Move over pumpkin – it’s time for SWEET potato to take the spotlight with this Autumn Sweet Potato Loaf! This naturally sweetened seasonal quick bread embodies everything I love about fall - the colors, the spices, and the warm, fuzzy feelings. It's lightly spiced with the perfect amount of sweetness. I personally love a warm slice smothered in peanut butter, sprinkled with chocolate chips, and washed down with a hot cup of black coffee.
What Makes This Sweet Potato Loaf So Good?
I love pumpkin bread, but I feel like there are hundreds of pumpkin bread recipes out there on the World Wide Web. Do we really need another one? Sweet potato bread, on the other hand, could use a few more recipes.
There is something so satisfying about cutting into this beautiful Autumn Sweet Potato Loaf. It’s packed with seasonal ingredients like sweet potato, maple syrup, cinnamon, pecans and dried cranberries. The brightly colored dried cranberries give it such a lovely pop of color. Cinnamon gives it a warmth that pairs so well with the the natural sweetness of the baked sweet potato. And what's more, with a loaf like this one YOU get to choose the size of your slice. If you don’t cut yourself a thick slice, you’re doing it wrong.
I hope you enjoy this seasonal sweet potato loaf as much as I do! But before I get into the recipe, let’s talk nutrition.
SWEET (Potato Nutrition) Talkin’ Time
The star of this recipe is the sweet potato! Sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrates that contain a wealth of good-for-you nutrients. Like their Idahoan counterpart, sweet potatoes are high in potassium, a mineral that aids in proper nerve and muscle function as well as fluid balance in the body, and energizing carbohydrates. They are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that aids in digestion and promotes fullness, as well as manganese, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and anthocyanins. But the nutrient that shines brightest in this sweet spud is beta-carotene.
Benefits of Beta-Carotene
Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, is what gives sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables and fruits like winter squash, carrots, bell peppers, cantaloupe, and apricots that beautifully bright, orange color. When ingested, the body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin, that aids in immune function, skin and eye health, and bone development. Just 1 cup of cooked sweet potato contains >100% the DV for vitamin A!
How Do You Like Your Spuds?
Not only are sweet potatoes nutritional powerhouses, but they taste AMAZING in a variety of ways. My go-to preparation method for savory spuds is roasting. A drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasonings (I like to use paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper) is all you need for a delicious and nutrient-rich side dish!
As much as I enjoy savory sweet potatoes, their naturally sweet flavor makes sweet potatoes perfect for baked goods like this Autumn Sweet Potato Loaf.
What’s in This Recipe?
Sweet potato – contains fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, beta-carotene, anthocyanins, manganese, pantothenic acid, biotin, potassium, and vitamin B6
Egg – acts as a binder; contains protein, fat soluble vitamins (ADKE), and choline
Maple syrup – natural sweetener, rich in manganese
Milk* – cow's milk contains protein, calcium, and vitamin D for strong bones and muscle recovery (oat milk or almond milk also work)
Applesauce or mashed banana – natural sweetener, both contain fiber
Vegetable oil – contains heart healthy fats
Vanilla extract – adds flavor
Whole wheat flour – contains complex carbohydrates, more fiber than AP flour
All purpose flour – contains carbohydrates
Baking soda – leavening agent
Baking powder – leavening agent
Cinnamon – antioxidant properties, may help lower blood sugar
Salt – brings out the sweetness
Dark chocolate chips – contains magnesium, manganese, antioxidants, and iron
Dried cranberries – antioxidants, antibacterial properties
Pecans – contains healthy fats, vitamins, fiber, and plant-based protein
Notes: To make this recipe dairy free, simply replace the milk with a dairy-free alternative of your choice (oat milk works well) and use dairy free chocolate chips (I like these).
Autumn Sweet Potato Loaf
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 1 loaf
Flesh of 1 medium sweet potato, baked or microwaved (about 1 cup sweet potato purée)
1 large egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350oF. Coat a 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan with parchment paper and nonstick spray.
Add all the wet ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until fully combined and smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips, cranberries, and pecans.
Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the top with a spoon, then bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.
Cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack. Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.