My upcoming book , Zero Waste Cooking For Dummies®, features recipes for the everyday consumer – everything from starters to main dishes to desserts to cocktails. The goal: to help you reduce the food waste in your home kitchen.

One strategy of Zero Waste Cooking is learning how to substitute one ingredient for another. This helps you do more with what is in your kitchen pantry and refrigerator, and allows you to use up small bits of what’s on hand. It also reduces waste, and customizes recipes to suit your taste.

A friend recently made me a banana nut bread that was so delicious I asked her for the recipe. It was a recipe that incorporated cream cheese into the batter. So, I decided to try it with pumpkin. The recipe called for 4 eggs however, and when I went to bake, I found that I only had 2 eggs in the fridge.

Enter: Zero Waste Baking.

How can I make this work with what I have?

When you sub in ingredients you have in the fridge, you’ll be on your way to avoiding food waste.  Case in point: I needed 2 more eggs that I didn’t have. I did have about 2 ounces of cream cheese leftover in an open package. I also had vanilla yogurt.

Those two ingredients became my 2 missing eggs and the bread was delicious!

Here’s the recipe.

5 from 1 vote

Perfect Zero Waste Pumpkin Bread

This recipe allows you to switch up some ingredients, as you have them, and still turn out two great loaves of quick-bread.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 1 minute
Servings 24 servings
Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN,


  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 10 ounces light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar add 2 more tablespoons if using plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt Substitute plain yogurt
  • 1 15-ounce can 100% pumpkin
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 large load pans with cooking spray.
  • Measure all dry ingredients and spices in a separate bowl. Whisk ingredients together and set aside.
  • Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar, using electric mixer, until well blended, scraping bowl as needed.
  • Add eggs, one at a time until blended. Add yogurt and blend well. Add canned pumpkin, scraping sides, and blend well.
  • With mixer on slow speed, gradually add dry ingredients until completely incorporated into batter. Stir in the nuts if using.
  • Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 55-65 minutes. Check for doneness using a toothpick (which should be dry and clean when inserted and removed).
  • Cool on wire racks. Wrap or place into airtight containers. These can be frozen in airtight freezer bags (for best quality, no more than 6 months).


Substitutions for one egg:
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt 
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
You can also substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice for the cinnamon and cloves. Or just use cinnamon.
You can also make 5 to 6 mini loaves (depending on the size of your mini loaf pans). Bake these for 45-55 minutes.