Zucchini Banana or Applesauce Bread (grain-free & naturally sweetened)

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Grain-free, naturally sweetened Zucchini Banana (or Applesauce) Bread-this healthy edition of the ultimate summer quick bread is easy to customize and completely delicious

This grain-free, naturally sweetened zucchini bread puts a healthy spin on the ultimate summer quick bread. As an added bonus, it’s easy to customize and tastes great! 

 

 

This bread is all about choices.

In the big picture, this recipe illustrates how we can have our proverbial cake and eat it, too. Cake-or quick bread in this case-can, in fact, be healthy AND delicious.

The following recipe is grain-free, naturally sweetened (with whole fruit and a modest amount of honey or maple syrup), and contains a healthy dose of fresh zucchini.

It’s also tender and moist with a lovely sweetness and flavor.

In other words, there’s no need to sacrifice taste when making a healthy choice. (Yay!)

But there’s more.

Grain-free, naturally sweetened Zucchini Banana (or Applesauce) Bread-this healthy edition of the ultimate summer quick bread is easy to customize and completely delicious

Additionally, because personal preferences vary-I really like bananas but not everyone does, for example-I’ve built choices into the ingredient list.

I’ve tested this recipe with applesauce instead of mashed banana and it works brilliantly. For added ease, the amount needed is the equivalent of one of the 4-ounce singles, which are easy to keep on hand.

In this case, to keep the added sugars as low as possible, I use unsweetened applesauce, which still yields a perfectly sweet loaf. If you prefer the sweetened variety, you may certainly use it.

Based on similar recipes, I feel confident that an equal amount of pumpkin or apple butter would work well, too. They’d also add a more pronounced spiced flavor. Plain canned pumpkin puree should work texture-wise, but it lacks the natural sweetness that many would likely miss in this bread.

Grain-free, naturally sweetened Zucchini Banana (or Applesauce) Bread-this healthy edition of the ultimate summer quick bread is easy to customize and completely delicious

There are a few more choices offered within the framework of the recipe. Beyond that, you may further customize by adding a few tablespoons of raisins, a handful of chopped nuts, shredded coconut or, for a hint of decadence, chocolate chips. (I usually tend towards dark chocolate, but I’ve discovered that white chocolate chips or chunks are delightful addition to zucchini bread.)

As is, a slice or two makes a welcome breakfast, snack or even a wholesome dessert. But I do have a little trick that turns this bread (or your favorite banana, pumpkin or similar quick bread) into a satisfying meal.

Typically, I top the slices with peanut or almond butter, a sprinkle of granola (I keep Lolita’s low-sugar recipe on hand) and banana slices. Recently I experimented with chèvre or cottage cheese, sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds (pictured below).

Chèvre offers more flavor, while cottage cheese scores points for protein. I think cream cheese or my easy yogurt cream cheese (again, the latter wins in the protein department) would be nice, perhaps with a light drizzle of honey or maple syrup to balance the tang.

Grain-free, naturally sweetened Zucchini Banana (or Applesauce) Bread...and how to make a meal out of quick bread

That said, the peanut butter combo remains my personal favorite, but I encourage you to experiment to see what combinations you most enjoy. (Note that a fork is helpful when enjoying this way.) And remember, a plain, unadorned slice never disappoints!

Grain-free, naturally sweetened Zucchini Banana (or Applesauce) Bread-this healthy edition of the ultimate summer quick bread is easy to customize and completely delicious

As a final thought, my aunt and I have baked this bread for gift giving and to include with meals we’ve made for friends recovering from surgery, etc. The mini loaves are also a nice option when you need a little something to give as a hostess or holiday gift.

Zucchini Banana or Applesauce Bread (grain-free & naturally sweetened)
Yield: 1 loaf or 3 mini loaves
This grain-free, naturally sweetened zucchini bread puts a healthy spin on the ultimate summer quick bread. Can be customized to taste, too.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup (168g) blanched almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice (may use all cinnamon)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (80g) honey (pure maple syrup works well, too)
  • 1 medium-large overripe banana (about ½ cup or scant ½ cup, mashed or just under, 105-120g - may substitute ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1 cup (113g/4 ounces) shredded, unpeeled zucchini (no need to squeeze out moisture)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Place all of the wet ingredients except the zucchini in a mixing bowl and then beat (may use a handheld or stand mixer, or you can mash the banana well and then whisk in the remaining wet ingredients by hand) on medium if using electric option for 1-2 minutes or until frothy and fully combined. Add the zucchini and beat or stir just to incorporate.
  4. Slowly beat or stir in the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to fully incorporate.
  5. Spoon the batter into 1 (9×5) metal* loaf pan or 3 (3½x5) mini loaf pans.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, give or take a few, for a 9×5 pan or approximately 25 minutes for 3 mini loaves. Check 5 minutes early and drape a piece of foil overtop if the bread is sufficiently golden brown. (To be sure of doneness, a quick-read thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf should register between 200-205 degrees F.)
  7. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan(s) before removing to a rack to cool completely.
Notes

*When baking in a glass loaf pan, the edges and bottoms of quick breads can brown too quickly, sometimes before the inside has cooked through. This is more common when nut flours are used (as in this quick bread) or the recipe has a high sugar content. Light colored metal loaf pans are also preferable to dark coated pans for the same reason.

Helpful hints:
You could use this batter to make muffins, simply adjusting down the time to accommodate.
As mentioned, I don’t squeeze the moisture from the shredded zucchini, but I also haven’t used more than the stated measurement. If tempted to experiment and go heavy on this ingredient, you may wish to squeeze it in a clean tea towel to remove some of the liquid before adding to the batter.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

 

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Comments

  1. Patti Hostetler

    I love trying your recipes! I think you mentioned some time ago using Spice Island Hickory Smoked Salt. We love this stuff but can’t find it! Can you help?

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m so glad, Patti! As for the salt, I bought the jar I have a while ago. My recollection is that I purchased it at Stauffer’s, but maybe Giant. The Herb Shop at Central Market carries a variety of smoked salts in bulk, so you could check there. Online would be an option if all else fails. I will keep my eye out and report back if I see it!

      Reply