Ready or not, #PSL season has arrived! Let’s kick it off with VEGAN PUMPKIN BREAD. This marvelously moist, springy, and pumpkin-spiced bread is dairy-free, whole wheat, naturally sweetened, and uses a whopping WHOLE CAN of pumpkin (no weird pumpkin leftovers!).
Plus, this recipe contains NO OIL. The pumpkin does 100% of the lifting to make it super soft and tender, no extra fat or added sugars required.
The vegan pumpkin bread came to be a few weeks ago on an unexpectedly chilly morning. A crisp breeze ruffled the leaves in that particular way that belongs distinctly to autumn. I found a can of pumpkin in the pantry and took a poll on Instagram to see how many of you were ready for pumpkin recipes.
The answer? BRING ON THE SQUASH.
While I have dozens of healthy pumpkin recipes on my site both sweet and savory, pumpkin bread is what I crave first when pumpkin season arrives. I love the way it fills my house with warm scents of cinnamon and nutmeg, how fast and easy it is to make, and the way every bite wraps me up like the fuzzy plaid scarves waiting to emerge from my closet.
Pumpkin bread recipes are also some of the simplest to make healthy and still taste fab. Pumpkin itself is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, iron, and more. Plus, since pumpkin is naturally moist, you can easily bake pumpkin bread without needing to add extra fat.
I also make pumpkin bread first for no other good reason than that I adore it, which is perhaps the best reason of all.
It’s also probably the reason I have a cache of healthy pumpkin bread, all of which I love for uniquely delicious reasons: Paleo Pumpkin Bread (this one is gluten-free and beyond moist); Healthy Pumpkin Bread (the timeless classic); Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (has oatmeal and made me everyone’s favorite co-worker in my last job); Pumpkin Banana Bread (best of both worlds)…and I’m not done yet.
Especially when there’s this dairy free, oil free, refined sugar free scrumptiousness like this Vegan Pumpkin Bread to bake!
As I mentioned, this vegan pumpkin bread is made without oil. Instead I used applesauce, and it worked like an absolute charm.
Even if you aren’t vegan, I encourage you to try this healthy vegan pumpkin bread. It rises sky high and tastes like glorious fall days to come. I adapted the recipe from my favorite Vegan Pumpkin Muffins (which have glowing reviews). I can’t wait for you try it.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- PUMPKIN. The whole can! It makes this bread unbelievably moist and tender, no oil required.
- White Whole Wheat Flour. This pumpkin bread is 100% whole wheat, but thanks to the mild flavor of white whole wheat flour, you’ll never suspect it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This bread must be made with wheat flour. Coconut flour and almond flour will not work and cannot be substituted. If you’d like to make pumpkin bread with almond flour, please check out my Paleo Pumpkin Bread (linked above). I don’t have a coconut flour pumpkin bread (yet). Anyone interested?
- Pure Maple Syrup. Maple and pumpkin are fall flavor buddies! This recipe does not use sugar (the refined kind). Pure maple syrup is all you need. Note: do not use imitation maple syrup. It does not taste the same or perform the same in baking as pure (real) maple syrup.
- Flaxseed Meal. This omega-3 rich nutrient adds to the healthy factor of this vegan pumpkin bread and stands in for the eggs. (If you don’t need the bread to be vegan, you can use eggs instead.)
- Unsweetened Applesauce. Making this pumpkin bread with applesauce eliminates the need for oil. It would also be a delicious way to use this homemade crockpot applesauce.
- SPICES! Pumpkin on its own is actually pretty bland, so we need to spice it up. Pumpkin Pie Spice is a true time saver and worth adding to your pantry if you bake often. The one downfall is that it doesn’t have enough cinnamon in it (in my cinnamon-loving opinion), so I added some extra cinnamon to the recipe also.
- Pure Vanilla Extract. No resisting it.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk. Or any milk you like. If you are concerned with keeping the bread vegan/dairy free, be sure to use a dairy free option.
