Recipes

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts

I love coffee-shop donuts as much as the next person, and maybe more. I don’t eat them very often because while they taste good going down, donuts usually bother my stomach afterwards. When I crave a hunk of sugary fried dough, I turn to baked Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts instead because they offer way more – and far less – than typical coffee shop choices.

maple walnut pumpkin donuts

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts are a better choice for donut-lovers.

Maple pumpkin donuts with nuts are healthier

Donuts, including all the variations on pumpkin and maple offered at supermarkets, convenience stores, and coffee shops, supply little in the way of nutrition. Most store-bought donuts are fried, which jacks up the calorie and fat content.

Here’s how one of my maple walnut pumpkin donuts stacks up to a vanilla frosted donut (the closest I could find to my donut for the sake of comparison) from a national coffee shop chain.

My better-for-you version has:

• 212 calories versus 270 calories in the commercial donut.

• 1/3 the saturated fat.

• 3 times the dietary fiber, thanks to whole wheat flour and canned pumpkin puree

• 64% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, primarily from pumpkin.

• Nearly 900 milligrams of potassium, about 20% to 30% of what most adults need for the entire day, largely from the pumpkin.

•1 serving of whole grains (Experts recommend at least 3 servings of whole grains daily.)

Donuts are not generally known for their health benefits, but this recipe is different.  It’s good to know that you’re getting so much in the way of nutrition along with great taste.

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts

These baked maple walnut pumpkin donuts are delicious and nutritious.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: donutswithnuts, healthydonuts, maplewalnut, pumpkindonuts
Servings: 12
Calories: 212kcal
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat two standard donut pans with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, and add the pumpkin, 1/2 cup of the maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Mix until well combined.
  • Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t overmix.
  • Spoon the batter into the donut pans, filling to about 1/4″ shy of the rim, and making sure the center post is clear.
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove donuts from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove donuts from pan and cool further.
  • To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and the milk and stir until smooth. Frost each donut and top with chopped walnuts.
    NOTE: For less added sugar, omit the glaze, and add the walnuts to the batter. If desired, coat warm donuts in maple sugar or a sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Notes

Per donut: 212 calories; 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat); 36 milligrams cholesterol; 220 milligrams sodium; 35 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 5 grams protein
maple walnut pumpkin donuts on a wire rack.

For less added sugar, skip the glaze and add the nuts to the donut batter.

Can’t get enough pumpkin? Try this Pumpkin Spice Smoothie and these Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour.

maple walnut pumpkin donuts pinterest

Easy Flourless Black Bean Brownies

Warning: Rave ahead. As in I can’t stop raving about these easy flourless black bean brownies that are also gluten-free!

Black bean brownie topped with raspberries and melted chocolate on a white plate.

The health benefits of beans

This might come as a surprise: beans are vegetables and they are bursting with nutrition. Beans supply several nutrients including protein and potassium, and they contain phytonutrients, which are plant compounds that protect your cells against damage.

Black beans, and other legumes, also contribute fiber to your eating plan. Fiber feeds the beneficial gut bacteria that support your immune system and help prevent you from getting sick from a virus or bacteria.


Fruits and vegetables can make indulgences like brownies, bars, and cookies better for you, even when the baked goods contain added sugar.


Why beans are a good ingredient substitute for baking

You can use beans to replace some of the fat and flour when baking, and enhance the texture of baked goods, like these brownies. I have nothing against fat or flour, however. I just like to bake with beans sometimes!

I love desserts that have more to offer more than calories, and these brownies are one of them. The black beans and the raspberries pump up the fiber content to 10 grams per serving, which is more than 25% of your daily fiber needs! Along with the eggs, beans also contribute protein, so that a serving has 7 grams, which, along with fiber, helps you to feel satisfied.

I top my brownies with raspberries because they are delicious, beautiful, and nutritious. Raspberries supply vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients, and so much more. And, raspberries provide natural sweetness so you can use less added sugar in baked goods.

Flourless black bean brownies topped with raspberries and melted dark chocolate on a wire rack.


These easy flourless black bean brownies take less than 40 minutes to prepare from start to finish. While they look special enough for a celebration, they’re also easy enough to make any time.


