Last spring when I planted four butternut squash seeds beside my fence I had no idea I would end up with over fifty pounds of the tasty vegetable. I made butternut squash soups, casseroles and ravioli. I ate it simply roasted or steamed. And I made lots of pumpkin bread.
I know a lot of you are saying “wait a minute, butternut squash and pumpkin are two very different things!” The truth is, not all pumpkin varieties look like the ones we carve for Halloween. Any orange fleshed, firm skinned squash that grows on a course trailing vine qualifies. Many people are surprised to learn that most of the pumpkin purchased pre-cooked in cans actually comes from blue hubbard squash. This large squash with grayish-blue skin is shaped nothing like the iconic jack-o-lantern. Butternut squash not only IS a pumpkin, but it has all the pumpkin flavor you want without the stringiness present in some varieties.
When I started making the pumpkin bread, I used a traditional recipe that called for vegetable oil, white flour and sugar. I like to eat healthy foods that taste great so I tend to alter any recipe I get my hands on. The white flour has been swapped out for a combination of whole grain wheat flour and whole grain oat flour. I like to mix the two flours because the lower gluten content of the oats makes the end product “softer.” Coconut oil and honey are two ingredients I use often, so out went the vegetable oil and sugar. Spices add flavor and nutritional value so I use them liberally. Walnuts are a great source of good omega-3 fats, and they taste great baked on top. The result is delicious beyond words. It makes a great breakfast bread or afternoon snack. A thin slice topped with homemade vanilla honey ice-cream makes an incredible dessert. This year I’ll be planting eight seeds to make sure I have an excuse to make plenty of pumpkin bread.
Ingredients for one 8×8 pan or two standard loaf pans:
Whole Grain Pumpkin Bread
- 1 1/2 cups whole grain wheat flour
- 1/2 cup whole grain oat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 whole clove
- 2 teaspoons whole mace
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups pureed pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Grind all spices, then combine with the flours and baking soda. Cream together the coconut oil and honey. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined and fluffy. Add the pumpkin 1/2 cup at a time and beat well. Add the vanilla and molasses, mix well. Slowly add the dry mixture, do not over-mix. Put into a greased pan (or pans), top with the walnuts and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.