Baking with veggies: Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is a must-try for those who resolve to keep their palettes clean and their minds guilt-free – or at least this early in the school year. Treating yourself in the kitchen doesn’t have to compromise a health-conscious lifestyle, especially when you combine vegetables in your baking.

Zucchini bread, like banana bread, persists as my go-to health comfort food, and with the added health satisfaction of dark chocolate, whole wheat flour and yogurt instead of globs of oil, I’ve been finding more and more ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet, beyond their normal everyday fare.

It’s a question that needs to be answered – why zucchinis? Zucchinis are packed with potassium (actually, more than bananas) and manganese, as well as Vitamin C. They’re also low in sodium and are fat and cholesterol free. Given that they’re made of 95% water, their calorie count runs as low as 25 with a small zucchini. Not to mention, this characteristically water-filled veg make for an incredibly appetizing cake texture.

There’s also no need to fear a lingering vegetable aftertaste: Zucchinis hardly have any taste so it’s the spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as chocolate chips which will flavour this wholesome treat. As always, wait until ingredients are room temperature before starting. It makes the mixing and folding process a lot easier. As far as selecting zucchinis, remember that the darker the zucchini, the more nutrients. Aim to use small to medium sized zucchinis.

Serving: Makes one loaf

  • Dry Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Wet Ingredients
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola or peanut oil
  • 3/4 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9×4 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
    Note: Oil ensures parchment paper sticks to the bottom, so it’s strongly recommended.
  2. Wash approximately three zucchinis, cut off stems and grate zucchinis, leaving the skin on.
  3. 3. In a small mixing bowl, sift and combine dry ingredients then set aside.
  4. 4. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs then add yogurt, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Combine well using mixer. Fold in grated zucchini and chocolate chips.
  5. 5. Pour mixed dry ingredients into wet mixture and blend until an even consistency is achieved.
  6. 6. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for approximately 45 – 50 minutes.
  7. 7. Remove loaf from oven and cool 10 minutes in the pan. Loosen the sides and remove from pan. Cool loaf completely before cutting and serve.

Zucchini bread also lends well to freezing so add some convenience to your hectic schedule by freezing portions for later in the week. Enjoy it as an on-the-go snack or even as a hearty breakfast treat.

Variations: Try adding, toasted walnuts, almonds,pecans or dried fruit (such as cranberries and cherries) prior to baking. Spice up the presentation with sliced almonds or a sprinkling of flax seeds.

Recipe adapted from Simplebites.net

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