- Toppings and Mix-Ins. Feel free to top this pumpkin bread with chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, or chocolate chips. It would also be delicious as a pumpkin cranberry bread.
In addition to sprinkling the nuts, seeds, and/or chocolate chips on top, you can also fold up to ½ cup into the batter. Given my love of pumpkin and chocolate together, I suspect that a chocolate chip vegan pumpkin bread is sure to follow later this fall.
Another favorite feature of vegan pumpkin bread: it is SUPER easy to make!
- Grab a small and a large mixing bowl. In the small bowl, stir the flaxseed meal together with the water and set aside. Let it gel for a few minutes. This creates a flax “egg” that will bind the vegan pumpkin bread and help it rise too.
- In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add that magic flax egg!
- In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. If you accidentally go overboard on the pumpkin spice, I will not judge.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients and stir. Be gentle.
- Now it’s time to bake! Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper (no one likes sticking). Scrape the batter in (it will be thick but don’t worry). Sprinkle the top as your heart desires.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F, then loosely tent the pan with foil to keep the top from browning too quickly. Keep on baking for another 50 to 60 minutes (70 to 80 minutes total), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Now the hard part: let it cool in the pan for a full hour. This will give the flavors time to marry and make the bread easier to cut. Serve yourself a big ‘ol slice and ENJOY.
How to Store Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- To Store. Keep bread at room temperature according to this guide for How to Store Muffins and Quick Breads for up to 2 days. This bread is SUPER moist, and doesn’t last as long at room temperature. If you want it to last longer, I suggest placing it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Place vegan pumpkin bread in an airtight freezer safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months. I also love to wrap and freeze individual slices for quick pumpkin bread portions.
Recommended Tools To Make Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- This is my absolute favorite loaf pan. (It comes in a 9×5-inch size also.)
- Obsessed with this spatula. It’s great for sautéing and mixing batter, and is super easy to clean and heatproof.
What are you most excited to bake this fall? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. And if you make this recipe, please let me know! Your enthusiasm and hearing you enjoy my recipes makes my day, every day ♥
Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree about 1 ½ cups (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- For topping: pumpkin seeds chocolate chips, or chopped raw walnuts or pecans (optional)
- In a small bowl, stir the flaxseed meal together with the water. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken (this creates 2 “flax eggs.”) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so that two sides of paper overhang two opposite sides of the pan like "handles." Lightly coat with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and applesauce until well blended. Add the thickened flaxseed mixture, and stir until fully combined. Stir in the pumpkin puree, almond milk, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the white whole wheat flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients. By hand, stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until the flour disappears. The batter will be very thick.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, nuts, or pumpkin seeds as desired. Bake for 20 minutes, then loosely tent the pan with foil to keep the top from browning too quickly. Continue baking for 50 to 60 additional minutes (70 to 80 minutes total), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Be sure to test the bread and a few different places to make sure that it is fully cooked through. An even easier way to check: use an instant read thermometer! When it registers 200 degrees F at the center of the loaf, the bread is baked.
- Place the pan on a wire rack, and let it cool in the pan for 1 hour. Gently remove the loaf from the pan using the parchment paper handles, and transfer the loaf to the wire rack to finish cooling completely. Enjoy!
- If you do not need the pumpkin bread to be vegan, you can replace the flax eggs (2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 5 tablespoons water) with 2 large eggs at room temperature (omit the water).
- No pumpkin pie spice? Use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice.
- TO MAKE GLUTEN-FREE: I haven't yet experimented with making this bread gluten-free. If you'd like to try, I would recommend starting with a 1:1 baking blend like this one.
- TO STORE: Store at room temperature according to this guide for How to Store Muffins and Quick Breads for up to 2 days (this bread is SUPER moist, so it doesn't last as long at room temp) or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze for up to 3 months. I also love to freeze individual slices for quick pumpkin bread portions.
- Recipe adapted from my Vegan Pumpkin Muffins.
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