Recipe: Healthy zucchini bread

I wasn’t going to write this recipe up at all, except for maybe linking the original recipe in the description of tonight’s dinner, but it was so good that I just had to share, or at least record the recipe for myself. It was pretty easy, too, except for the fact that I quadrupled the recipe due to an extremely large zucchini. The scale made things kind of exhausting, which is why I didn’t take any pictures while I was making it.

The zucchini we had to use up was about 30% bigger than this one.
The zucchini we used up was about 30% bigger. I don’t know what we’ll do with this one.

Originally, I wasn’t even planning to make zucchini bread. However, I knew we were probably going to visit my grandfather at his assisted-living place today (I didn’t know it was Grandparents Day, but it worked out nicely), and I didn’t have anything to bring him except a ramekin-sized portion of cherry crisp. My mom and I figured we could send one loaf to him, one loaf to my brother in Minnesota, freeze a loaf, and keep a loaf out to eat now.


This isn’t as good as it looks. It’s better. The bread is very moist, but it holds together well, and it’s got the right amount of sweetness and spice. The recipe I based it on is actually more of a summer-flavored tea bread, with lemon instead of fall spices, but I was hankering for a traditional version. Another bonus is that it’s not too unhealthy, unlike most zucchini breads, which sound promising but end up containing a cup of sugar and half a cup of butter. This isn’t exactly low-sugar, even after I reduced it from the original recipe, but there are only 2 Tbsp of butter in one 9 x 5 inch loaf. I will add that, if you’re not worried about that sort of thing, you can swap the applesauce for more melted butter. However, I think it tastes great just the way it is.

Zucchini Bread

Adapted from Nature’s Legacy for Life Lemon Zucchini Bread.

Yield: 1 9 x 5-inch loaf.

1 c grated zucchini
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten.
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c Greek yogurt
1 c whole spelt flour
3/4 c white spelt flour
2 Tbsp buckwheat flour*
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal*
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1.5-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt**
1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans**
Demerara/turbinado/natural sugar for decorating**
Additional walnut or pecan halves for decorating**

*If you don’t have these, substitute same quantity whole spelt flour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Shred zucchini in the coarse holes of a large box grater (or whatever you have). Squeeze out the excess water using a clean dish cloth, cheesecloth, several layers of paper towels, or your hands, and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, butter, eggs, sugars, and yogurt until reasonably well combined. Some lumps of yogurt are okay at this point.

In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt, if using.

Pour contents of one bowl into the other (it doesn’t matter which). Stir, preferably with a rubber spatula, until well-combined, then fold in zucchini and chopped nuts. Scrape into prepared loaf pan and jiggle around until surface is smooth. If desired, sprinkle top with demerara or turbinado sugar for a slightly crunchy top crust, and/or decorate with walnut or pecan halves.

Bake 55-60 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean*. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before unmolding on to a wire rack to cool.

Serving suggestion: by itself, or with butter, almond butter, or creme fraiche.

*Try several places in the loaf; I thought mine was done after 45 minutes, but there was actually an under-cooked “bubble” in the middle of the loaf. Not the end of the world, but something to note.


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