I have a bone (er, seed) to pick with zucchini bread recipes.
They don’t use enough zucchini!
In the middle of summer, when the zucchini starts overwhelming our CSA members, and we’re left with crates of it even after we urge them to take as much as they want, I turn to the kitchen.
I don’t know why I’m surprised every year just how little of a dent zucchini bread makes in the zucchini pile-up, but every time a recipe calls for just a cup of zucchini, I balk at how 1 cup doesn’t even use up one medium fruit.
There’s only so much time to spend baking when there’s more zucchini growing in the field, and I want to make that time worth it.
While I’ve come to acknowledge that eating zucchini in everything is the only way to make a dent in the zucchini haul, (really—zucchini and eggs for breakfast! Zucchini stir-fry for lunch! Vegetable tian or noodles with garden pasta sauce loaded with zucchini for dinner!), I stubbornly stand in the corner of my 5-year-old, who declares that zucchini bread is the best way to eat it.
I may be a vegetable farmer by trade, but I’m a baker at heart.
With a gluten-free husband, and a newly egg-free son, I’m here to tell you: “free” baking can still be delicious.
I went dairy-free while on an anti-inflammatory diet during my Lyme disease treatment, and found ways to bake without butter thanks to coconut oil + milk. While gluten-free vegan baking is challenging, it’s most delightful and successful in the form of quick breads.
Enter: gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free zucchini bread.
There’s nothing like a farmer with a zucchini problem to find a recipe that will feed everyone with food sensitivities and use up a sizable amount of zukes. A few summers ago, I found the best gluten-free recipe from A Girl Defloured, and have modified it over the years to include more zucchini, plus make it egg-free.
My favorite thing about this recipe is its flexibility.
If you don’t need it to be dairy-free or egg-free, measure out the milk and crack the eggs in! I’ve tested it with three different gluten-free flour blends, and all work well. So don’t worry about taking an extra trip to the store just to follow this recipe to the T. Use whatever gluten-free flour blend you have on hand (just not coconut flour—that one won’t work).
One more thing: don’t tell people it’s “free” unless they need to know.
From personal experience, things taste better when you don’t know it’s gluten, egg, or dairy-free. Let this bread bask in its taste and be described for what it has, not what it doesn’t. And what it has is zucchini.
What’s your favorite way to use up zucchini?
In the midst of farming, I haven’t ventured beyond baking, eating fresh, and throwing sliced or shredded zucchini in the freezer. So if you have the perfect way to preserve zucchini, let me know in the comments below.
- 2 ½ cups of grated zucchini
- 3 C all purpose gluten-free flour blend (I’ve used Bob’s Redmill All-Purpose Baking Flour, and Bob’s 1:1 Baking Flour. You can also do a mix of 2 ½ C all-purpose flour with ½ C almond flour)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅔ cup canola oil (or other light oil)
- 4 flax-meal eggs* (see note below) or 4 large eggs
- ½ cup full-fat coconut milk (or regular whole milk)
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- *To make flax eggs: 1 tbs flax meal + 3 tbs water = 1 flax egg. To make 4 flax eggs, you’ll need ¼ cup flax meal and ¾ cup water. Whisk flax meal and water together in a bowl, and set aside for 5-10 minutes (can be set aside for up to 30 minutes) until it becomes gelatinous.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch loaf pans, or one 24 cup muffin pan and set aside.
- Place the shredded zucchini into some paper towels and squeeze out the liquid. Alternatively, place shredded zucchini in a bowl and squeeze with your hands, draining the liquid into the sink. Fluff the zucchini with a fork and set aside.
- Put the all-purpose gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In another large bowl add the brown sugar, canola oil, flax eggs, coconut milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk thoroughly until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini (you can add it all in or reserve a little to sprinkle on the top of the loaves) and the nuts, if using.
- Divide evenly between the pans, sprinkle over the reserved zucchini and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully turn out to cool completely on a rack.