Easy Flourless Black Bean Brownies

Delicious, easy, flourless black brownies topped with fresh raspberries.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: blackbeanbrownies, flourlessbrownies, glutenfreebrownies
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips*
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  • Place the beans and 3 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Process on high until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.  
  • Add the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and blend well.  
  • Add the baking powder and salt and blend for 10 seconds more. 
  • Stir in 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove the brownies and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
  • Top the brownies with the raspberries, forming a single layer.
  • Combine the remaining teaspoon of canola oil and the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until chips are melted, about 20 to 30 seconds, stopping to stir once.  
  • Immediately drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the raspberries. Allow the chocolate to harden for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 8 equal pieces.
    * You can also use white chocolate chips for the topping, if desired.

Notes

Per serving (1/8 of recipe): 
319 calories; 15 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat); 48 milligrams cholesterol; 324 milligrams sodium; 46 grams carbohydrate; 10 grams fiber; 8 grams protein

Flourless black bean brownies topped with raspberries and melted white chocolate

You can also substitute white chocolate chips for dark, if you like. Here’s a post about using the ingredients you have on hand.

Two black bean brownies topped with fresh raspberries on white plates on a gray background.

 

 

 

Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato

 

tuna burger topped with smashed avocado and tomato on a whole grain bun on plate with baby carrots

Tuna burgers are ready in less than 30 minutes!

We make tuna burgers with smashed avocado and tomato a lot at our house.  I love the recipe so much that I included it in my book, Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. 

If you’re looking for an affordable, meatless meal, or you want a break from regular hamburgers, give these burgers a try.

Canned tuna helps you include seafood at least twice a week

Experts suggest that adults eat at least two fish meals weekly, and that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume two to three meals a week. However, you don’t need to be pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive to enjoy the benefits of these burgers!

My burgers are made with canned tuna, an inexpensive, convenient source of several nutrients, including protein, iodine, and omega-3 fats necessary for an adult’s heart health, and for a baby’s brain development and vision.

 

empty tuna can to form tuna burgers

Use an empty tuna can to form the burgers so that they are uniform in size and fit on the buns or English muffins.

 

 

golden brown tuna burgers in skillet

The tuna burgers should be cooked until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.  


Pro Tip

Make a double batch of this recipe and freeze half. They are easy to reheat for a quick lunch or dinner.


cooked tuna burgers wrapped to freeze for later use

Wrap cooked, cooled tuna burgers well and date the package. They will last for several months in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave and make the avocado/tomato topping just before serving.

tuna burger on bun topped with avocado-tomato mixture

Delicious and nutritious Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado and Tomato pack omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, and much more!

 

Tuna Burgers with Smashed Avocado and Tomato

A budget-friendly, meatless option for lunch or dinner.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easydinnerrecipe, fishmeal, tunaburger
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 5 1/2-ounce cans or pouches of tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pitted ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 small tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 2-ounce whole wheat: sandwich buns, sandwich thins, or English muffins, toasted if desired

Instructions

  • Place the tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break into small pieces with a fork.  
  • Add the bread crumbs, eggs, shallots, and dill, and stir until combine well.  
  • Form the mixture into four burgers of equal size.
  • In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook burgers for about four minutes on each side.
  • In a small bowl, combine the avocado and tomato until just mixed, mashing lightly while stirring.  
  • To serve, place burgers on sandwich buns and top with the avocado-tomato mixture. 

Notes

Per serving: 
430 calories; 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 139 milligrams cholesterol; 810 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 39 grams protein

tuna burgers with avocado and tomato pinterest

No Added Sugar Shamrock Shake (vegan)

vegan matcha green smoothie shake

Fast food green drinks are fun to sip, especially around St. Patrick’s day, but they are usually overly sweet and low on nutrition. If you’re looking for a healthier beverage, this no added sugar shamrock shake is for you.

This delicious drink supplies one and a half servings of fruits and vegetables, nine grams of fiber, calcium, heart-healthy fat, and much more, and it gets some of its vibrant color from matcha. 

What is matcha? 

Matcha is ground green tea that’s typically used to make a hot beverage. As a powder, matcha is potent and a little goes a long way in terms of flavor and color.

Does matcha have health benefits? 

Matcha and other green tea contains antioxidants that may fight cancer.  Drinking green tea on a regular basis is linked to lower blood pressure and lower levels of LDL, or bad, cholesterol in the blood.

However, there’s not much research on matcha itself. Even though matcha is a type of green tea, experts aren’t sure that it has the same effects as other green tea on health.

Does matcha have caffeine? 

