sweet saturday: healthy whole grain zucchini bread
The more years I spend tending a garden, the more I’m starting to realize that gardening is definitely a long-term sport. Gardeners may measure successes in seasons (“This was such a great year for my tomatoes!”) but the true value of a garden’s skill isn’t defined over one six month period of time. The first year we had a garden, our tomatoes produced like gang-busters, but I only got one green pepper out of three plants. I thought to myself, “Wow, I guess it’s just that I can’t grown green peppers.” Now, with a few years of gardening under my belt, I’ve realized the correct sentiment is actually, “Wow, that was a really bad year for peppers.”
So thus goes the tale of our zucchini plants. Two years ago, in the exact same place in the garden, our vine-y zucchini plants produced pounds and pounds of fruit. We couldn’t keep up with it all. This year? We haven’t gotten a single zucchini off of our plants.
But the truth is, as much as you want to think you have control as a gardener, you are actually just one, teeny, tiny piece of a whole lot of other pieces that have to come together to make a successful vegetable. So, a few weeks ago, we stopped fighting the months-long fight against blossom-end rot and just ended up pulling out our zucchini plants.
Sad, but thankfully, our CSA has kept us fully stocked.
For those people who do have zucchini plants producing out the wha-zoo (wa-zoo? wa-zu?), it is just about that time of year where you start getting desperate. Drive-by zucchini drops start happening on neighbors’ front porches. And zucchini, in various forms, starts finding itself in each and every dish coming out of the kitchen. One of the more quintessential ways to use up a boatload of zucchini is tossing a few cups of the moist, shredded squash into zucchini bread.
Now let’s talk about zucchini bread.
It sounds healthy enough. First up, it has zucchini in it. Which, if you haven’t heard is a
vegetable fruit. And even better than that, it is a green vegetable fruit. Super healthy! And then you have the “bread” part. Bread is good for you!
But honestly? Zucchini bread is just a spice cake with some zucchini thrown in.
In an attempt to actually make zucchini bread healthy, I pulled out all the refined flour and oil, packed it full of full o’ fiber complex carbs, and reduced the sugar dramatically. What you end up with is a decadently moist, slightly sweet, totally delicious bread. By using zucchini and applesauce, the bread has a nice, gooey, moist texture to it that is completely fantastic. Especially when served warm with a little swath of butter. Yum!
Healthy Whole Grain Zucchini Bread
These could easily be turned into muffins by just dividing the batter into a muffin tin. However, I haven’t tested this to check for cooking time. If you do try it out, report back and let me know how long it takes.
Makes 12 slices
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ (can sub in white flour)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 cups grated zucchini (with peel)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, flour through cloves.
- In a second, larger bowl, whisk together honey, egg, applesauce, zucchini and vanilla.
- In three parts, mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring well after each addition.
- Fold in pecans if using.
- Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Spread evenly with a spatula.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until top center of bread feels solid to the touch (not liquidy). The toothpick test tends to not work on this bread because it is so moist.
- Let cool completely before slicing.
What is your favorite way to use up a zucchini surplus?