Baking swaps, Pumpkin Schnapps


As fall (slowly) inches its way here, and the weather cools down *hopefully*, we can finally turn on the oven for longer than a few minutes at a time and fill the house with that fresh baked goods smell. Here are some ways to bump up the nutrition on some recipes you might plan on making ...and enjoy with a few more nutrients/veggies/fruit snuck-in! Many ingredients found in baked goods can be *upgraded* to add some nutrition. Most of the time when substituting these ingredients for others, it can be very hard to tell the difference from the original recipe. Even if you’re not looking to make a recipe healthier, these substitution ideas can be used when you don’t have the original ingredients on hand. 

  • Vegetable oil: equal parts unsweetened applesauce or ¾ cup of pureed carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin or squash per 1 cup of vegetable oil

  • Sugar: honey, maple syrup, or simply lower the amount of sugar typically called for by roughly 25% — for every 1 cup of sugar called for, use ½-¾ C. of honey/maple syrup

  • All-purpose white flour: half whole wheat flour + half all purpose white flour

  • Butter: equal parts unsweetened applesauce, or prune puree or ½ cup carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin, or squash puree per 1 cup butter. OR avocado purée for butter: they’re both fats and have nearly the same consistency at room temperature, so if butter isn’t in your diet, try avocado instead… even in desserts!

  • Sour cream: equal parts of plain non-fat Greek yogurt

  • Nutritional yeast for cheese: the taste is cheesy, and the texture is comparable to flakes of Parmesan. Instead of topping that taco with cheddar, try a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a dairy-free cheesy flavor. Another great sub is “cashew” cheese sauce - try it!

  • Chia or flaxseed for eggs: mix 1 tbsp of chia seed to 1 tbsp of water (1:3 for flaxseed)

  • Black beans for flour: swapping out flour for a can of black beans (drained and rinsed, of course) in brownies is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein. Do it: When baking, swap out 1 cup flour for 1 cup black bean purée (about one 15-ounce can).

Instead of swapping out items, you can even add some things to simply increase the overall protein in some sweetened dishes. Silken tofu can be added as it absorbs the flavor of whatever it is paired with + with minimal taste, you’ll hardly know it’s there! It is even more common for silken tofu to be added to smoothies to increase both the protein and overall nutrition content!

In terms of pumpkin overload…no schnapps here, that just happened to rhyme and we’re all about an alliterative effect. We contributed to a Cincy State of Being piece on the benefits of pumpkin and a few ways to weave this seasonal favorite into your daily routine - check out the full article here, and read on for our ideas

  • Pumpkin Peanut Butter Egg Toast: This can be done sweet or savory and I think a few eyes may raise with the thought of this combo, but trust me! Take 1-2 eggs (scrambled or hard boiled), 1 tbsp peanut butter or peanut butter powder, 1 tbsp pumpkin puree, pinch of pumpkin pie spice <-- mash together. Top over slice of bread (I love @daveskillerbread seeds and grains) + sprinkle with @traderjoes pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds. You can also totally omit the eggs and go all "sweet" with yogurt + pumpkin + peanut butter but I swear the eggs taste creamier and have a nice hint of fall!

  • Pumpkin Chili (made easy!): Take any of your favorite chicken or bean chili recipes and throw in a little pumpkin and cloves/nutmeg to add a creamy consistency and fall aroma.

  • Chicken Chickpea Pumpkin Salad: Maybe another slightly "weird" combo, but I've used the bottom of the pumpkin puree jar (avoiding waste!) to mix into a chicken chickpea salad. Take 1 tbsp pumpkin puree, 2 tbsp greek yogurt or mayo, 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, with your 3-4 oz serving of roasted chopped chicken breast & a few mashed chickpeas. You have a perfect wrap center, salad, bowl or toast topper! 

  • Anytime Breakfast: And finally - the easiest of all - throw a little pumpkin puree or cinnamon/spice blend into your pancake batter, waffle mix, or overnight oat morning breakfast routine.

Above content with contributions from Emily Dorko, dietetic intern.

Kayla Hansmann