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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Paleo Zucchini Bread (Vegan, Paleo, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Every summer, usually around July/August, I always think of a certain type of dessert. It contains vegetables and is light, yet wholesome. The dessert? Zucchini bread! Zucchini bread is an excellent way to sneak a veggie into your dessert and still have it taste amazing. This zucchini bread is sweet, with notes of cinnamon and vanilla. And there's an optional almond glaze for those of you who want a little extra sweetness.


Zucchini's mild flavor allows for it to be used in various desserts without it being detected. It works nicely in zucchini brownies, cakes, and of course zucchini bread/muffins. Zucchini is a summer squash and is grown in the summertime (hence, the name "summer squash"), and is typically dark green in color, but different varieties can range from light green to striped to yellow.


For this recipe, I used the dark green variety of zucchini, but I'm sure other varieties could work well here too. (*Note: I haven't tried this recipe with other varieties of zucchini so good results aren't 100% guaranteed).


This recipe is vegan, paleo, sugar-free, and fruit-sweetened. It is light but filling and can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or as a dessert. And I bet spreading a little vegan cream cheese or sugar-free fruit preserves on this bread could definitely bring the level of deliciousness up a notch. Although, I find that I prefer the zucchini bread on its own most of the time, myself. You can sprinkle nuts on the top of the breads before putting them in the oven for an added flavor boost and nutritional boost. Walnuts, pecans, and almonds would all work for this recipe.



One of my favorite quick breads is zucchini bread and it's the kind of dessert that I can't get enough of! I feel like I could eat it everyday for a year and not get sick of it. But really. Something about the cinnamon and delicateness from the almond flour really wins me over.


Plus, this recipe is super easy and doesn't require any funky ingredients! This bread provides protein and is grain-free. Like all quick breads, no yeast or eggs are required to leaven this zucchini bread. This zucchini bread tastes just as good as conventional zucchini bread but is more nutritious!



Nutritional Profile of Paleo Zucchini Bread


Zucchini- zucchini is rich in fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants. These nutrients are good for your heart, digestion, and they help fight free radical damage (disease-causing particle damage).


Almond flour- almond flour is a great source of protein, fiber, and vitamins & minerals including vitamin E. The soluble fiber in almonds and almond flour benefits heart health by lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol. Almonds are one of the foods richest in this type of fiber. Protein helps build muscle and vitamin E is good for your skin & hair and fights free radical damage.


Coconut flour- coconut flour is loaded with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and iron. Coconut flour regulates blood sugar and has antimicrobial properties, too.


Arrowroot flour/starch- arrowroot is an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and especially folate (vitamin B9). These nutrients build muscle, help with digestion, and help with the healthy development of a fetus during pregnancy.


Cinnamon- cinnamon contains a high amount of antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties, promotes circulation, regulates blood sugar, and is heart healthy. Cinnamon is easy to add to recipes and tastes great!


Dates- dates are packed with fiber, protein, iron, and antioxidants that help with blood sugar control, digestion, heart health, and that fight free radical damage.


Sea salt- sea salt benefits the adrenal glands and balances electrolytes. I like to use pure pink Himalayan sea salt, but there are many other healthy varieties out there.


Coconut oil- coconut oil is filled with plant-based saturated fat and other healthy fats and fatty acids that are good for your heart, brain, skin, hair, and have anti-fungal properties. (Tip: for a natural hair treatment, scoop 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of raw extra virgin coconut oil and place it in the palm of your hand. You want to apply this treatment to wet, towel-dried hair. Rub the coconut oil between both of your hands for several seconds, then apply to all parts of your hair, from roots to ends. Allow to sit on the hair for 15 minutes to 1 hour (you can leave it in for as long as you want). Rinse out and follow with shampoo, conditioner, and continue with your normal hair care routine. *Note: if you have a naturally greasy scalp, try to avoid putting the coconut oil on the roots of your hair and focus more on the ends of your hair).


Almond milk- almond milk is an excellent source of vitamin E which is an antioxidant and is beneficial for your skin & hair. If fortified with vitamin D and calcium, almond milk supports healthy bones.


Flaxseed- flaxseed is a great source of fiber, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseed helps with digestion and the omega 3s in it are good for your heart, brain, immune system, joints, skin, hair, metabolism, and eyes.


Walnuts- walnuts are another good source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and other healthy fats. Walnuts support cognitive function and heart health.



Keep an eye out for more dessert recipes with zucchini, such as zucchini brownies and zucchini bread muffins! I will be trying to experiment with zucchini in other recipes, too.


The Glaze


The glaze is an almond cinnamon glaze made with just 5 ingredients: unsweetened almond milk, date paste, vanilla extract, almond extract, and cinnamon. It complements the zucchini bread well and it is a light glaze.


All you have to do is whisk these ingredients together in a small bowl and then drizzle on top of the warm zucchini bread. The glaze does not keep well, even in the fridge, so I'd recommend serving the zucchini bread when there are other people to share it with you and have them try the glaze too. The glaze is 100% optional and the zucchini bread is still delicious without the glaze (I actually prefer it without).



Substitutions


The zucchini can't exactly be substituted, seeing as this is zucchini bread. However, instead of using the dark green variety of zucchini, you can try the pale green, striped, or yellow varieties. The almond flour, coconut flour, and arrowroot starch/flour really make the texture of this bread light and delicate, but the same amount of a 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour could work here too I bet.


