Healthy Pumpkin Spice Bread

I love pumpkin bread.  In the Fall, Starbuck’s features a pumpkin bread that is very popular, and quite tasty.  But after checking out this nutrition info (over 400 calories and almost 10 teaspoons of sugar), I realized it was quite the indulgence, and figured I could create something equally delicious that was more nutritious.

In this recipe, I’ve used as much pumpkin as possible to produce a tasty and moist bread without the loads of oil or other fat that most recipes call for (which quickly adds to the calorie count without adding many nutrients).  More pumpkin also means you’ll get more of this healthful vegetable in every bite.

Pumpkin is an exceptional source of carotenoids, pigments that act as antioxidants and are being studied for their disease-prevention potential.  Pumpkin is also a good source of dietary fiber and other important vitamins and minerals. A half cup of sugar is all you need to sweeten this loaf, and a good proportion of whole wheat flour delivers more fiber and other nutrients than using all white flour.


  • 1     cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2  cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  tsp. baking soda
  • 2      tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp. salt
  • 2      large eggs
  • 1.5   cups pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1/4   cup canola oil (or melted butter or trans-free margarine)
  • 1       tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2   tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2    cup raisins (or other dried fruit)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 ½ x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, butter, or margarine.
  2. In large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in pumpkin, canola oil, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in raisins.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until all dry ingredients are incorporated into batter. Do not beat or over-mix. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and continue cooling on rack.

Makes 1 loaf (12 slices).

Using Fresh Pumpkin

pumpkinsCanned pumpkin works well in this recipe, but you may want to use fresh pumpkin when they are in season. It’s generally not a good idea to use large pumpkins for cooking, since they don’t have as much flesh and it tends to be more watery, stringy, and have less flavour.  Small pumpkins (about 10-12 inches in diameter) are best for cooking.

Motivated to cook your own? Check my tips for How to Cut and Cook Squash.

Nutrition Per Slice
  • 170 Calories
  • 32 g Carbohydrate
  • 3.5 g Protein
  • 6 g Fat (1 g saturated)
  • 2.5 g Fiber
  • 31 mg Cholesterol
  • 300 mg Sodium
  • 17 g Sugars

Just for fun, contrast this with the Starbuck’s version. . .

  • 410 Calories
  • 63 g Carbohydrate 
  • 6 g Protein
  • 15 g Fat (3 g saturated)
  • 2 g Fiber
  • 55 mg Cholesterol
  • 500 mg Sodium
  • 39 g Sugars 

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