Oil-Free Pumpkin Granola

Since September 1st is the beginning of pumpkin season I decided it was time to share my pumpkin granola recipe. This is no ordinary pumpkin granola! It has my favorite fall flavors in an easy to make oil-free granola.

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

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Most granola recipes are made with oil and it can be tricky to make it without. The payoff is worth it because you get a delicious chewy granola. (My husband loves chewy granola.) Don’t get me wrong. It still has plenty of crunch from raw pepitas and pecans. If you have a nut allergy, you can leave the pecans out but they are my favorite part!

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

I typically make my granola mild, I don’t want flavor too strong so it doesn’t overpower whatever it is served with. The funny thing is, I can’t stop snacking on this one by itself. I finally had to put it away because it’s way too tempting when left on the counter.

If you are looking for an easy and delicious granola recipe that has the best flavors of fall, try this recipe! You get the pumpkin, maple syrup, the classic pumpkin pie spices, raw pepitas, pecans and dried cranberries!

If you aren’t ready for fall after reading that list, nothing will help you! But don’t worry, if you aren’t a cranberry fan, you can leave them out. I made a batch of both but I’m partial to the cranberries!

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!

One important note, if you need to be gluten-free because of an allergy or celiac disease, make sure you use gluten-free oats. I completely trust GF Harvest!

Oil-Free Pumpkin Granola

Enjoy this Pumpkin Granola on vegan yogurt, baked fruit, a smoothie bowl, pumpkin pudding, or like me, by the handful!

Oil-Free Pumpkin Granola
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 5 cups
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups rolled oats (choose certified gluten-free oats if needed)
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plant milk (I used rice milk)
  • ¼ cup raw pepitas
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add your rolled oats and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add your pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spices, vanilla and plant milk. Stir well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the oats a little at a time and stir well. Once all the wet ingredients are incorporated into the oats, add the raw pepitas and pecan halves and mix again. Don't add the dried cranberries yet!
  5. Scoop mixture onto the parchment covered baking sheet. Be careful not to get it too close to the edge. If there isn't enough room, use two baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes total but pull it out every 10 minutes to stir gently. Once done, allow to cool.
  7. After the granola is cool, mix in the dried cranberries and store in an airtight container.

You can skip the parchment if you have a Silpat! It’s a non-stick silicone baking mat (and it makes a great gift).

This oil-free Pumpkin Granola recipe has the best fall flavors mixed in. Pumpkin spice, pecans and even cranberries!Did I leave out any of your favorite fall flavors? 

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

You may have noticed an abundance of Instant Pot recipes lately! I’m working my way through updating old recipes and adapting them for my pressure cooker. My latest success is adapting one of my favorite recipes, Instant Pot Minestrone Soup! Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup! I have been in love with the stove top version of this delicious, plant-based soup for years. The only thing I don’t love about it is how long it takes to make it. It still takes time to cut the veggies but making it in the Instant Pot means I can walk away from it and come back when it’s done. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you’ll love my stove top version of Minestrone Soup that has been a reader favorite for years! Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Pressure Cooking with Pasta

The one thing that concerned me about making Minestrone in a pressure cooker was the noodles. Pasta and pressure cooking don’t always mix. I’ve had the best luck with whole wheat pasta like rotini or penne. I haven’t gotten gluten-free pasta to work in my pressure cooker, yet. If you are gluten-free, I recommend cooking your pasta on the stove and adding it to your soup after it is done. Even if you are not gluten-free, you may want to cook your pasta on the stove anyway. This soup creates a lovely broth, the noodles will soak it up and leave you with a casserole type dish instead of a soup. It tastes great either way but you can avoid that by adding cooked pasta right before serving. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Building Flavor

One of the reasons I’ve always loved Minestrone Soup is the variety of ingredients. You have veggies, beans, pasta and a flavorful broth. When I cook this on the stove I’ll let it simmer and tweak the flavors as it cooks. You can’t do that in the Instant Pot. I use my dry Veggie Broth Mix to give this soup a robust flavor. If you have a favorite veggie broth, by all means, use it instead of water. I simply add 1 Tablespoon of Veggie Broth Mix for each cup of water. For this recipe, that is 1/2 cup of Veggie Broth Mix. You’ll want to add salt and pepper to taste as well. I prefer to sprinkle both on my bowl right before eating. Instant Pot Minestrone Soup may just be the perfect plant-based soup! Veggies, beans, broth and pasta create a hearty and healthy soup!

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

This soup has a long ingredient list but it’s really easy to make. If you will be pressed for time, you can precut the onion, carrots, and celery ahead of time. The rest of the ingredients are dumped into the pot.

Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 4 stalks chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)
  • 1 15 oz can white navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups of water with ½ cup Veggie Broth Mix (or 8 cups of your favorite veggie broth)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups whole wheat noodles (or gluten-free noodles if needed)
  • 2 cups spinach (optional)
Instructions
  1. Dump onion, celery, carrots, and canned items into the pot.
  2. Add water and Veggie Broth Mix (or veggie broth) along with other spices.
  3. If using whole wheat noodles, add them to the Instant Pot. Make sure they are covered with liquid. This should be below the max fill line.
  4. Close the lid, press manual and decrease the minutes to 5 minutes. Adjust the pressure to low.
  5. It will take a while for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. After it finishes cooking, use the quick pressure release method. Be careful, escaping steam and liquid will be hot.
  6. Carefully remove the lid and add the spinach. Replace the lid, sealing isn't necessary.
  7. Let sit for 10 minutes, then remove lid and stir.

This delicious soup is easy to adapt if you are missing an ingredient. I usually have all of these on hand but occasionally I’ll be missing green beans or spinach. I forgot to add spinach when I made the recipe for these photos! It still tastes great! You can also use frozen or fresh ingredients instead of canned. It still comes out great! Do you love Minestrone Soup? Have you tried it in the Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Refried Beans

Before we get too far into this post I need to be upfront. These aren’t actually refried beans. They aren’t fried and contain no oil! I call them Instant Pot Refried Beans so you’ll know this recipe is for the Instant Pot and so you’ll know what to expect bean wise.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

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In 2012 when I started blogging, one of my first recipes was called Unfried Beans. I love that recipe but it has people confused and it doesn’t exactly rank high in Google searches because no one searches for unfried beans.

This new recipe, designed for the Instant Pot, is basically that same delicious recipe I’ve made hundreds of times. Since it’s all being cooked together I add fresh onion and garlic. I usually added those when I cook beans on the stove top as well.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

I first developed the old recipe when we went plant-based. We wanted the same delicious flavors we had always loved without the meat and lard! It’s kinda gross to think about.

Thankfully, this version uses spices we always have on hand because I put them in everything!

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

If you have a food processor, it will save you a lot of time. I have a 10 cup Hamilton Beach food processor that we’ve used over 5 years. It’s not too expensive and has never let me down.

If you don’t have a food processor you could use a blender, immersion blender, potato masher or a fork. A food processor works the best though.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

We enjoy these beans on anything and everything! Try them in Nachos, Tostadas, burritos or a big bowl by themselves!

Instant Pot Refried Beans
 
Enjoy this easy and delicious refried bean recipe the whole family will love. This oil-free, plant-based recipe is low in fat but high in flavor!
Author:
Recipe type: Instant Pot
Ingredients
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to your taste)
Instructions
  1. Add diced onion, minced garlic, spices, beans and water to the Instant Pot.
  2. Cook on manual for 40 minutes on high pressure.
  3. After natural pressure release, scoop out excess water. Reserve it in case you need extra.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, more or less to your own taste
  5. Use a food processor, potato masher or immersion blender to puree.
  6. Add reserved bean water if needed until you get a smooth texture.

Enjoy restaurant style refried beans without sacrificing your health. These oil-free, plant-based refried beans are made in the Instant Pot.

If you have an Instant Pot, be sure to give these refried beans a try! They are perfect for batch cooking because you can use them in so many other recipes!

What are your favorite ways to eat refried beans?

Plant-Based Nachos

Can Plant-Based Nachos solve every problem in the world today? No, but it might be exactly what you need to help your family start making healthy food choices.

When we first transitioned to a plant-based diet, we made healthier versions of our old favorites. One of those favorites was nachos!

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

We put a healthier twist on nachos by making non-dairy cheese sauce and oil-free beans. We include our favorite toppings like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and more. I like to douse mine in salsa but I leave it on the side when the kids will be sharing. Don’t forget the jalapenos and guacamole!

One of the reasons we love making Plant-Based Nachos is because everyone loves them. I get a lot of emails from people asking how to get their families to eat plant-based. Nachos is the answer!

Of course, you can’t live on nachos but a standing Nacho night isn’t out of the question.

If your whole family will be sharing, make a Nacho Bar so everyone can build their own! You can let them choose between black beans or pinto beans (both are oil-free).

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

Make Your Own Chips

The least healthy thing about the nachos are the chips. Granted, chips aren’t healthy. You can choose healthier versions or make them yourself.

To make your own oil-free chips, buy soft corn tortillas, check the ingredients to make sure they only contain corn, water, and maybe lime juice.

Cut them into triangles or strips and bake them until crispy! It’s easy!

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

Nacho Victory

Some of you aren’t as concerned about the chips, just getting your family to eat beans is a win! I firmly believe that healthy nachos could be the step to healthy eating for some.

Once you get your family enjoying Plant-Based Nachos, you can get them to try Tostadas, Burritos, Casseroles and more.

Your whole family will enjoy these healthy, plant-based Nachos!

