115-ounce can pumpkin pureeabout 1 ½ cups (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1/4cupunsweetened almond milk
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
2cupswhite whole wheat flour
1 1/2teaspoonspumpkin pie spice*
For topping: pumpkin seedschocolate 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, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 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.