You’d never know this is actually healthy whole wheat pumpkin bread! Just a few swaps & adjustments to a standard pumpkin bread recipe yield this moist, lightened-up bread that’s secretly lower in sugar.The Internet may not need another pumpkin bread recipe, but I have to share this one since it’s the best healthy pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. When I started making my own pumpkin bread several years ago, I experimented with my normal quick-bread healthy baking substitutions to see what’d work best.
After some trial and error, I’ve developed a healthier recipe that tastes just like standard pumpkin bread so you’d never know it’s lightened up. I’ve made this no less than 15 or 20 times. It’s a fall/winter go-to treat and it makes a great gift.
First, I’ve reduced the amount of sugar by one-third. Years ago, I learned that in most recipes, you can reduce the sugar by one-third without a noticeable difference. Second, I’ve substituted unsweetened applesauce for half of the oil, and I’ve used a healthier oil (coconut or avocado oil both work well) instead of the standard vegetable oil. Third, I’ve used whole-grain flour, sprouted spelt flour, and whole wheat pastry flour with success.
You can also add chocolate chips, white chocolate chips or cinnamon chips, or you can use chopped walnuts or pecans. I like all of the above, so I use whatever I happen to have and always sprinkle extra on top before baking the bread. You know, for the aesthetic.
Save Some for Later
One awesome thing about quick breads is that they freeze really well. This recipe makes two loaves, so you can eat one right away and freeze the other whole. Once the bread is cooled, just wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag.
Or, you can cut it into slices and freeze each individual piece. Then, the night before you want to eat it, just pull a piece out of the freezer and place it in the fridge. In the morning, you’ll have a single serving of fresh pumpkin bread waiting!
If you try this healthy pumpkin bread, feel free to let me know in a comment or take a picture and tag me @livbane on Instagram. Hope you enjoy!
Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped, plus extra to sprinkle on top of loaves
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or sprouted spelt flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 /2 cup coconut oil or grape seed oil
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.
- In a large measuring cup, stir together oil, applesauce, water, and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Incorporate pumpkin puree and vanilla extract, stirring until just combined.
- Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans and distribute the batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle extra nuts on top of loaves before placing in oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs. Tent with foil during the last half of baking if top is getting overly brown. Let loaves cool in pans for at least 30 minutes before removing.
Photos and text updated 12/19/17
Heavily adapted from this recipe