Plant-Based Nachos

This recipe is more art than science. We have our favorite way to make them, but I’ll mix and match different ingredients based on what we have.

If you set up a Nacho Bar, you can have all of the ingredients in bowls for your family.  Each person can make their own nacho masterpiece. If you are creating a group platter, you’ll want to layer chips, beans and cheese sauce in a pan and broil them for a couple of minutes, then add all the toppings.

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Unfried Beans (That is what I call my oil-free refried beans)
  • 1 batch dairy-free cheese sauce
  • Other toppings of your choice like tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, salsa, avocado, etc.
  • Chips or baked corn tortillas

Do

  1. Start cooking the cheese sauce because it takes the longest to make (unless you are cooking the beans from scratch).
  2. Prepare the beans, you can use beans you cook yourself or canned beans.
  3. Chop or prepare the other ingredients
  4. If making a Nacho Bar, place all the ingredients in bowls for your family to build their own serving. If you are making it family style, layer chips, beans, and cheese sauce in a pan. Broil it for a few minutes to get it all warm, then top with your favorite ingredients. I recommend you keep any ingredients that won’t be well received, on the side.

This is one of those recipes that is easy to make on a busy night or to use up leftovers! The dairy-free cheese sauce takes the longest unless you are cooking the beans from scratch, but it reheats well.

I like to plan nachos after I’ve batch cooked beans!

You have to admit, these look good even if you aren’t plant-based. Go ahead and show the video to a family member and see what they think!

I have to thank my friend Melodee from Melodee Lynn Photography for these amazing pictures. She is an artist with the camera!

Banana Nut Oatmeal (Instant Pot and Stove top directions)

We made Banana Nut Oatmeal in my Instant Pot and it was good! I wasn’t sure what I would think of warm banana. I regularly use banana in my baked goods so I thought it was worth taking the chance and I’m so glad I did!

Instant Pot Banana Nut Oatmeal takes the flavors of Banana Bread and adds the wholesomeness of oatmeal.

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After all, when I was a kid I loved Banana Pudding. I remember eating it while it was still warm.

I also loved Banana Bread. I thought about the flavors I like in my banana bread and incorporated those into my oatmeal, cinnamon and almonds. If you can’t have tree nuts, try hemp seeds. I love the nutty flavor that hemp seeds infuse in recipes. I’ll probably make it with hemp seeds instead of nuts about half the time.

Since I was cooking with steel cut oats I decided to do a spin off of my Instant Pot Oatmeal recipe. You could make this with rolled oats as well. I’ll include directions for both.

I don’t like to cook steel cut oats on the stove because they take too long. The Instant Pot still takes time to come to pressure, cook and depressurize, but I can walk away and do other things while it cooks.

I always buy gluten-free oats. If you don’t need gluten-free you can buy regular oats. I buy these steel cut oats for pressure cooking. See other varieties of oats here.

If you are in the mood for a warm banana nut treat, try this Banana Nut Oatmeal!

Instant Pot Banana Nut Oatmeal takes the flavors of Banana Bread and adds the wholesomeness of oatmeal.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Stove Top directions

If you are making this on the stove top with rolled or instant oats, you’ll want to check the side of the package to see how much oats and water you need for you (or your family). I generally use 2 cups of water for every cup of rolled or instant oats.

For this recipe you will need:

  • gluten-free rolled oats + water
  • 2 Bananas, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, I used almonds
  • maple syrup to taste
  1. Bring your water to boil. Once boiling, add your oats.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Chop one banana and add it to the cooking oats. Add the cinnamon.
  4. Stir regularly. Once done, add in the other banana slices, nuts and maple syrup to taste.

Banana Nut Oatmeal in the Instant Pot

If you are making this with steel cut oats I highly recommend using the Instant Pot. I typically cook my oats plain, then add in any toppings but I wanted to have the banana cooked in too.

The oatmeal seemed to be a little more watery than normal when it was done. I just shut the lid for 5 minutes. When I came back it was perfect. I topped it with a the remaining banana slices, extra sliced almonds and a little maple syrup.

Instant Pot Banana Nut Oatmeal
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Bananas, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup almonds, sliced
  • maple syrup to taste
Instructions
  1. Pour steel cut oats, water, one banana sliced and cinnamon into the Instant Pot and give it a little stir.
  2. Close the lid, seal the vent and press the Manual button. Use the arrows to move down to 3 minutes.
  3. The Instant Pot will come to pressure in about 15 minutes or so. Then it will start counting down as it cooks. When it's done, it will beep. I usually turn it off and allow the pressure to naturally come down (natural pressure release).
  4. After about 10 minutes, open the lid carefully so the steam doesn't burn you. Scoop out your oatmeal into a bowl. Add the extra banana slices, almond slices and maple syrup to your bowl.

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