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ZUCCHINI BREAD (nut-free, vegan and paleo versions)

ZUCCHINI BREAD PALEOVEGAN.jpg

I absolutely LOVE this zucchini bread. It’s moist and chocolatey with that perfect hint of spice — and yet it’s free of dairy, grains, and refined sugar, too!

Growing-up, our garden was overflowing with zucchini from July through until October.  This meant, of course, that it appeared in everything from stir-fry and pasta casserole to cookies, muffins, and cake!

After years of basically avoiding zucchini altogether, I have re-discovered a love for this mild, versatile and super healthy summer squash.  Some of my favourite ways to use it now are as zoodles, in smoothies (check out my "BLUE-Z" shake with zucchini), muffins, and breakfast porridge (like my grain-free and quinoa-based recipes), and in loaves like this one.  How wonderful it is to revisit the great flavours of childhood but in a much healthier way!

Bring on the Zucchini

Zucchini is extremely low in calories (only 33 calories per medium zucchini) yet packed with vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.  Research suggests that consumption can improve digestion as well as insulin and blood sugar regulation. It may also have benefits for thyroid, adrenal and prostate function.  Furthermore, zucchini has a high water content and is rich in fibre. This means that it helps you hydrate and feel full and satisfied.

Grain-free Goodness

For this grain-free recipe, I used Otto’s Naturals cassava flour.  It’s a great non-allergenic (grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free) option for baking.  It has a mild flavour and soft consistency and can be used as a 1:1 substitute for regular flour in many recipes.

Cassava flour is made from the starchy yuca plant, so it is rich in non-refined carbohydrates.  With only 120 calories per 1/4 cup, it is less calorie dense than many other traditional and gluten-free flours, including wheat, corn, almond and coconut.

Zucchini Bread Recipes

Here I have provided two versions of my recipe to meet different dietary needs. The first is vegan and paleo and can easily be made nut-free by omitting the walnuts. It is quite dense but moist and delicious with just the right amount of sweetness. The second is my personal favourite. It’s paleo and uses pasture-raised eggs and a blend of flours for a less dense but equally delicious loaf.

1) Paleovegan Zucchini Bread (pictured above)

Ingredients for one loaf:

  • 3 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 1/2 cup water to make “flax eggs”

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil, plus additional for preparing pan

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups Otto’s Naturals cassava flour

  • 1/2 cup Nuzest Clean Lean natural protein powder or gluten-free shelled hemp hearts

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1 1/2 cups grated raw zucchini, as much moisture squeezed out as possible before adding

  • optional 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chunks or chips and/or walnut pieces (omit for nut-free), plus additional for topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8.5 x 4.5" standard loaf pan with avocado or coconut oil.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together flaxseed meal and water and allow to sit for 10 min until gloopy egg-like consistency achieved.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together oil, applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar. Stir in flax eggs.

  4. In a separate bowl, mix together cassava flour, protein powder or hemp seeds, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chunks and/or walnuts if using.

  5. Scrape the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.

  6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Option to top with additional walnuts dipped in melted chocolate chips as desired.

This zucchini bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for up to 2 months.

2) Paleo Zucchini Bread (pictured below)

Ingredients for one loaf:

  • 3 pasture-raised eggs

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or melted coconut oil, plus additional for preparing pan

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup Otto’s Naturals cassava flour

  • 2/3 cup almond flour

  • 1/3 cup arrowroot flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1 1/2 cups grated raw zucchini, as much moisture squeezed out as possible before adding

  • optional 1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips and/or walnut pieces

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8.5 x 4.5" standard loaf pan with avocado or coconut oil.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, oil, applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together cassava flour, almond flour, arrowroot flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chunks and/or walnuts if using.

  4. Scrape the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

This zucchini bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for up to 2 months.

This recipe was first published September 12, 2018. It was updated July, 2019.