zucchini-blueberry bread

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Have I warned you about planting mint in your garden?  No?  Ooops, sorry ’bout that.  I know I have told several people to only plant mint in containers since its root system will go crazy and you’ll never be able to get rid of it or kill it no matter how much you think you would never want to do such a thing.  I have said many times that I’d like to write a book titled “I Can’t Believe the World Isn’t Covered in Mint.”  I’ve changed my mind.  I think my book will be called “I Can’t Believe How Many People Plant So Much More Zucchini Than They Can Possibly Eat.”  Is this you?  It’s meeeeeee.  And I really should know better having grown up with a father who year after year planted too much zucchini.

I am devoting two posts in a row to zucchini because I sympathize with your plight, not because zucchini is some nutrient-dense vegetable, which it’s not.  It is an appropriate food for the summer months, though, due to its high water content and cooling thermal nature.  It is alkalizing to the body to boot.  I don’t know how alkalizing zucchini bread is, but when my kids devour it, I commend them on how wonderful it is that they enjoy green vegetables.  Then when zucchini is served for dinner, I just remind them it’s the same green that’s baked into the bread they love.

Many zucchini breads tend to be overly oily and loaded with sugar, but claim health benefits from a cup of shredded zucchini.  You’re not falling for that one, are you?  This one instead has a base of whole wheat pastry flour with a minimal amount of maple syrup to sweeten it.  I use either olive oil or melted coconut oil, which can be reduced with the addition of unsweetened applesauce (see the lead photo.)  Like a lot of the recipes I post, you can adapt this zucchini bread so many ways.  Our favorite way is with fresh blueberries and a touch of lemon zest.  It’s light and fresh and makes for a perfect quick summer breakfast or snack for camp.  I have also made it with raspberries instead of blueberries and that’s a winner, too.  I know you’re going to ask me if you can add chocolate chips, and who am I to tell you no?  If you use chocolate, I would drop the lemon zest though, and maybe add some walnuts.  Like I did right here.

Zucchini-Blueberry Bread
Serves: makes 1 8½ x 4½-inch loaf
  • ¼ cup melted unrefined coconut oil or olive oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or omit applesauce and increase oil to ½ cup)
  • ½ cup organic 100% pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, about 2 small
  • zest of half a lemon (optional)
  • ½ -1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 ½ “ x 4 ½ “ loaf pan, or if aluminum, grease it and line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a blender, blend together the oil, maple syrup, applesauce, eggs and vanilla. This helps to emulsify the oil and keeps your bread from being greasy.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture.
  4. Fold in the zucchini, lemon zest, blueberries and nuts. Pour into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. When made with applesauce, it usually takes 5 minutes longer than when made without. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool completely on a rack.
You can also make these in standard muffin tins and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. This will yield about 12 muffins.

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  1. Carrie says

    This looks like a good recipe and I’m pleased to read all the positive feedback. I am wondering if I can sub honey for the maple syrup? I certainly don’t want to compromise the taste. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Pamela says

      Honey and maple syrup can often be substituted for each other, especially in recipes like this. I would just add that the honey flavor may be more detectable. But you should have success!

  2. jerilyn says

    Hi…just discovered your website as I was looking for a zucchini bread recipe. Your website looks amazing! I have 2 questions…does the shredded zucchini need to be squeezed dry (with paper towels) before preceeding with this recipe? And, do you think I could use spelt flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour as stated to use? I am gluten sensitive, and would like to make your recipe using spelt flour! Thanks!!!

    • Pamela says

      Thanks, Jerilyn! I don’t squeeze the zucchini before using them. Spelt flour would work perfectly in this recipe BUT it contains gluten, so you can’t use it if you’re sensitive. Try King Arthur’s Multipurpose Gluten-free Flour and add 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum or use another good GF flour blend. You would keep all the other ingredients the same. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    • jerilyn says

      Thanks so much for your speedy reply. I find that I can tolerate modest amounts of spelt flour without a stomach problem. So, that was why I asked if I could substitute the whole wheat flour for an equal amount of spelt flour. Thanks for letting me know there is no need to squeeze dry the zucchini! I look forward to trying this recipe!

  3. Beate says

    Love this recipe! Best zucchini bread I ever baked. Love the maple syrup, apple sauce and lemon zest. Many thanks!

  4. Winnie says

    Hi Pamela :) do you think this if i made a cream cheese icing instead of adding blueberries? or do you think it would be better if i substituted the blueberries for chic chips and didn’t make the icing?

    • Pamela says

      Hi Winnie :) In my opinion, you can add blueberries to the batter and a cream cheese icing on top, although I’m not a big fan of icings since they add a lot of extra sugar. So I say this will be delicious with just blueberries!

      • Winnie says

        Thanks for the tip :) I couldn’t find any nice looking blueberries so should I substitute them chocolate chips? or if I chop up some dark chocolate and add it in instead?

        • Pamela says

          You can actually make this quick bread with nothing added! The blueberries and chocolate chips are just suggestions. I have also added walnuts, pecans, and raspberries. I’m sure there are many dried fruits that would work well, too. If you love chocolate, go for it, otherwise don’t feel pressure to add anything. :)

  5. carrie says

    This bread is delicious. I also made your banana bread recipe and wondering if I could add applesauce and/or maple syrup to that one as well?? I loved the taste of these two items in the zucchini bread! Thanks!

    • Pamela says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the zucchini bread. If you don’t want to use date puree in the banana bread, I’m sure you could sub 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup applesauce instead. If you do, let me know how it turns out!

  6. Kelly says

    Thanks for this great recipe, have you made it gluten free? Would you know the substitutions for that.


    • Pamela says

      Yes, I’ve made it gluten-free, but with King Arthur GF flour mix and a little xanthan gum. Just sub one for one. I’ve also tried the Bob’s Red Mill (bean-based) GF mix and it was not that good — too beany tasting. I’m sure you could go the rice flour-potato starch-tapioca-xanthan gum route and make that from scratch. Do you know that method?

  7. Vivianne says

    I have to say you are a miracle worker! :) somehow your recipies and the way you explain them, the fact that you use such healthy ingredients and also knowing that you are there for us every step of the way has made me actually cook for the first time in my life! I can’t even recognize myself:)!!! Anyway, I just finished making the muffins (I decided to make it into muffins instead of bread) and they are SOOO good, I can’t even believe it myself. I did add a few little ingredients for health. I put rice protein and also groud flaxseed. I was a little nervous but it didn’t seem to affect the outcome at all. Can’t wait to try your other recipies:) on this thanks giving holiday, not just me but my whole family THANKS YOU:):):)

    • Pamela says

      I’m so happy you’re here, Vivianne, and that you found your inner cook! Please keep me posted on your adventures in the kitchen!

    • Pamela says

      Well, I can make the argument that it’s a more healthful option than a piece of cake or most of the other zucchini bread options out there which contain white flour and tons of refined sugar. But if you’re comparing this recipe to kale salad, I would say the kale is more healthful. One thing is for sure — it IS delicious!

  8. Cynthia says

    Hi Pamela, my name is Cynthia. I am a huge fan of this website, it is very helpful, and everyone in my family loves it as well! I just did zucchini bread and no blueberries, and it was delicious! Thank you for teaching me how to cook through this website, it has really helped me!


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