Matcha contains caffeine, but relatively low levels. As a result, this no added sugar shamrock shake provides a gentle energy lift, rather than a jolt.

different kinds of matcha green tea powder

I use McCormick Gourmet Organic Matcha Green Tea with Ginger Seasonings*.  It supplies about 4 milligrams of caffeine per serving, which is the same amount of caffeine as 12 ounces of decaffeinated coffee.

vegan matcha green smoothie with a bowl of matcha powder

When you make the smoothie with regular matcha, the caffeine content is about 50 milligrams, which is still far less than coffee. For example, 16 ounces of Starbucks coffee has 330 milligrams caffeine.

I hope you enjoy this better-for-you drink that you can make with a soy beverage so that it’s vegan, or with dairy milk. It’s your choice!

No Added Sugar Shamrock Shake

A delicious and nutritious version of sugary fast food milkshakes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana, greensmoothie, milkshake, shamrockshake, vegansmoothie
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup baby spinach or kale
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana, sliced
  • 1/2 pitted ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened fortified soy beverage or 1% low fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp. matcha

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. 
  • Blend on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass and drink immediately.

Notes

Nutrition information: 281 calories; 16 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 6 milligrams cholesterol; 76 milligrams sodium; 32 grams carbohydrate; 9 grams fiber; 8 grams protein

*I did not receive compensation or product from McCormick or Organic Living Superfoods and they are not my clients.

green match smoothie drink

Easy Beef and Bean Chili

bowl of chili with beans, beef, yellow and red bell pepper

Using beans in chili cuts down on the meat in this hearty dish.

Chili is the perfect meal for cooler days, and you can put it together fast with canned goods, such as beans and tomatoes. Easy beef and bean chili is is lighter on beef than most recipes, packed with vegetables, and features a secret ingredient that boosts flavor and nutrition without overpowering the dish.

It’s a good idea to make a double batch of this easy, nutritious dish, especially when you have lots of mouths to feed. Freeze what you don’t use for later.

Why canned beans are good for you

Canned beans are a godsend. Beans supply protein, fiber, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals. And, as part of a balanced diet, beans can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood that lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.

In addition, beans are rich in prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut, which benefits your health in several ways.  Most of your immune system is located in your gut, which is why it’s helpful to eat foods that promote the beneficial bacteria that help prevent you from getting sick.

two hands holding uncooked legumes (beans)

It’s OK to used canned beans, which are already cooked!

I choose canned beans for the sake of convenience and because I usually forget to buy dried beans and soak them! Rinse canned beans to reduce their sodium content by as much as 40%.

How to make vegetarian chili 

This recipe is flexible.  Skip the meat and add more beans and tomatoes to make a vegetarian chili, or use different types of beans, such as white kidney beans and garbanzo beans.

Also, I’m a wimp, so I keep the heat to a minimum. You can add chili powder, jalapeño peppers, more cumin, or any other spice you like. It’s your choice!

bowl of cocoa powder

Unsweetened cocoa powder intensifies the flavors in chili and other savory dishes.

 

How to Use Cocoa Powder in Chili

You may be used to cocoa powder in brownies, cake, and smoothies. While cocoa powder is often associated with desserts, I also use it in this chili recipe. Unsweetened cocoa powder upgrades easy beef and bean chili by intensifying the flavor, and you won’t even know it’s there.

Cocoa powder is also good for you.

Cocoa contains antioxidants called flavonoids. While it’s unclear exactly how flavonoids benefit health, they may help to lower blood pressure, which protects the heart and the brain.

Buy unsweetened cocoa powder that hasn’t been treated with alkaline, which reduces flavonoid content. Avoid Dutch-process cocoa, which has lower flavonoid levels.

Easy Beef and Bean Chili

Delicious and nutritious chili that's easy to make from pantry staples and is ready in about 30 minutes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, chili, easydinnerrecipe, groundbeef
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces 95% lean ground beef or 100% ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, not drained

Instructions

  • Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, breaking it up into very small pieces.  
  • Season meat with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the oil to the saucepan and heat over medium heat.  
  • Add the onion and saute for two minutes or until soft. 
  • Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.  
  • Add peppers, and continue to cook until peppers are soft, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the beans, tomatoes, cocoa powder, and meat to the pan. Combine thoroughly. 
  • Cover, and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Notes

Nutrition facts per serving: 291 calories, 21 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fiber, 9 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 33 milligrams cholesterol, 586 milligrams sodium 

bowl of easy beef and bean chili pinterest

8 Easy to Make, Better Than Store-bought Foods

There are a few everyday foods I don’t buy anymore, including cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and almond butter, because they are easy to make at home, and they taste better.  On the flip side, there are several so-called convenience foods I can’t do without. I asked a few of my foodie friends about what they absolutely must make from scratch, as well as their “processed food” picks that get healthy meals on the table fast, and they served up these eight easy to make, better than store-bought foods!

