With its luxurious taste and stellar nutritional profile, olive oil is one of those foods at the very nexus of healthful and delicious. Its taste can be delightfully fruity, peppery or more neutral, depending on the variety, but all of it is rich in monounsaturated fat, which has a protective effect on our health. On top of that, extra-virgin olive oil has high levels of antioxidant-like compounds called polyphenols, as well as vitamin E.
With all it has going for it, why not look beyond the usual – dipping, sauteing and dressing salads – and try using olive oil instead of butter in your baked goods? It works remarkably well, especially in cakes, muffins and quick breads that have a Mediterranean flair or lend themselves to deeper, more savory notes. To make the substitution, just use three tablespoons of olive oil for each 1/4 cup of butter, and opt for a subtly flavored variety with buttery or fruity undertones as opposed to a spicier one.
This pumpkin bread is a delicious example of how well it works. The oil lends a rich depth of flavor to the bread while allowing the warm spices to shine through. With that, and the addition of whole-grain flour and honey instead of refined sugar, you get a sumptuous, moist pumpkin bread that you can feel extra-good about eating.
Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
The pumpkin bread can wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and be frozen for up to 3 months. From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or regular whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use 2 teaspoons of the oil to grease the inside of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat the pumpkin, honey, brown sugar, the remaining 1/3 cup of the oil and the eggs in a separate bowl until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until evenly incorporated.
Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing it into the corners evenly. Sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds, pressing them down lightly. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and a wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the pumpkin bread to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.
Per serving: 200 calories, 3 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 20 g sugar