I don’t advocate or personally subscribe to a Paleolithic diet, yet many of the recipes I make do qualify as Paleo. As you may know, the idea behind a Paleo diet is to eat like people ate a long time ago…a very long time ago. That is to say, if a caveman couldn’t eat it, neither could one who follows a Paleo diet. This translates to a menu of anything that could be hunted or gathered–meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, and seeds. Foods like pasta, breakfast cereal, and candy are off limits.
The Paleo or caveman diet became popular in the late 2000s, and it was Google’s most searched-for weight loss method in 2013–and has been high on the list ever since. Advocates argue that modern agriculture and the domestication of animals has created a decline in the quality of food cultivation and preparation. They also believe that humans have not evolved to properly digest “new” foods such as grain, legumes, and dairy, much less the processed foods that are so widely available.
Opponents of this eating plan often claim that any diet that restricts certain food groups isn’t balanced, and there isn’t strong science to prove that Paleo-eaters live longer or are healthier than those who don’t follow the diet. What’s more, whole grains and legumes, for example, are vitamin and fiber-rich and can play an important role in a healthy, well-rounded diet.
My mom always advocated the “everything in moderation” approach. Though I am not a nutritionist, dietician, or doctor, I think this makes a lot of sense. Aside from having to rule out a particular food group due to an allergy or intolerance, I figure that eating a little bit of everything and focusing on foods that aren’t processed is a great approach. In a world where we are bombarded with information on what is good for us and what is bad for us–and these things seems to be ever changing–I think this may be the safest eating plan yet!
So, I offer this Paleo zucchini bread, not because it is Paleo, but because my family thinks it tastes great, it’s easy, and it’s a perfect way to use a little of that ever-growing, seasonal stockpile of zucchini. The recipe happens to be “clean” and healthy, which makes me feel good about eating it myself and serving it to my family. Hopefully, it will also justify my occasional chocolate and ice cream indulgences….because as Mom always said, “everything in moderation.”
Although I shared the reader favorite recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread first, it’s actually based off the plain Paleo version. 🙂
Yield: 2 (3×5-inch) mini loaves or 1 (9×5-inch) loaf
- 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs (see notes)
- 1/4 cup honey (may substitute pure maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (I sometimes use avocado oil or a fruity olive oil)
- 3/4 cup zucchini, shredded (about 3 to 3 1/2 ounces)
- Optional: 1/3 cup raisins, walnuts or pecans, white or dark chocolate chips, or a combination of your favorite
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease two 3×5-inch mini loaf pans or one 9-5-inch loaf pan. (I like to line the pan(s) with parchment paper–like a sling–for easy removal.)
In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. (Stir in any raisins, nuts or chips, if using) In another medium to large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the honey and the oil, and then stir in the zucchini. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until thoroughly combined.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s), and bake for 28-30 minutes for the two smaller pans or 30-35 minutes for one larger loaf pan, or until the center is just cooked through. All ovens vary, so check a few minutes early and add extra time, if needed. The loaf will feel firm yet a little springy when pressed in the center. If it feels mushy when pressed, bake a little longer and then check again. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely.
- If using coconut oil, it helps to bring the eggs to room temperature so the coconut oil does not re-harden upon mixing with cold ingredients.
- If you are tempted to stretch the zucchini to a full cup, I recommend squeezing out some of the moisture. When using the stated 3/4 cup, I have found this step not to be necessary in this recipe.
- Almond flour tends to brown more quickly than many flours, so check about 20 minutes into the baking time and lightly drape with a piece of aluminum foil if the loaf is already golden brown.