It's October and pumpkin flavored everything has taken over. I was in the store the other day, and I saw a container of Pumpkin Pie flavored almonds from Blue Diamond. My first thought was "what an awesome idea!" and my second though, after reading the ingredient list, was "there is not even pumpkin in there!" Sadly, that is the case with so many "pumpkin-flavored food items," and pumpkin is just too delicious and nutritious for us not to not actually use it.
So I decided to make my own pumpkin pie almonds with real pumpkin. I could be more ambitious and roast my own pumpkin and then puree it, but I have found that the canned or boxed version (Whole Foods now sells it in easy to open cartons!) work well too. I also wanted to add a little extra crunch factor, so I sprinkled in some quinoa because I love the little pop it gives. It took a few attempts to get it just right, but can I just say these craggy little nuts are addicting? They'll make your kitchen smell just like fall. And the best part? They take about 25 minutes to make, and only 5 of that actually involves work.
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Quinoa Crunch Almonds
2 cups raw almonds
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves*
generous pinch of salt
**You can also sub 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in lieu of these separate ingredients
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. In a bowl, combine pumpkin puree through salt. Stir in almonds and quinoa until evenly coated. Spread out in a single layer on parchment. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until almonds are toasted and quinoa turns a little golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Some of the pumpkin and quinoa mixture may not adhere completely, but those pieces are just as tasty! Almonds may be kept at room temperature for about a week. Makes about 2 cups.