Here I go again with another pumpkin recipe! This Iced Pumpkin Protein Bread is vegan, gluten-free, and low in sugar… the perfect snack to pair with coffee or chai tea (mmm). Even though this bread boasts 14 grams of protein per slice, it’s ridiculously soft, heavy with moisture, and full of pumpkin spice flavor! That dairy-free cream cheese is just the icing on the err… bread 😉 I love this so much I’ve made it four times already!
Did you know? The isoflavones (plant estrogens in soy) are much weaker than our own. A 2016 meta-analysis reported that soy consumption equivalent to 150mg of isoflavones per day has no measurable effect on blood estrogen levels. That’s FIVE 3 oz. servings of tofu or tempeh! Soy protein powder has even less of an effect since 80-90% of isoflavones are lost in processing. The study went on to state that regular soy consumption is associated with a reduced rates of breast and prostate cancer, as well as reduced CRP, a marker of inflammation. However, soy is a common allergen, so those who are allergic or sensitive should avoid it.
I wanted to cover some of the current research on soy because I am constantly hearing on Instagram how soy causes acne, raises estrogen levels, and increases the risk of various cancers. I was totally in agreement until I started digging into the latest mega-studies! I no longer need to fear soy protein, soy cream cheese, or soy-based buttery spreads. However, I still limit my consumption to two servings per day, just to be safe. I also avoid soybean oil because it is more inflammatory (very high in omega-6).
Anyway, back to this iced pumpkin protein bread! I have used multiple types of plant-based protein powders in this recipe and they all work: soy isolate, pea isolate, and pumpkin seed protein (yes, that’s a thing)! I do NOT recommend subbing whey, casein or collagen for the vegan protein without other modifications. If using whey or casein protein, I would suggest substituting half a cup of water for an additional half cup of pumpkin puree, and maybe even doubling the amount of sunflower butter (whey tends to dry out baked goods). If using collagen, I would suggest leaving out the water completely, as collagen absorbs little to no moisture.
For the flour, I’ve had best results with gluten-free baking flour. You can substitute up to half a cup of the baking flour for a quarter cup of coconut flour to lower the carbs, but this will yield a less “springy” bread. You can also try substituting the gluten-free baking flour for an equal measure of all-purpose flour, brown rice flour, cake flour, cassava flour (Paleo), oat flour (oats blended into flour), sorghum flour, spelt flour, tiger nut flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
For the sweetener, I’ve been loving this granulated monk fruit sweetener! It’s calorie-free and measures 1:1 like sugar. Feel free to use baking stevia or granulated erythritol if you prefer. If using a sweetener that’s twice as sweet as sugar (like Pyure or Truvia), you’ll only need half as much (six tablespoons). You can also use coconut sugar or raw sugar but doing so will increase the calories, carbs, and sugar!
Oh PS, if you don’t have all the individual spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves), you can use one tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice instead.
For the wet ingredients, I used 100% pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling). Make sure to use half a cup more if subbing whey or casein protein powder! Instead of eggs, I used water and ground flaxseed to make “flax eggs” (can sub two whole eggs or half a cup of egg whites if not vegan). I also added some yummy sunflower seed butter, but feel free to swap out the sunflower seed butter for almond butter, cashew butter, or two tablespoons of vegan buttery spread like Earth Balance. Again, you may need to double that if using whey or casein!
For the icing, I combined soy-based cream cheese, confectioner’s erythritol, and vanilla extract. You can totally sub coconut cream cheese, almond cream cheese, or reduced fat dairy cream cheese without changing the nutrition much. Powdered monk fruit sweetener can be used in place of the confectioner’s erythritol, or regular powdered sugar… but it’s way higher in sugar, carbs and calories.
Here’s the printable recipe for this vegan Iced Pumpkin Protein Bread! I hope you’ll rate and comment below if you try it 🙂
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Iced Pumpkin Protein Bread (Vegan)
- 1 cup (140g) gluten-free baking flour*
- 3/4 cup (90g) vegan protein powder*
- 3/4 cup calorie-free sweetener* I used granulated monk fruit
- 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed*
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt optional
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon*
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg*
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger*
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves* or 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice instead of individual spices
- 1 1/2 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter*
- 1/2 cup 4 oz. dairy-free cream cheese*
- 1/2 cup sugar-free powdered sweetener* I used confectioner’s erythritol
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
*See above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together dry ingredients (through spices) in a large mixing bowl.
- Add in wet ingredients (through sunflower butter) and mix just until no clumps remain. Batter should be thick.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (recommended) or generously coat with cooking spray.
- Spread batter evenly into the bottom of the pan using a spoon or spatula.
- Set cream cheese on the counter at room temperature to soften.
- Bake for loaf for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. Check at 40 minutes for whey or casein! Let cool for 15-20 minutes before removing from pan.
- Combine softened cream cheese, sweetener, and vanilla until smooth, then spread over loaf (optional).
- Slice into 8 pieces and enjoy! Leftovers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container at least one week.