One of the last items on my ‘miss-it-so-much-I-gotta-veganize-it’ list has been a super moist, light and crumbly loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread.
Veganizing pumpkin bread wasn’t a big challenge. But making it vegan and oil free and really moist almost stumped me. After a bit of trial and error, this scrumptious Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips recipe was born.
This pumpkin loaf cake is a close cousin to my lemon loaf cake made with almond flour. It's moist and a little decadent, without oil.
How to make vegan pumpkin bread with no oil
First, to replace the eggs in traditional pumpkin chocolate chip bread, we use flax eggs. That’s pretty standard in vegan baking, and it worked well in this recipe too.
We also have to choose a vegan chocolate chip. I actually prefer vegan cacao baking chips. The ones I like are 85% cacao; they’re full of healthy cacao and low in added sugars. But you could use regular vegan chocolate chips like Enjoy Life.
To replace the oil, I ended up using the same ingredients to add richness and moisture to this pumpkin bread that I use in my healthy brownies with peppermint frosting recipe: applesauce and almond butter. It didn’t take much of either; just enough to keep the bread from feeling dry and ‘gummy.’
How to make gluten free vegan pumpkin bread
To make a gluten free option for this recipe, I used oat flour. I baked loaves with both whole wheat pastry flour and oat flour I bought at the store, and they were both good. Though I personally preferred the whole wheat flour.
If you can’t find oat flour at the store, you can buy rolled outs and make your own in a food processor or clean coffee grinder. It takes about 1 ¼ cups of rolled oats to make a cup of oat flour.
Baking with silicone
When I set out to make this recipe, I discovered I had apparently donated my old loaf pan during a recent move. This turned out to be a good thing, because I am SO digging my new dishwasher safe, BPA free silicone loaf pan. Rather than a flimsy silicone liner, this pan is reinforced with steel on the inside. (Since I regularly cook in flip-flops, this is pretty reassuring.)
It’s practically magical the way the cooled pumpkin bread simply popped right out of this pan! Lining a traditional metal pan with parchment paper would also be a fine way to avoid using oil. But if you’ve been thinking of trying silicone bakeware, so far, I give mine two thumbs up.
The perfect, healthy vegan pumpkin bread
This loaf is not overly sweet or rich. It’s moist and delicious, with the perfect amount of crumbliness (if that makes any sense!) It’s got a pleasing, light texture I don’t always find in oil free or gluten free baked goods.
In fact, Hemant and I are loving this recipe—probably a little too much. I’m not sure how long a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread should last in a 2-person household, but 24-hours doesn’t seem like the right answer. Let’s just say I’m glad I finally got a result I love. I think I’ll work on to a couple of salad recipes next.
If you like this healthy vegan recipe, you might also like:
- Healthy Brownies with Peppermint Frosting
- No-Bake Carrot Cake Bites
- Baked Tortilla Vegan Cannolis
- Rustic Polenta Muffins
Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips
- 2 cups flour whole wheat pastry flour OR gluten-free oat flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or sub 2 tsps cinnamon + ¼ teaspoon nutmeg + ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cups pumpkin puree about ⅔ a 15-ounce can, NOT pumpkin pie filling
- 2 'flax eggs' 2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 6 tablespoons warm water
- 1 cup large Medjool dates pitted & chopped (about 8-9 dates)
- ½ cup plain unsweetened plant milk
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ - ½ cups vegan cacao chips or chocolate chips plus more for topping if desired, see notes
- Preheat the oven to 350°degrees Fahrenheit, and line an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan with parchment paper. (Or use a non-stick silicon pan.)
- In a small bowl, whisk the ground flaxseed and warm water together, and set aside to thicken for 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt).
- Soften the chopped dates by placing them in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water, and microwaving on high for 30 seconds.
- Add the softened dates (with any liquid) and the plant milk to a food processor or blender. Process on high until it forms a thin date paste. (It's okay if small bits of date remain.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, date mixture, flax eggs, applesauce, almond butter, vinegar and vanilla), and stir until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir to fully combine. Don't overmix.
- Add the chocolate chips, and gently fold them into the batter.
- Use a rubber scraper to spoon the batter into the loaf pan. If desired, add a few more chocolate chips to the top.
- Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
- I like to use 85% cacao chips, as they contain healthy cacao and not much added sweetener. Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips are also a good option.
- Please note, while chocolate chips are fine for some of us as an occasional treat, chocolate contains cocoa butter, which has saturated fat and can raise cholesterol levels. If this is a concern for you, please enjoy this bread without the chocolate chips.