Eating baked goods satisfies a craving that no other food does: something sweet to accompany your coffee or provide the final flourish to your dinner.
Finding healthy alternatives to common baking ingredients has become much easier in recent years, with innovative cooks finding new ways to use nutritious ingredients.
Here is a recipe that fills that craving and provides significant nutrition as well.
Before you say, “Zucchini in a sweet bread? Yuck.” Let’s take a look!
Zucchini Health Benefits
Zucchini is a prolific squash. At the end of the summer, you may find yourself with more from your garden than you can possibly eat before they become mushy. Once baked, you can freeze the bread to enjoy a delicious sweet treat long after the first snow has fallen.
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Rich in vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) for your vision and cartilage, many studies have found that carotenoids reduce the risk of breast cancer.(1)
Cucurbitacins are found in zucchini’s skin—it’s what can make it taste bitter. This phytochemical has been found to induce cancer cell death.(2)
Zucchini is low in calories and an excellent source of dietary fiber. It is known that fiber is necessary for efficient digestion and it helps protect against various forms of cancer and heart disease.
High anti-oxidant, mineral, B-complex, and vitamin C content top off the list of zucchini’s long list of health benefits.
Of special note is zucchini’s potassium content—an essential mineral that moderates blood pressure (3).
A Healthy Baking Substitute
Zucchini is much more versatile than you might have thought.
Used in baking, it adds not only nutrition but moisture, texture, fiber, and is a hard-to-beat gluten-free alternative for these traits.
Let’s not ignore the other ingredients in this yummy recipe.
Maple syrup (the real stuff from a tree, not the one in a plastic bottle with a woman’s face on the label that’s just preserved colored high fructose corn syrup—a highly toxic substance): full of essential minerals like manganese and zinc, there are also fifty-four compounds found in maple syrup that are beneficial to human health—anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and phenols.
Apple cider vinegar is a virtual panacea. From cleaning to treating skin conditions to weight loss to fighting infection, we’re all the better for including this ingredient in whatever we can. In this recipe, it provides the acid to balance and stimulate the alkaline baking soda, which is used to make the dough rise.
How To Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- 1 cup zucchini, shredded
- Chocolate hazelnut butter blend (don’t use Nutella—use a non-dairy, low sugar spread or make your own—it’s easy)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered, organic)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Shred zucchini into a bowl and allow it to rest while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine hazelnut butter, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt until smooth.
- Add baking soda and apple cider vinegar and mix well.
- Drain the liquid from the shredded zucchini, pressing slightly. Add zucchini to batter and stir until well blended.
- Scoop batter into greased loaf pan(s) and bake: 35-50 minutes for one large loaf pan or 24-28 minutes for 2 small loaf pans. It’s done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Enjoy!