Alicia Ross
Universal Uclick

Adjusting the Thanksgiving menu to accommodate my family’s dietary choices can be challenging.

Currently, three of my family members are meat-, dairy- and honey-free. So adapting the veggies is the easy part. I can leave off the cheese, take out the bacon, steam some plain vegetables or roast them with a little olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt. There are lots of alternatives there.

The turkey, however, will be at the other end of the table; it’s their concession to me.

But baked goods? That’s a whole other challenge. No eggs, no butter, no honey. Wow!

The last thing I want to do is cook separate meals. Quick breads offer breakfast, tea, snack and even dessert options.

So I’ve been testing a lot of dairy-free quick bread recipes from various sources. Frankly, they are disappointing. Surely they don’t have to be so bland, flat and dry. After numerous attempts, I have finally created Dairy-Free Maple Pumpkin Bread, which matches my family members’ dietary choices without compromising on taste or texture.

I decided pumpkin bread would fit the bill and give me a surefire moist result. I also used a combination of dietary-friendly sweeteners, including maple syrup, to give it depth. I couldn’t resist reaching for my pumpkin pie spice blend because all the spices and flavors are conveniently packaged together. (See the note for recommendations if you cannot find pumpkin pie spice blend in your grocery store.)

To keep the bread as low-fat as possible, I used 1 cup of applesauce and only ½ cup vegetable oil for two loaves.

Here’s pumpkin bread that everyone can enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Dairy-Free Maple Pumpkin Bread

3½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

½ cup vegan-friendly sugar (or another ½ cup light brown sugar)

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice (see note)

1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin puree

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup vegetable oil

? cup maple syrup

¼ cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour two loaf pans or, if using nonstick loaf pans, spray with nonstick cooking oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, both sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, carefully mix together pumpkin puree, applesauce, oil, maple syrup and water.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; using a spatula, fold to mix well. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl for any stray dry ingredients.

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Rest in pans for 10 to 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Slice and serve warm.

Wrap leftover bread in wax paper, then foil. Avoid plastic wrap or plastic bags, as they will make the bread tacky.

Makes 2 loaves, 20 hearty slices.

Note: If you cannot find pumpkin pie spice, use 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon allspice.

Each slice has about 183 calories, 6 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 2.4 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 245 milligrams sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of three cookbooks. Contact her c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, email tellus@kitchenscoop.com.