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, Nutritioulicious

Must-have homemade food: Peanut sauce

Why: “Most packaged peanut sauces are really high in sodium and sugar, so I’d rather make my own using natural, unsweetened peanut butter and adding my own amount of sweetener. I also add other flavor boosters like freshly grated ginger and sriracha, which packaged peanut sauces don’t have. Give it a whirl in the blender or food processor and it’s easy as can be!”

thai-chicken-satay-001-e1421890042788

Favorite convenience food: Canned beans

Why: “I love adding beans to salads, pasta dishes, sauces, and grain side dishes, but I would not use them as frequently as I do if I had to soak and cook them on my own. Time is of the essence when I’m trying to get dinner on the table in my house! A lot of people are hesitant to buy canned beans because of the sodium content, so I recommend buying the no-salt-added canned beans if you can find them and always drain and rinse the beans before adding to a dish.”

Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN, JaniceCooks

Must-have homemade food: Sweet and Hearty Beef Stew

Why: “It tastes better than the canned kind, and it’s better for you. My beef stew has half the sodium, twice the protein, and four times the fiber and vitamin A as the canned variety. It takes just minutes to toss the ingredients into the slow cooker and a hearty, tasty dinner is ready to serve a few hours later.”

10444937865_2f019444f1

Favorite convenience food: Canned pumpkin.

Why: “I tried cooking and mashing fresh pumpkin once and decided that it would be the last time. Canned pure pumpkin is so convenient and nutritious that I stock up every fall to be sure I can use it year round. I use it in muffins, pancakes, smoothies, even chili  and enchiladas! ”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, Nutrition Starring You

Must-have homemade food: Vegan ice cream

Why: “I don’t like the taste of store-bought vegan ice cream. It’s always high in added sugar and not nearly as high in protein as my version.”

banana-fudge-vegan-ice-cream-e1454809912675

Favorite convenience food: Bagged salad.

Why: “I couldn’t live without pre-washed greens, especially the cabbage blends because they are super filling and don’t get soggy so you can enjoy them for several meals. (Close second: rotisserie chicken for fast, easy lunches and dinners.)”

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, Real Mom Nutrition

Must-have homemade food: Salad dressing

Why: “Once I started making my own salad dressing, it was impossible to go back to the gloppy bottled kind–especially the ones with preservatives and artificial dyes.”

quickvinaigrette

Need more salad dressing ideas? Here’s 50 of them.

Favorite convenience food: Jarred pasta sauce

Why: “You can’t beat the convenience of it, and jarred sauce plus frozen ravioli is a last resort meal that saves us from ordering pizza or getting other take-out food. Pair that combination with prewashed greens and dinner is ready in 15 minutes!”

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, Amy Gorin Nutrition

Must-have homemade food: Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites

Why: “Unlike a lot of store-bought versions of energy bites, balls, and bars, my recipe contains no added sugar. Plus, they’re delicious!”

almond-pistachio-cocoa-bites

Favorite convenience food: Frozen fruit

Why: “Unsweetened frozen fruit is great for when I don’t have fresh in the house. It’s also sometimes preferable. When I use it in smoothies, I don’t need to add ice. And when I heat it up and use it as a topping for a bowl of oatmeal or French toast, it creates a nice liquid that can replace other toppings like syrup or brown sugar.”

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD, Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Must-have homemade food: Jam

Why: “I love to make homemade jam not only because I can control the added sugar content, but also because I load it with wholesome, nutrient-rich ingredients, like omega-3 chia seeds, fiber-filled figs and other seasonal fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless!”

20160807_083056

Favorite convenience food: Whole grain bread

Why: “I can’t live without whole grain bread! Sure, I can make my own, but there’s nothing like a nice, fresh loaf of 100% whole grain bread with seeds from the store that you can simply take out of the bag and place in the toaster for a quick avocado toast lunch!”

Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD, Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Must-have homemade food: Chocolate syrup

Why: “This beautifully glossy chocolate syrup is a tasty alternative to what you’ll find in the supermarket, products that often have artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and mystery ingredients.”

img_7964

Favorite convenience food: Frozen fruits and vegetables (among so many others!).

Why: “A bag of frozen spinach within reach is a quick way to up the health benefits of everything from stews to smoothies, and frozen spinach is great in smoothies along with frozen fruit. The nutrient values of frozen fruits and vegetables stay largely intact when produce is put under the deep freeze.”

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RDN 

Must-have homemade food: Granola

Why: “Most store-bought granola is loaded with added sugar and fat. My version has sugar and fat, too, but the fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind from nuts, and I add just enough pure maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.

Allspice or Chinese five spice powder provides added sweetness without sugar. For variety, I add 1/4 cup dried wild blueberries or unsweetened coconut during the last few minutes of baking. Add whatever you like to make it your own recipe.”

img_7833

Kathleen Zelman’s Granola

3 ½ cups old fashioned oats
2 cups finely chopped nuts of your choice (I love to mix pistachios, almonds, walnuts and pecans)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder

Preheat oven to 325˚F. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, stirring well to combine.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the granola to the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown. Higher heat burns the nuts.

Favorite convenience food: Canned petite diced tomatoes.

Why: “These little gems are the perfect addition to so many recipes. They add color, flavor, texture, fiber, and other nutrients. I put them in egg dishes, soups, sauces, stews, guacamole, chili, salsa, spaghetti sauce and anything with a red sauce. You can purchase them fire-roasted, with herbs and spices, and with no added salt.”

8 Easy to Make, Better Than Store-Bought Foods pinterest image

Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread

Loaf of healthy walnut raisin quick bread.

Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread is delicious and good for you, too.

I love to bake, and this Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread is a favorite of mine.

It took a lot of tries to get this recipe to work.  As a recipe developer, I’ve goofed by cutting back too much on one ingredient or another. You can benefit from my mistakes because I finally got it right this time!

Making Healthy Bread Without Yeast

When yeast is in short supply and when time is tight, quick breads, including muffins, scones, biscuits, and cornbread, are appealing to home bakers. Quick breads rise because they contain baking powder or baking soda (or both) and eggs.

As an impatient baker, I like to bake once, and eat twice.  Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread makes two loaves (or 24 muffins), and freezes well if you don’t need all of it at once.

How to Reduce Added Sugar in Quick Breads

The problem with many quick bread recipes is that they are full of added sugar. I have a sweet tooth, and I can easily go overboard with granulated, and brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and honey – all added sugars – but cutting back too much can be disastrous for baked goods.

This recipe is not free of added sugar. However, I’ve decreased the sugar content by using unsweetened applesauce, which also stands in for some of the oil, and raisins, which contribute natural sweetness. In addition to reducing added sugar levels, applesauce and raisins improve taste and texture, and add phytonutrients (protective plant compounds), potassium, and other nutrients.

Nuts Add Nutrition to Healthy Walnut Raisin Quick Bread 

I see a lot of quick bread recipes with chocolate chips, and, to tell the truth, my kids favor those! I’m not such a big fan, though. Even though I love chocolate, I substitute nuts.

I’m always looking for opportunities to improve nutrition without sacrificing taste. In this case, I’ve used walnuts, which supply protein, fiber, phytonutrients, and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. I love the crunch that they lend to the bread, too.

Also, to increase whole grain content, I swapped some whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour, and I added oats.  You could use even more whole wheat flour, or make other substitutions. Here’s how.

Healthy walnut raisin quick bread made into muffins.

You can make this recipe as muffins, if you like.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much I do!

Healthy Walnut Raisin Bread

Try this healthier version of a delicious quick bread!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: quickbread, raisins, walnuts
Servings: 24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray or line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, oatmeal, brown sugar, raisins, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.
  • Place the applesauce, canola oil, eggs, and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Blend on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. 
  • Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix. 
  • Fill the loaf pans with the batter, dividing it evenly between the 2 pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing. If you're making muffins, cook for 14-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Notes

Per slice or muffin:
219 calories,
11 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat),
228 milligrams sodium,
29 grams carbohydrate, 
6 grams added sugars,
2 grams fiber,
4 grams protein

pin for healthy walnut raisin quick bread

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