With CSA season in full swing, I have more veggies in my fridge than I know what to do with. This week’s haul included a ton of zucchini and after giving a handful away; I’m still left with eight beautifully green and crisp pieces in my vegetable drawer. (Over the past few weeks I’ve somehow become the local vegetable drug dealer with people calling to see what kinds of goodies are in my stash before heading to the grocery.)
Hoping to make a big dent in my hoard of zucchini, I set out to make a healthy sweet zucchini bread. I failed miserably. Turns out 2 cups of grated zucchini equates to one large zucchini. Le sigh. One Zucchini down seven more to go, but at least I’ve got a delicious bread to show for it.
I applied a few healthy twists and improvisations to this mouthwatering and easy recipe from Honey & Jam. As follows:
- Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce for Vegetable Oil
Applesauce helps add some moisture to the final product as well as some fiber. Less is more here, so be sure to use unsweetened and unflavored applesauce as the added sugars will throw off the flavor and texture of the bread. It’s also a good idea to spring for organic applesauce. Conventionally grown apples are considered among the “dirtiest” produce in the grocery. When using conventional growing methods, apples take 48 different pesticides to keep the fruit healthy and these chemicals don’t wash off easily. Plus, we’re not even sure what effect these pesticides have on humans and the environment.
- Organic Coconut Sugar for Brown Sugar
Coconuts are magical gifts from nature and if I could choose which foods to bring with me to a deserted island, I’d have coconuts at the top of that list. Coconut sugar is naturally nutrient-rich, and according to manufacturers it contains potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It’s also a low glycemic food.
- Cast Iron Skillet for Loaf Molds
My tiny kitchen requires that nearly everything in it be multi-functional. As such, no room for single-function items like loaf molds. Not only are cast iron skillets, a great option for those who are squeamish about non-stick finishes, they are nearly indestructible. It’s not hard to find a vintage skillet that was cast decades ago and is still in perfect working condition. Otherwise, check out the affordable offerings from Lodge. I’ve been using cast iron for just over a year and I’m pretty much obsessed. They’re so versatile. This was my first time baking bread in the cast iron. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily the bread popped out of the pan, especially considering that I forgot to flower it before baking.
And finally, here’s how to whip it up:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup applesauce
1 2/3 cups packed coconut sugar
2 cups grated zucchini (this ended up being about one large zucchini)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Oil to grease the pan (I used coconut)
- Stir dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt) together in a large bowl.
- In a second, larger bowl beat eggs well. Add the applesauce, coconut sugar, grated zucchini and vanilla. Mix well.
- Fold dry ingredients into the egg and zucchini batter. Add raisins and nuts if it makes your heart happy.
- Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch skillet or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Be sure to leave space for the bread to rise!
- Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife/toothpick poked through the middle comes out clean.
Enjoy! Let us know how you like it in the comments below, or share your favorite zucchini bread recipe.