“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” –Henry David Thoreau
There is something so beautiful, yet so humble about pumpkins. They are all unique in size and shape, and their deep orange color is energizing and appealing. They are inexpensive and at least around here, they are overflowingly plentiful. I drive by a big field full of ripe pumpkins almost every day. As the grass and trees fade to shades of browns and grays, the pumpkins glow bright orange in comparison. I know there are a lot of pumpkin recipes floating around right now, but it’s pumpkin season. So I am going to add this pumpkin bread recipe to the pumpkin conversation. What makes this recipe stand out to me is there is no oil or butter in it. The bread is incredibly moist, but the moistness comes from the applesauce and pumpkin puree. I am always on the lookout for appealing cookbooks to explore and new recipes to try. I checked out a really great book from our tiny but wonderful local library, called Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy by Layne Lieberman. This book was published in 2013 and is full of inspiring advice on living a high-quality lifestyle, and it has recipes to try as well (and pretty photos–I really like a book about food to have appealing photos). The recipe for pumpkin bread below comes from this book. I found this bread to be truly both enjoyable and healthy, with the pumpkin seeds on top being a fun addition. My sweet son and his good friend came home ravenous from school yesterday, and they pounced on this pumpkin bread immediately. They both gave it a thumbs-up, and decided it tasted like pumpkin pie without the crust. A pretty sweet way to sneak in a vegetable and a fruit.
Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsweetened applesauce
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh–I used a 14 ounce can)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices. In a separate large bowl, whisk together applesauce, eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones; combine, but don’t over mix.
Lightly grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan (or a shallow 8-inch baking pan) with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the baking dish and sprinkle with optional pumpkin seeds if desired. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, checking for doneness. (Bread is done when the top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.) Let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Enjoy!