Healthier zucchini bread

August 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm (Muffins and quick breads, Summer recipes, unrated, Website / blog)


A friend gave me a ton of zucchini from her garden, and I had to figure out what to do with it. I’d never made zucchini bread before, but I was in the mood for something sweet, so I found two recipes online for reasonably healthy-looking zucchini bread. One is for a “regular” zucchini bread, just modified a bit to be lower calorie. The second is for a chocolate zucchini bread.

Highly-Adaptable Zucchini Bread from Foodie Fiasco

The first is from the foodie fiasco blog, and it is very adaptable. Depending on which options you choose, the recipe can be gluten free, vegan, paleo, low carb, low fat, sugar free… I’ve reproduced the original recipe below, and indicated the changes that I made in brackets:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour OR 1 1/4 cup almond meal plus 6 Tablespoons coconut flour [I didn’t have any whole wheat flour so used regular all-purpose flour, but only for 1/2 the flour. For the rest of the flour I used the almond meal / coconut flour mix.]
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons erythritol OR cane sugar [I used what I think was xylitol, but it could have been erythritol or maybe a mix of the two. My jar wasn’t labeled!]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs OR 1 ½ Tablespoons of Ener-g egg replacer stirred with 6 Tablespoons of water until thick [I used eggs]
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana [I used 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 3 Tbs. coconut oil, and 1 Tbs. olive oil]
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk for whole wheat version OR 4 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk for almond meal/coconut flour version [I used 2 Tbs. soymilk, lightly sweetened]

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease or nonstick spray an 8×4 loaf pan and set aside. [I used an 8×8 pyrex pan instead of a loaf pan.]
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar or erythritol, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Add in the eggs or egg replacer, applesauce or mashed banana, vanilla extract, molasses, and grated zucchini and stir until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Slowly add in the almond milk, stopping when the batter is reasonably thick (see photo above for reference) and completely uniform.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven at 350°F for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into slices.

My notes:

I was a bit surprised when I realized that the recipe doesn’t call for any added oil or butter, and I didn’t want it to be too carb-y, so I ended up substituting half of the applesauce for oil. But maybe next time I’ll use less oil and add walnuts instead.

I was planning to add 5 Tbs. of soymilk, since I had used a mix of the two flour options, but after adding just two tablespoons the batter looked extremely wet, so I stopped. I had grated my zucchini on the fine grating blade in my food processor, and maybe more water came out since there was more surface area? I’m not sure, but in any case, when the bread came out of the oven (after 40 minutes) it was still quite moist. I was worried that it would be too moist but the edge pieces were fine and after a day of sitting on the counter even the middle wasn’t overly moist.

I like the recipe. It’s subtly sweet, with a nice fluffy and moist texture and a mild slightly-spiced flavor. I don’t think I would have known it was zucchini bread if I hadn’t been told. I didn’t think Derek was going to like the recipe, since the bread isn’t so sweet, but surprisingly, he really likes it! Of course, he eats it slathered in nut butter.

With my changes, I calculate that 1/9 of the recipe has about 196 calories, 21g carbs, 5g protein, and 10.4g fat. It’s got a reasonable amount of vitamin E and selenium and choline, but nutritionally it’s not particularly dense. It’s really dessert, not health food.

Chocolate zucchini bread from Cooking Light

The second zucchini bread recipe I chose to make is a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread from Cooking Light, and it got 34 five-star reviews on myrecipes.com. It’s a much more traditional recipe, calling for all-purpose flour and white sugar, but adding in cocoa powder and chocolate chips.

Since it’s a much sweeter recipe, I was sure Derek would like it better, but—surprisingly—he preferred the first one! He actually just took one bite of this one, said “yuck” and went back to the other. I tried it and was surprised at the bitter, metallic taste. It tasted like I got a big bite of baking soda. I thought maybe I didn’t mix the baking soda in evenly, but then I took a bite from a different end of the cake, and it still tasted really bitter. I asked Derek if that’s why he didn’t like it, and he said he didn’t taste anything bitter, it was just boring tasting. I brought the cake to work and left it there for others, and lots of people said it was tasty, and no one said anything about it tasting weird. I’m not sure why Derek and I disliked it so much. Certainly the texture was fine. It was moist with a good crumb.

The header note for this recipe says “This moist and cake-like chocolate chip zucchini bread is the perfect way to make sure you are eating your vegetables but still enjoying a sweet treat.” What a joke. There’s one medium zucchini in the whole bread. So if you eat 1/16 of the bread (which the recipe says is a serving), you’ll be eating 1/16 of a medium zucchini. I wouldn’t exactly call that “eating your vegetables”!

According to the nutritional stats posted with the recipe, 1/12 of the cake has 215 calories, 36.4g carbs, 3.9g protein, and 6.8g fat.

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1 Comment

  1. foodiefiasco said,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the zucchini bread! And thank you for the citation.

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