredients together and provides structure for these bars. If you need these bars to be vegan you can replace the eggs with 2 flax eggs.
- vanilla extract – a much-needed flavor enhancer.
- baking soda – to help the bars rise.
- sea salt – to bring all the flavors together.
- dark chocolate chips – I like using Lily’s chocolate chips because they’re sugar-free and low-calorie, but I also like Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips which are allergen-friendly. That said, feel free to use your favorite chocolate chip brand.
Why Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour?
Whole wheat pastry flour is ground more finely than regular whole wheat flour so it makes lighter baked goods. It is also packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and is really easy to bake with. If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour at your local grocery store you can simply use all-purpose flour or a blend of 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
How to Make Pumpkin Bars
Combine dry ingredients: Start by mixing your dry ingredients together: whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.
Whisk wet ingredients: In a separate large bowl, mix your wet ingredients: applesauce, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla and coconut sugar. Then, stir in the pumpkin puree.
Combine dry + wet ingredients: Slowly add the flour mix to the wet ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Bake: Pour batter into a greased baking dish or one that’s lined with parchment paper. Top with additional chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve: Let the bars cool completely at room temperature (patience is key!) – then cut and enjoy!
How to Serve Pumpkin Bars
If you feel like getting fancy here are some ideas on how to serve these pumpkin bars:
- Coconut whip – a scoop of coconut whip cream would be so delicious on top of these pumpkin bars.
- Nut butter – a drizzle of your favorite nut butter would not only taste great but add some extra protein to these bars. You can’t go wrong with almond butter, especially if it’s homemade. Other great options are cashew butter, peanut butter or tahini. This pumpkin almond butter would also be delicious!
- Pumpkin butter – there’s no such thing as too much pumpkin in my opinion so if you want to add some extra pumpkin flavor to these bars they’d be delicious with a drizzle of this pumpkin butter + dash of pumpkin pie spice.
- Ice Cream – you really can’t go wrong with adding a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top of your freshly made, warm pumpkin bar. Vanilla would be my first choice, but for some dairy-free options this banana ice cream or chocolate banana ice cream would be tasty!
- Frosting – skip the chocolate chips on top and instead add a layer of frosting to these bars once they’ve cooled completely. This cream cheese frosting would be delicious! Pumpkin + cream cheese = a match made in heaven!
How to Store Pumpkin Bars
These pumpkin bars will stay fresh at room temperature for about 2 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. For longer storage, you can freeze them. Store in a freezer-safe, airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for about 1 hour at room temperature.
More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cups
- Pumpkin Spice Donuts
- No Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Easy Pumpkin Granola
- Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Brownies
- Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl
- Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Rice
- Healthy Pumpkin Cake
Healthy Pumpkin Bars
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, I used full-fat 5% yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 2 large eggs, or 2 flaxseed eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup canned pumpkin , or homemade pumpkin puree
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips + more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together coconut sugar, applesauce, yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Stir in pumpkin puree.
- Slowly pour flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour dough evenly into the greased pan and top with additional chocolate chips.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the middle of the bars.
- Cool completely, cut in 15 bars and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.