What do you think of when you visualize a protein-packed breakfast? A plate of eggs? Oatmeal topped with peanut butter? A protein powder-spiked smoothie? Sure, those are all excellent protein-rich meals, but what about a thick slice of pumpkin bread?
A high-protein pumpkin loaf is exactly what baker Sashah Handal whips up in the latest episode of Alt-Baking Bootcamp. If anyone knows the importance of getting enough protein at breakfast time, it's Handal. Not only is she a nutrition coach, she's also a fitness instructor at Barry's Bootcamp. Getting enough protein before her classes is key—and her pumpkin loaf recipe definitely delivers, with 14 grams of protein per serving.
"You can enjoy this loaf any season, any time, and it's sure to help you power through your day," Handal says. The protein sources in the loaf are eggs, almond flour, millet flour, and pecans, all of which are also full of healthy fats, which support cardiovascular health. Other core ingredients in this recipe include overripe banana, pumpkin puree, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Handal starts by using an electric mixer to whisk together the eggs and coconut sugar. "It's very important that you whisk the eggs and sugar together for two to three minutes," she says. This, she explains, generates a lot of air, which allows the loaf to rise once it's in the oven. Once the mixture takes on a frothy texture, you'll know it's perfect.
Next, Handal adds the banana and pumpkin into the mixer, blending it with the eggs and coconut sugar. Then, she adds melted coconut oil, the alt-flours, and spices. Pro tip: Make sure the oil isn't hot when you add it. Otherwise, it will melt the eggs instead of doing its job of binding the ingredients together. "The last ingredient you're going to add is pecans. I like to add whole pecans because I like it when I bite into a piece of the loaf and have that nice crunch," Handal says.
Once everything is mixed together, the batter is poured into a loaf pan and popped into the oven. An hour later, your pumpkin-pecan loaf is ready to eat. "The flours that we used are so high in protein, so they tend to be a little bit denser, but pairing those with the moisture of the banana and the pumpkin makes for this beautiful texture that would be unachievable any other way," Handal says after taking a big bite.
Drooling yet? Get the pumpkin loaf recipe below and watch the episode to see step-by-step to see exactly how to make it.
High-protein pumpkin-pecan loaf recipe
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 overripe banana
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup millet flour
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine four room-temperature eggs and your coconut sugar. Beat together first until light and fluffy. Next, combine your pumpkin puree and banana, then add to the sugar and egg mixture, beating well. Then, add your spices, beating until incorporated.
2. In a separate medium bowl, combine your flours and baking powder, combining and sifting until no lumps remain. Next, combine your flour mixture into your pumpkin mixture and beat well until all dry ingredients are absorbed and a thick batter remains. Then, pour your coconut oil into your batter as you continue to beat on medium. Finally, fold your nut of choice into your batter.
3. Pour your batter into a pre-greased, parchment-lined loaf pan. Bake for one hour, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through. Allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to cool for one hour before serving.
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