Uber Healthy, Moist and Savory Pumpkin Bread

November 22, 2009 § 5 Comments


Last week my grandma was perusing the “Food” section of our local newspaper and found a bread recipe chock full of flax seed meal and pumpkin puree for fall flavor and moisture.  While the recipe doesn’t explictly say this, I noticed an oil/fat substitution involving a couple of bananas—there is virtually no fat in the entire recipe, save a couple of eggs.

There was a time about three years ago when I was very enthusiastic about fat substitutions.  My cookies had no oil, just apple sauce; my blondies had no butter, just bananas.  Suffice it to say, I ate a lot of cardboard desserts.  It didn’t take long for me to embrace the fatty stuff.

So, it was with a bit of skepticism that I glanced over this “healthy” recipe.  My grandma encouraged me to try it anyway, so I swallowed my pride and bought a new bag of flax meal.

This recipe made two loaves, both of which were devoured in 3 days by my entire family (I single-handedly demolished one of them).  Even after three days, the bread retained its moisture, chewy texture and warm taste of fall spices.  I made a couple of tweaks to the original recipe (my version below), but I didn’t alter the shockingly high amount of flax seed meal (3/4 of a cup).  I imagine, though, if you don’t have that much on hand in your fridge, you could substitute oat bran for some of the flax seed meal.  That’s my hunch.

I loved eating a thick slice of this loaf, slightly toasted,  smeared with a generous dollop of raw, toasted almond butter.  And for the record: if you shy away from banana breads, the fall spices/pumpkin supersede the banana-taste.

2 cups pumpkin puree
2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup ground flax meal
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 + 1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 22 x 11 x 6cm loaf pans.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk liquids.

3.  In a separate bowl, stir dry ingredients.  Add liquids to dry, stirring lightly, just until incorporated.

4.  Bake 60-70 minutes, until top of each loaf is golden-brown and a knife/toothpick comes out clean.  The bread will give away from the sides.

5. Remove from oven and let cool for a few hours until cool or barely warm.  The breads will slide right out of each pan.  Cool completely before sealing in an airtight bag or container.  These breads also freeze well; wrap in plastic wrap and seal in an airtight bag to freeze.  On occasion, I’ve found that plastic-wrap can lock in moisture and leave gooey spots on breads when left thawing; I recommend letting it thaw without any plastic around it.

Diet Notes: Nut-free


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§ 5 Responses to Uber Healthy, Moist and Savory Pumpkin Bread

  • Regina says:


    So I want to try this recipe but I don’t have any evaporated cane sugar…. what can I do to replace it? Agave?

    PS My mom FLIPS at the sight of sugar in anything. How would you recommend decreasing the sugar. Maybe adding molasses instead to replace the “liquid” sugar? I don’t want to mess up the perfect balance of ingredients that makes the bread moist! 🙂


    • reginarae says:

      R! Great Q’s!

      First, about evaporated cane sugar: ES is interchangeable with white sugar. Evaporated cane sugar is simply a less-processed form of table sugar. I think it has a bit of a molasses-y taste in raw form, but to me, it seems as though that subtle flavor bakes out in baked goods (or at least I never notice it).

      When I go about “cutting” sugar from a recipe (or making any kind of tweak whether I’m adding more whole grains, or swapping out butter with oil, etc), I usually do it very gradually, with anywhere from 4 to 8 or-so trials.

      If I were going to re-experiment with this recipe (and now that you mention it, I think I might dabble with some tweaking! I LOVE the molasses idea!!) here’s what I would do first:

      1.) I would first swap out a 1/4 cup of the sugar with molasses and see what happens. So, because the total sugar is 3/4 of a cup now (with 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar), in my first batch, I would use the following proportions: 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup molasses.)

      From there, I’d continue tweaking.

      2.) My next trial would likely eliminate the cane sugar entirely and use only brown sugar (for that trial I’d likely do 1/3 cup brown sugar, no white sugar and 1/4 cup molasses). If that didn’t seem sweet enough, I’d bump it up to 1/2 cup brown sugar for Trial 3.

      For full disclosure: I taste batter as I go (delightful for cookie-dough, lacking-luster for bread dough). But, if I suspect that the batter isn’t quite sweet enough, I may add or subtract while tweaking a recipe.

      Because I don’t have the chemistry brains to know what I’m doing, it’s definitely a long process of trail-and-error.

      So to sum up: I’m not sure these ratios will taste great…or even good! But this is where I’d start when trying to scale back sugar. 😀

      XO, R2

  • Regina says:

    Thanks for the great information R!!!

    Maybe I can take care of a trial batch for you so you don’t have to do so many trials! 🙂


  • Try using stevia instead of white sugar, It’s a natural calorie free sweetener and it tastes great. Excited to try this recipe, btw. Thanks for posting!

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