It’s that time of year—time to figure out what to do with the zucchinis that have grown into something with the heft (and taste) of a Duraflame log. Enter zucchini bread, a brilliant use of the bounty. The only downside of zucchini bread and their muffin progeny, is that most of them also seem like a ploy to get rid of all the oil and white sugar in your house. Eat a piece of your standard zuke bread and your fingers look like you’ve just wrangled a basket of French fries. And the sugar that’s involved…oy!
Quick breads and muffins exist on a taste/texture profile continuum from dirt to donuts. Ever since hearing about the 800 calorie Costo muffin I’ve gravitated towards the dirt end of the spectrum. In fact I have a stalker-like attraction to the Earth Muffin at our local bakery, Lou’s. Upon studying the insanely lengthy and small fonted ingredient list I learned they are full of ground nuts, chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, maple syrup, grains, meals and every Vegan trick in the book. Even when Lou’s tries to pawn their day old Earth Muffins off as fresh (as if we dirt lovers can’t detect nuance), something about all that texture, heft and granular mystery still satisfies my need for weirdness. These muffins do feel like treats, but not irresponsibly so.
Perhaps you’re not up for the true grit experience in the morning, but you probably don’t fully enjoy walking away from breakfast knowing you’ve already used up your daily dessert quota. That’s where this recipe strikes the perfect balance, erring on the nutritious side of the muffin spectrum, but with enough sweetness and light to start your day with a smile. The recipe features white whole wheat flour, not a ton of sugar, a LOT of zucchini, and olive oil to make every heart beat a little faster. It’s a muffin/bread you can eat in the morning and feel good knowing that today, there’s still room for ice cream!
Feel Good Zucchini Bread
Poached with utmost respect from Food52, where there is also an excellent discussion on this topic.
Makes: 1 loaf or about 12 muffins
- 2/3 cup olive oil (143 grams), plus more for the pan
- 1 1/3 cups white whole-wheat flour (170 grams), plus more for the pa
- 2 1/3 cups grated zucchini (from about 11 ounces zucchini)*
- 1/3 cup sugar (67 grams)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (71 grams)
- 2 large eggs (Vegans, grab your flax meal or aquafaba)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup walnuts (75 grams)
- 1/3 cup golden raisins (53 grams)
- 1/3 cup oats (33 grams), plus more for topping
*If you’re scant on the zukes, or just feel like a little more color, you can add in some grated carrot.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (muffin pans if using) )with some oil. Add some flour and tap around to distribute evenly. Gather the zucchini in a kitchen linen or paper towel and squeeze over the sink to get rid of any excess moisture. This step is KEY!
- Combine the sugars, eggs, and oil in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the zucchini to the bowl and use a rubber spatula to combine. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour, walnuts, raisins, and oats. Stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle oats on top. Bake for about 1 hour until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If making muffins, start checking them at 15 minutes and take them out when they are set and slightly browned.
- Let cool in the pan for 15 or so minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.