There's nothing like a quick bread straight from the oven to ring in autumn. As the weather cools and harvest slips from summer fruits to fall vegetables, it's time to pull out the pie spices and start making some favorite comfort recipes.

One of the things I love most about quick breads is how easy it is to make them vegan. Vegan versions have all the moist fluffiness and sweet flavor of old-fashioned recipes, with a fraction of the fat and refined sugars. They are also really easy to make gluten-free without sacrificing flavor or texture.

Now, "healthy" is a bit of a stretch, since quick breads can't really be considered health food. But as far as pumpkin bread recipes go, this is one of the healthiest you'll find. Just like my Healthy Blueberry Banana Bread!

This pumpkin bread is super moist and sweet with just a bit of spice. It tastes pretty much like pumpkin pie in bread form. This recipe would be great to make in muffin tins as well, with a little spiced vegan whipped cream on top!

Pumpkin bread on a plate

Possible adjustments: While this recipe provides ingredients for making a gluten-free bread, you can make substitutions if you aren't worried about wheat. Just use all-purpose flour instead of the multi-flour blend, and whole wheat flour instead of the brown rice flour. Make cup-for-cup substitutions. You can also use agave instead of maple syrup, or honey if you aren't a strict vegan.

I used olive oil, a good-for-you oil, in my bread but I list grapeseed oil in this recipe. The reason is because the olive oil I use happens to have a very mild flavor and works well, but all olive oils aren't so mild. Many are on the bitter side and taste like, well, olives — not something that always pairs well with baked sweets. If you decide to use olive oil, taste it first and decide if it will be mild enough for this recipe. You can use half grapeseed, half olive oil, or perhaps even use walnut oil for a healthier oil substitution that also lends even more nutty flavor. Olive and walnut oils are sources of healthy fat, but if you'd like to lower the fat content in your bread, use applesauce instead. Applesauce makes an excellent substitution for oil but you will have a sweeter bread, so perhaps cut down a little on the maple syrup (by using more water than maple syrup in the wet ingredients).

Finally, feel free to make your own decisions on what kind of nuts you'd like to use. You could add in pumpkin seeds as well. And raisins wouldn't go amiss here, either!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 60-65 minutes

Yields: 1 loaf

Healthy Pumpkin and Spice Quick Bread


  • 1 cup multi-flour gluten-free blend (I like Multi-Blend Flour from Authentic Foods)
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or apple sauce for low-fat version)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey, agave or similar natural sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, almonds and pecans

Sliced pumpkin bread

Cooking directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, soda, baking powder, salt and all the spices. Dry ingredients for your bread
  3. Next, in a small bowl, stir together pumpkin, oil, syrup, and water.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, combining until everything is just moistened and forms a thick batter.
  5. Fold in chopped nuts. Adding the nuts to your pumpkin bread
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and place in the center rack of the oven. Pumpkin bread dough ready for the oven
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Using a butter knife or flat spatula, gently loosen the bread from the sides of the pan, and tip it out. Set the loaf on the wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Enjoy!

Fresh from the oven pumpkin bread

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Healthy Pumpkin and Spice Quick Bread
This pumpkin bread is super moist and sweet with just a bit of spice.