In theory, zucchini bread sounds like a shoe-in for a healthy diet, full of good intentions. After all, you’re eating vegetables! It’s in the name! Pat on the back … right?
Yet if you’ve ever made zucchini bread yourself, you know the embarrassing truth: there’s really not that much zucchini that actually gets added to the batter (an especially disappointing fact for those of us with overly abundant zucchini gardens). One little squash for the loaf? Two if you’re lucky? And of course, this minuscule zucchini content is usually folded into a copious amount of oil and nutrient-void white flour just to mask the addition. Sure it may be tasty, but the result is definitely not anything to write home—or your homeopathic doctor—about.
While using only a small amount of zucchini in sweet quickbreads is unfortunately an inevitable part of baking law (too much zucchini will quickly produce a glue-like batter that won’t bake properly), we can still "do better" by cleaning up the overall recipe ingredients as a whole … making sure they’re made up of best-choices from start to finish. Plus, we can boost the recipe’s nutrition overall with other superfood additions, instead of relying on zucchini alone to do all the healthful heavy lifting. And that’s exactly what we’ve put into action in this week’s recipe.
Using wellness pantry favorites like spelt flour, yogurt, olive oil, and walnuts, we were able to create a zucchini bread that’s a smarter bake overall. Plus, we worked in superfoods like hemp protein powder, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds to boost the protein, fiber, and valuable omega fat as well. The result? A fluffy, perfectly moist, and fully flavorful snack bread that not only appeases those sweet treat cravings, but actually lives up to it's health-implying name. Pat on the back? You got it.
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SUPERFOOD ZUCCHINI BREAD PREP TIPS:
Method-wise, there’s nothing fancy here … after all, there’s a reason it’s called a “quick bread!” But add in these tricks of the trade, and you’ll see why this recipe really stands out in the best-ever category.
Treat that zucchini right. You’ll see a lot of methods for adding zucchini into breads, but we’ve found that using a regular-sized shredder offers the best results to produce a batter that holds up nicely when baked. And while we’re on the subject, don’t ever squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini—that’s part of the secret of making a moist and tender loaf!
Say hello to currants. Sure, you can always use raisins instead, but dried currants (which are like a raisin’s little cousin) will distribute much more evenly throughout the bread due to their smaller size. That means every bite gets an extra sweet treat!
Don’t overmix. Overmixing can quickly reduce the air bubbles produced by a baking soda/powder reaction in a dough, thereby causing a flatter, denser loaf. That’s why once the wet ingredients are combined with the dry, you’ll want to use as few strokes as possible to combine the ingredients.
Build extra flavor. We love add-ins and extras just as much as you do. If time permits, try toasting the walnuts prior to adding them to the batter for a more pronounced flavor. You can also substitute different types of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or chocolate as you wish.
Be patient. As good as the zucchini bread smells right out of the oven, resist digging in for a bite until the bread has fully cooled to room temperature. Believe it or not, the inside of the bread is still “cooking” while it cools, and sneaking a slice too soon will disrupt this last important stage.
MORE CRAVE-WORTHY SUPERFOOD BAKES:
Superfood Zucchini Bread
Finally: A zucchini bread that has more than just good intentions, but is actually made from good ingredients! This deliciously sweet and moist snack bread is packed full of essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, fiber … and of course, some vegetables, too!
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 70 minutes | Total Time: 85 minutes Servings: 8 (1 loaf) Author: Julie Morris
1¾ cup spelt flour (or gluten-free all-purpose blend)
¼ cup hemp protein powder
¼ cup ground flaxseed powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup non-dairy yogurt
2/3 cup maple syrup
½ cup water
1¼ cup shredded zucchini
1/3 cup hemp seeds
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried currants or raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly spray a 1.5-quart loaf pan with cooking spray, and line with a strip of parchment paper, allowing an overhang of paper on either side to make a sling.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the spelt flour, hemp protein powder, flaxseed powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, yogurt, maple syrup, and water, and whisk together well. Add the zucchini, and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until just incorporated – the dough will be thick, but do not over-mix. Gently fold in the hemp seeds, walnuts, and currants, distributing the ingredients into the dough using as few strokes as possible. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf pan, smoothing it out into a flat layer. Bake for 65-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use the parchment flaps to easily remove it from the pan and place it onto a baking rack to cool completely. Cut into thick slices to serve.
If storing, wrap the loaf tightly in plastic to retain its moisture, and store in a cool, dark place at room temperature for up to 4 days.