Carrot Bread: Low Fat And Wholegrain

carrot bread

Spring arrived early this year, like an unfashionable guest. The cherry trees in Washington’s Tidal Basin– gorgeous with their full, pink flowers — have already bloomed, days before they were supposed to. The daffodils have been out for a while, and the tulips are beginning to bud. March is all dressed up in weather that would be best suited to May.

Early this morning I woke up when a thunderclap crashed overhead, a common May phenomenon. Opie scurried upstairs to get into bed with me and Lucy ran into the closet to burrow into a hiding place.

To be honest, I feel a little cheated. The anticipation of spring is almost as delicious as the season itself, but this year we have been robbed of it. Just like we were robbed of the snow and of the comforting chill of an icy winter. Meanwhile, my dad in Goa and my relatives in Chennai have been telling us of an uncharacteristically cold winter in these cities where typically the weather– in my dad’s words–tends to be hot for 10 months and hotter for the remaining two.

While the unusual weather might appear to be a great respite in the short term, it is sobering to be reminded that these changes could be permanent. According to a recent article in my hometown newspaper, the Washington Post, plant zones around the U.S. are shifting north– which means that more areas higher up on the map are getting warmer. While the U.S.Department of Agriculture, which comes up with the plant zone maps, has yet to connect these changes to global warming, likely for political reasons, there is little doubt in most scientific minds that this is the reason why warm is becoming the new norm.


carrot bread

Spring may be here, but my refrigerator is still overrun with carrots– one of my favorite veggies to have on hand year-round, but especially in winter. This past weekend, looking to make a healthy snack for my sweet-toothed Desi, I baked up this luscious Carrot Bread that comes with all the deliciousness of carrot cake and just a fraction of the guilt.

My Carrot Bread is whole-wheat, extremely low-fat, and it contains the wholesome goodness of applesauce and flax. I sweeten it– as I do all my sweets– with turbinado sugar, a raw sugar with the flavor of molasses.

I tried to reproduce in my carrot bread the flavor of a carrot halwa, a popular Indian sweet, by adding to it cardamom and cashews. It is a great idea that I first ran across on Suganya’s blog years ago when she posted her carrot halwa cupcakes. My recipe is an adaptation of my zucchini bread recipe— a good one to keep in mind for the summer bounty of squash.

Oh, and my friend Margo’s little boy Danny loved this bread, so it’s kid-approved as well.

Here’s the recipe now. Enjoy, all!

carrot bread


Carrot Bread: Low Fat And Wholegrain
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert/Breakfast
Serves: 2 loaves
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp powdered cardamom (run the whole pods-- about 10-- in a coffee grinder with a tablespoon of the sugar to get a fine grind)
  • 1 cup cashew nuts, chopped into large pieces
  • Wet Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp flaxmeal
  • mixed with 9 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp canola
  • or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1¾ cup applesauce
  • 2¼ cups grated carrots
  • ¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bown.
  2. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the wet mixture to the dry, with a spatula or a whisk, using ⅓rd of the flour at a time. You want a lumpy but well-integrated batter. Do not overmix because you don't want to develop the gluten in the flour.
  4. Grease and flour two standard-size loaf pans.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the two and smooth down the top.
  6. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a rack about 15 minutes, then slide a knife around the edges to unmold. Place right-side-up on a rack to cool
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Its been crazy here too lately.. last week we were supposed to warm up, but instead got hit by snow, hail, wind storms. i am waiting for some spring to show up.
    Love the texture on the bread. I made a similar quick bread a while back, with carrot halwa cooked halfway..which feels like eating a fudgy halwa-y cake:)

  2. says

    It looks delicious, just like your other recipes. Thanks for sharing this recipe. What if I don’t have flax meal? If you are a semi-regular baker (who has egg allergies), do you suggest buying it? Or is it possible to skip the flax meal for this recipe? I totally agree on the no-spring part. But then I love the cherry blossoms on the mall, so can’t complain :-)

    • says

      Amishi, flax is a great ingredient to have on hand because it has tons of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. It also helps add moisture to this low-fat recipe, so I would definitely recommend using it. Skipping it could also result in a too-crumbly bread, because the flax mixed in water helps bind the bread.

    • hannah says

      I guess you probably won’t have it either – but chia seeds behave in basically the same way as flax and with similar health benefits :)

  3. says

    My first thought – Gajar ka halwa in bread form! Delicious x 10!
    Looks gorgeous.
    Spring came early in dallas too, it’s green everywhere, which is glorious, just worried about how darn hot it will be in summer! Ufff!

  4. Resha says

    Hi, there, love your blog and recipes! I had a carrot and cauliflower bread once–it was savory and delicious–but I have no idea how to recreate it. Any thoughts on how to adapt this recipe to be more of a savory bread? I’ll definitely try the sweet one in the mean time. Thanks so much!

    • says

      Resha, You could substitute half the carrot with grated cauliflower, and replace the applesauce and the sugar with a flaxmeal-water mixture that would add moisture without adding sweetness. I would suggest using 3/4 cup of flaxmeal mixed in with 2 cups of water. The flax is full of heart-healthy omega-3s, so you’d have a very nutritious bread as well. Add any spice– a few red pepper flakes and maybe some ground black pepper would be amazing with the cauliflower– and salt, of course. I’d add a savory herb like cilantro as well– about a cup of fresh cilantro, chopped finely.

  5. says

    This sounds fantastic! I recipe tested a carrot semolina halva recently and thoroughly enjoyed the cardamon flavour throughout.

  6. says

    mmm. bread looks so tempting. I have lot of carrots in the refrigerator. This recipe is the best way to use them. Thanks Vaishali for such a delicious dish. Yum!!

    Btw, is there a difference between whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour?

    • says

      Hi Uma, yes, they are definitely different. Whole wheat pastry flour is made from a lighter winter wheat and it is a low-gluten flour that works great with pastries and cakes. You can always substitute a recipe that contains whole-wheat pastry flour with half wheat and half all-purpose.

  7. says

    I’m always searching for great ideas for healthier snacks to feed my two grandchildren. I made this bread yesterday, the only thing I changed was to skip the nuts and use dried cranberries instead of raisins. It was a HUGE hit. My very picky 6 year old grandson raved over it. Thanks for another great recipe.

  8. says

    Finally made it, and it has turned out amazing. Excellent in both texture and taste. One for me, and the other as a ‘hostess gift’. Thanks Vaishali, as always, your recipes are amazing.

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi!! I’ve tried a lot of your recipes and they always turnout great! ! Could you tell me what I can substitute flaxmeal with? Don’t get it here.

  10. Lakshmi says

    Can I use brown sugar as I don’t have turbinado sugar? The picture looks so nice and inviting that I am looking forward to baking the bread.

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