Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe – A Foodie Stays Fit


This zucchini bread is healthy and just as tasty as other recipes packed with sugar and oil.

If you have a thriving garden unlike me, you may have lots of zucchini on hand. Or, if you’re more like me, you’re a sucker for any in-season, local produce and overbuy at the farmers market. And that also leads to an abundance of zucchini.

After seeing this chocolate zucchini bread recipe, I couldn’t stop thinking about zucchini bread. But I wanted a traditional zucchini bread recipe, non-chocolate, and one that was slightly healthier than the recipes that are so filled with sugar and oil that they’re essentially cake. Hey, I love cake too, but I wanted a good balance so I could eat this zucchini bread all day.

I started to look for recipes online and then I remembered that Ashley from The Edible Perspective shared a healthier zucchini bread recipe on my blog YEARS ago!! So, I pulled this recipe up and got busy in the kitchen. It’s still the perfect zucchini bread and I wanted to reshare it with you today! (If you are looking for a vegan zucchini bread recipe, no fear – she has a recipe for that on her blog!)

You can read more about how she made this healthier zucchini bread recipe below, along with how she tweaked her original recipe!

Best Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe

I haven’t made zucchini bread in a few years but after seeing all the local, organic zucchini around here, I started to really crave this delicious bread.  I bought a HUGE zucchini and consulted the recipe we used to use.  For 1 loaf of bread, it calls 1.5 cups of all purpose flour, ½ cup of oil and just over 1 cup of sugar.  For everyday enjoying, this recipe needed to get healthified!  Sometimes I push things pretty far, with how healthy I make it.  With this, I wanted to make a few changes but keep it tasting as close to the real deal as possible.

While keeping the familiar taste of zucchini bread, I was able to make these healthier changes from a traditional zucchini bread recipe:

  • reduced the sugar from just over 2 cups to just over 1 cup
  • reduced the oil from 1 cup to 1/4 cup
  • switched out white, all purpose flour to whole wheat pastry flour

The final outcome was a success!!

Ingredients

Okay, first let’s make sure you have all the ingredients on hand! Scan the list and double check your kitchen and pantry before you dive into making it!

  • whole wheat pastry flour
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cinnamon
  • unsweetened applesauce
  • oil
  • maple syrup
  • sucanat or coconut sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • plain yogurt
  • zucchini
  • eggs
  • walnuts
  • milk

Instructions

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease and flour two 8×4 bread pans or two 12 muffin tins.

Step 2

Next, grate your zucchini. Tip: You can prep your zucchini ahead of time and leave it in a sealed container, in your fridge, for 3-5 days.

Step 3

The next step is sifting all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Feel free to skip this step, but I think it aids in a better texture bread.

Step 4

Mix your wet ingredients – applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, yogurt, and eggs in a separate bowl. Add in the sugar and combine.

Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

You can whisk your ingredients by hand or with a mixer. Just be sure not to over mix, either way! Mix just until it’s all combined and no dry spots or egg remains visible.

Step 5

Next you’ll add the zucchini and walnuts to your combined wet/dry mixture and stir until just incorporated.

Step 6

Pour the batter in the bread or muffin pan and place it into the oven to bake!

While things bake and you drool at the smell, it’s time to clean. Zucchini bread tastes better in a clean kitchen. It’s science.

Step 7

Let the muffins or bread cool in the pans for 20 minutes to help it finish cooking and perfect the texture. Then it’s time to SCARF. If you made a loaf of bread, the cooling part is especially important. If you made muffins, fine, go ahead and dig into one!

Not too bad right?  It comes together really quickly, especially if you pre-grind the zucchini.

Zucchini Bread Tips

Water Zucchini

Sometimes the zucchinis can be really watery, especially if you grind them in the food processor.  If there is an unusual amount of liquid, you might want to drain some away.

Don’t overbake

I think the hardest part is knowing when to pull the loaf out of the oven.  You don’t want it to dry out but you definitely want it cooked through. For me, the muffins are much easier to judge.  Mini-loaf pans would be a bit easier as well.

