Pumpkins are difficult. Cutting into them, digging out the goo, chopping it up and removing the skins…ugh. I’ve successfully used avoidance techniques the last few years and left them to rot.

But Green B.E.A.N. Delivery sent me a smaller version of the typical jack-o-lantern, and dared to challenge me to forgo the canned stuff and “cook the real thing”.

What? I thought pumpkins were for painting, decorating and art projects that turn the kitchen into a orange, slimy war zones. Real pumpkin comes in a can. From the store. In the baking isle.

But as I was making my coffee this morning, I walked by that little pumpkin ornament sitting in my fruit bowl looking so cute, and I gave a double glance. Cook it? How?

I turned my oven to 350 degrees, stuck the whole thing in, poured my coffee and went to my office. About an hour later, my nose alerted me that it was done.

I pulled it out, left it on the counter and went to yoga. I’m not burning my fingers over an experiment with no destination in site.

I came home to a fall fragrance that invited me into the kitchen. My alter ego, Betty Baker, was in business. The skins kindly pulled away from the squash, and the soft guts went into my colander, where I rinsed and found (gasp!) pumpkin seeds! Talk about a buy-one-get-one-free!

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

I combined a zucchini bread, banana bread and pumpkin bread recipe, and assumed I was competent to make it work. Confidence is half the battle.

  • 1.5 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of clove (it called for nutmeg, but I didn’t have any…)

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients and set aside

My pumpkin was about 10 inches in diameter and gave me about two cups of the vegetable.

In a separate bowl, I mixed:

  • 2 cups of pumpkin
  • 1 cup of sugar (you could use less, it was pretty sweet)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of flaxseed oil (you could substitute here, but this lends a buttery flavor high in lignan.)
  • 1 egg replacer (follow box directions and whip before adding).

Add the wet to the dry a little at a time. I had a few tablespoons of the wet leftover, which I ate with a spoon. The batter should be thick–like the consistency of guacamole or hummus).

Grease a small bread pan, add the batter and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the toothpick-test to the center comes clean.

I added a few dabs of coconut milk to 1/4 cup of powdered sugar for the glaze. If you want it to melt, coat while it’s hot. If you want it to stay white (so the kids know it’s there), wait until it’s completely cool.

We don’t wait. We glaze, and it’s gone before anyone can even ask for a glass of milk.