I just adore the month of February. I feel like we’re almost over the winter hump and can start looking forward to spring. Valentine’s Day is smack in the middle of the month and love is in bloom — plus, it’s National Heart Health Month! As a dietitian, I encourage eating healthfully for your heart, but at the same time, I have a sweet tooth. I just love all the heart-shaped sweet treats that line supermarket shelves this month.
This Valentine’s Day, I want to strike a balance between sweets and heart-healthy foods, so I’ll be making loved ones my Pumpkin Banana Bread Pudding. It’s made with fiber-filled whole-wheat bread, pumpkin and bananas, which are all heart healthy. Better still, this vegan recipe is free of saturated fat and cholesterol, which means it’s a treat for your ticker, too!
Vegan Pumpkin Banana Bread Pudding
6 cups whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 lb)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 1/4 cups vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with softened margarine. Place cubed bread in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup soy milk and the cornstarch until no lumps remain. Add 1 1/2 cups soy milk to the mix and then the maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and whisk to combine. Pour mixture over cubed bread and stir to coat every piece. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes so the liquid can soak into the bread. Mixture will be mushy and wet.
Mash together bananas and pumpkin. Fold them into the soggy bread. Pour mixture into loaf pan, patting down to make an even top. Tasting is optional (and highly encouraged).
Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is slightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving. If you’re eating this later on, warm it in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to serve.
Nutrition Info (per serving):
Calories: 230; Total Fat: 3 grams; Saturated Fat: 0 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 260 milligrams; Carbohydrates: 46 grams; Fiber: 5 grams; Sugar: 27 grams; Protein: 6 grams