Homemade Pumpkin-Walnut Bread Recipe – Oil-Free, Refined Sugar Free

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As much as I love baking, I’ll admit that I’m not very good at coming up with my own recipes for baked goods. Following other people’s baking recipes? – No problem, I do that at least once a week. Coming up with my own stuff? That’s trickier, since baking is kind of an exact science.

Imagine my joy when this pumpkin-walnut bread actually came out good!

Vegan pumpkin walnut bread - oil free, egg free, refined sugar free

This pumpkin bread is moist, dense, and not overly sweet. As with most of my recipes, I didn’t add any oil. It’s not a low-fat recipe because there’s plenty of fat in the walnuts, but at least nuts ate a natural, unrefined source of fat. Want to make it extra-indulgent? Smear it with some of my homemade peanut butter!

Bread in the pan

This loaf makes a lovely dessert, a healthy anytime snack, or a good breakfast. I think sprinkling the top with walnut pieces makes it look very pretty, but you can use other nuts or seeds if you like. Shelled pumpkin seeds (a.k.a. pepitas) should work great!

Vegan pumpkin-walnut bread recipe

Feel free to experiment with other fillers: dried cherries, cranberries, raisins, or even chocolate chips will add a delicious twist! I chose to keep it simple with walnuts only to let the subtle flavors of pumpkin stand out.

Here’s an interesting trick that lets this vegan, no-oil-added loaf come out nice and moist: after you add the batter to the baking pan, make a dome out of aluminum foil and cover the pan with it. It doesn’t have to be very tight, in fact some wiggle room is preferable (the picture below, bottom right, shows what my dome looked like). Once your pan is covered, insert it into the oven, bake for 45 min, then take the foil off, and continue baking until done.

Collage (1)

And since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I just might add this pumpkin-walnut loaf to the list of desserts I’ll be making! Speaking of which… what vegan dishes are you planning to make for Thanksgiving this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Oil free vegan pumpkin walnut bread recipe


Homemade Vegan Pumpkin-Walnut Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Homemade Vegan Pumpkin-Walnut Bread

A classic fall dessert, this pumpkin-walnut loaf gets a healthy vegan makeover with no added refined sugars, fat (besides walnuts) or oil. Serve with a steamy cup of tea on chilly November afternoons.


    Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Spices:
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • Alternatively, use 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple/agave syrup
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • Fillers:
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
  • Alternatively, use up to 1 cup of mixed dried fruit and nuts, or 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and spices until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients until no lumps are left.
  4. Add dry mixture to the wet, one-third at a time, gently stirring to combine. Avoid overmixing, a few lumps are ok.
  5. Fold in 2/3 cup of chopped walnuts (or all of the other filler you are using).
  6. Lightly spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. (The pan I used is 9.25x5.25x3.75 inches.) Spoon all of the batter into the pan, making it even on top. Sprinkle the reserved chopped walnuts over the top of the loaf.
  7. Make a dome out of aluminum foil and loosely cover the pan with it. make sure to leave some room for the rising bread!
  8. Bake for 45 min at 350° F, then take off the foil and bake for 15-20 min more, or until a chopstick inserted in the thickest spot comes out dry and clean.
  9. Let rest for at least 10 min before attempting to take the loaf out of the pan, and then cool a little longer on a wire rack before serving.

Want to see more pumpkin recipes? Click here to see a list of 10 more interesting ideas!

Question for you: Have you made a vegan pumpkin loaf before using another recipe? Or do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe that calls for pumpkin? Please share with us!

Know someone who might love this recipe? Share it with them! And stick around for more awesomeness – subscribe to Vegan Runner Eats in the top right corner of this page to receive the latest posts, or follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram!

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About Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Being vegan eventually opened her eyes on the issues of animal welfare, environmental protection, human rights and feminism. Alina hopes that her blog will help its readers on their path to making this world a better place.

9 Responses to Homemade Pumpkin-Walnut Bread Recipe – Oil-Free, Refined Sugar Free

  1. Annie says:

    Yay! The VVP is only a few hours away!

    Oil-free pumpkin bread: yum!!

  2. Lauren says:

    Can I just say OMG? My success rate with baked goods is pretty low (it was worse when I was non-vegan). This recipe is so good, and I danced around the kitchen when 1)it looked beautiful coming out of the oven, and 2)it tasted amazing!! I added choc. chips to the batter and just sprinkled the walnuts on top. Heaven in my mouth!!
    I will be reposting this recipe on my own blog site and give you full credit!

    • Alina says:

      Wow Lauren, I’m so glad you loved this pumpkin bread! I’ve had my share of hits and misses with baked goods too, both vegan and non-vegan, but this recipe never disappoints! I’ve also made pumpkin-walnut muffins following this recipe.

  3. Hii 🙂 thank you for sharing all your recipes. I just found your blog and Im super excited because Ive been trying all week to bake something amazing for my mum, who due to health issues can’t eat eggs, dairy and milk. I hav yet to find a recipe that makes a non gummy cake/bread/muffin but im so excited to try this and your banana bread. My question is whether I can use honey instead of the maple syrup/agave syrup? Will the bread still be okay?

    Thank you xx

    • Alina says:

      Hi Linda! I haven’t tried honey in this recipe but I don’t see why it would be an issue. If you try this, please let me know how it comes out!

  4. Sarah Miller says:

    Made this in muffin form and they were absolutely amazing!!!!

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