When you toothpick test, you want it to still be slightly wet on the toothpick, because it will continue to cook a bit after pulling it out.  You don’t want the toothpick to be gooey or completely dry.  If you slightly overcook, you can always warm the slices and slather with butter to help with any dryness!

The loaf will rise and crack on top as well as brown on the edges and pull away from the pan.  Those are all signs that the loaf is done!

Zucchini Bread Variations

Chocolate Chips

Add 2/3 cups chocolate chips, along with the walnuts. Or nix the walnuts and only do chocolate chips!

Sucanat

Sucanat is dried, pure sugar cane juice.  It is the least processed form of sugar you can find.  It is a much larger grain than table sugar and is brown in color.  Sucanat retains all of its natural minerals and has a deep maple/caramel flavor.  I like to use this in place of white sugar because it is less processed and has great flavor.  It works perfectly in this recipe. Check your bulk bins or baking aisle at your local natural food store. If you can’t find it, use coconut sugar in its place.

Milk

Feel free to use a non-dairy milk here. Almond or coconut milk works great.

High Altitude
  • Increase oven temp to 375*
  • Use less baking powder – 3/4 teaspoon will work
  • The extra 2-4 tablespoon milk will most likely be necessary.
  • Cook for longer. It may take over an hour (65-75 minutes) to bake.

 

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread – yields: [2] 8×4 loaf or [24] muffins

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup [I use a light oil like Safflower, Sunflower or Grapeseed]
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 cups rounded grated zucchini [skins on or off, doesn’t matter]
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk **see note below
  1. Preheat your oven to 350* and grease and flour two 8×4 bread pans or two 12 muffin tins.
  2. Grate your zucchini.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl combine applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt and eggs.  Add in the sugar (sucanat or coconut sugar). Whisk by hand or with a mixer until well combined.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined.
  6. Stir in the walnuts and zucchini.  Reserve some of the walnuts to sprinkle on top of the loaf before baking, or mix them all in. (If the mixture seems extremely dry, almost like a wet cookie batter, you might need to add in a few tablespoons of milk.  I had to add 2T.  The batter should be very gooey and thick.)
  7. Pour in batter and spread so it’s level or fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. If desired, sprinkle more chopped walnuts on top.
  8. Bake loaf for 50-65min.  Bake muffins for 18-22min.  Toothpick test to be sure.  You want the toothpick to be slightly moist with some crumbs but not coated in batter.
  9. Let cool for 20-30 min in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

To freeze, fully cool, wrap in saran wrap, then foil and then place in a large sealable bag.

**Milk – Like I mentioned in the directions, you may or may not need to add a few tablespoons of milk to help moisten the batter.  If after adding the zucchini, it is hard to stir with a spoon add 2-4 tablespoons milk.  It is a gooey, thick batter that will need some assistance when transporting it to your loaf pan.

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Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup [I use a light oil like Safflower, Sunflower or Grapeseed]
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 cups rounded grated zucchini [skins on or off, doesn’t matter]
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 24 tablespoons milk **see note below

  1. Preheat your oven to 350* and grease and flour two 8×4 bread pans or two 12 muffin tins.
  2. Grate your zucchini.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl combine applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt and eggs.  Add in the sugar (sucanat or coconut sugar). Whisk by hand or with a mixer until well combined.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined.
  6. Stir in the walnuts and zucchini.  Reserve some of the walnuts to sprinkle on top of the loaf before baking, or mix them all in. (If the mixture seems extremely dry, almost like a wet cookie batter, you might need to add in a few tablespoons of milk.  I had to add 2T.  The batter should be very gooey and thick.)
  7. Pour in batter and spread so it’s level or fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way. If desired, sprinkle more chopped walnuts on top.
  8. Bake loaf for 50-65min.  Bake muffins for 18-22min.  Toothpick test to be sure.  You want the toothpick to be slightly moist with some crumbs but not coated in batter.
  9. Let cool for 20-30 min in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

Notes

*Milk – Like I mentioned in the directions, you may or may not need to add a few tablespoons of milk to help moisten the batter.  If after adding the zucchini, it is hard to stir with a spoon add 2-4 tablespoons milk.  It is a gooey, thick batter that will need some assistance when transporting it to your loaf pan.

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