The vanilla extract can be substituted with vanilla powder. I wouldn't recommend leaving out the vanilla, as it is one of the main flavors that comes through in the zucchini bread. The cinnamon shouldn't really be substituted either (because, again, it lends the zucchini bread a lot of its flavor). Nonetheless, if you like cloves, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice you could try adding a pinch to 1/4 tsp of any of those spices.


The Medjool dates shouldn't be substituted because they make this bread taste more like a classic, sweet zucchini bread. Regardless, you can try substituting an artificial sweetener like stevia or monk fruit, to taste, but you'd need to take into account that the consistency will change if you do this. Therefore, you'd need to adjust the amounts and types of liquid/solid ingredients. You can swap out the Medjool dates with another variety of date. And I will at some point be posting a banana-sweetened zucchini bread recipe and a zucchini banana bread recipe, so keep your eyes out for those recipes!


The baking soda is necessary and can't be substituted. You can sub table salt for the sea salt. The melted coconut oil helps with the consistency of this bread, but maybe you could try adding a neutral-flavored oil, such as safflower oil? The unsweetened almond milk can be swapped out with another unsweetened plant milk or a sweetened plant milk, if you can do sugar on your diet. The flax eggs can be substituted with 2 chia eggs OR 6 Tablespoons of aquafaba (AKA chickpea brine- the water in a can of chickpeas OR the cooking water left after fresh chickpeas are cooked in water).


The walnuts can be swapped out with pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or really any kind of nut/seed that you would like. The nuts are an optional topping, but they add additional texture, flavor, and nutritional benefits.


As for the glaze, you can sub any unsweetened plant milk for the unsweetened almond milk. The date paste can be substituted with stevia or monkfruit, to taste, or with maple syrup/date syrup, to taste. The vanilla is important, but you can omit it. The almond extract is the main flavor of this glaze but can be omitted and replaced with additional vanilla extract. And the cinnamon is optional.



Mini Loaf Option


When you are filling the pans with the batter for this zucchini bread, you can either fill the loaf pans 2/3 of the way full (for shorter loafs) or fill the pans closer to 3/4 of the way full or almost to the top (for taller loafs). If you fill the loaf pans 2/3 of the way full, you might notice that there's a little extra batter left over (By the way, I fill two 6" by 3.5" loaf pans 2/3 of the way full and fill a third 6" by 3.5" loaf pan with as much batter as I have left). If you have a little leftover batter, you can make a mini loaf in the same size pan as the other loaves and fill up that loaf pan with whatever you have left (see picture below).

Bake the mini loaf at the same temperature (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 17-20 minutes.


I hope you get all the summery feels from this recipe and enjoy it!


Enjoy <3,

-K.



Paleo Zucchini Bread (Vegan, Paleo, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 to 55 minutes

Makes: two, 6" by 3.5" loaf pan loaves of bread OR two, 6" by 3.5" loaf pan loaves of bread and one partly filled 6" by 3.5" loaf pan mini loaf of bread (depending on how much you fill up each loaf pan)


Ingredients:


-1 cup Medjool dates

-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-1/4 cup melted coconut oil, slightly cooled

-2 flax eggs

-1 cup fine almond flour

-1/2 cup coconut flour

-1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour (can sub tapioca/cassava starch/flour)

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp sea salt

-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or sub unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1 cup shredded zucchini, packed

-1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts (optional)


Almond Cinnamon Glaze (optional):


-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1 Tbsp date paste

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

-1/8 tsp almond extract

-pinch of cinnamon (optional)


Directions:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two or three 6" by 3.5" loaf pans with coconut oil (two loaf pans if you want taller loaves of zucchini bread or three pans if you want shorter loaves of zucchini bread). Soak the Medjool dates in hot water for 5 to 15 minutes.


2. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Blend until a paste forms.


3. Add the rest of the wet ingredients (vanilla, melted coconut oil, flax eggs) besides the almond milk. Blend until smooth.


4. Add all of the dry ingredients to the food processor (almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch/flour, cinnamon, baking soda, sea salt) besides the walnuts. Process until a thick batter forms.


5. While the food processor is still turned on, slowly pour the almond milk through the feeder tube hole to incorporate into the batter.


6. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and stir in the shredded zucchini. If using walnuts, finely chop 1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans/another nut or seed).


7. Fill the loaf pans 2/3 of the way full to make two shorter loaves and a mini loaf with what batter is left OR fill the loaf pans 3/4 or slightly more of the way full to make two taller loaves. Smooth the tops. If using walnuts (or another nut/seed), sprinkle chopped walnuts on your breads and, using a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon, lightly and gently press the walnuts down so they stay in the bread and don't fall out later (*Note: this part doesn't require much pressure at all, just a very light press will do).


8. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a clean knife inserted into the breads comes out clean. (*Note: if you're doing two taller loaves the time will take a little on the longer side, closer to 40 minutes). If making a mini loaf, bake for 17 to 20 minutes.


For the glaze:


9. While the zucchini bread is baking, make the glaze. Add all glaze ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Cover and keep in the fridge until the bread is done (and stir the glaze when you take it out of the fridge).


10. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool partly or fully. Cut into slices and top with almond glaze, vegan cream cheese, and/or sugar-free fruit preserves. Enjoy!


Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.

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