Healthy (no sugar) Zucchini/Carrot/Apple Bread

This fluffy moist zucchini bread recipe which I adapted by adding carrot & apple, is made healthier with whole grains, honey (or maple syrup) and coconut oil instead of butter. It is easily made vegan and/or gluten free (see notes). Recipe yields 1 large loaf or 3 mini loaves. A great breakfast bread or afternoon snack with tea.  Guests wanted more.

Photo: d. king

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup roughly chopped raw walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil*
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk of choice or water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + more to swirl on top
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups grated zucchini (you’ll need 1 small-to-medium zucchini, about 7 ounces—if your grated zucchini is very wet, squeeze out the excess moisture over the sink before stirring it into the batter). * I used a mix of zucchini, grated carrot and grated apple to make this recipe my own, and what I consider to taste even better.
  • 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour

    Photo: d. king

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a small, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, and grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan to prevent the bread from sticking.
  2. Once the oven has finished preheating, pour the chopped nuts onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are fragrant and toasted, about 5 minutes, stirring halfway.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and honey. Beat them with a whisk until they are combined. Add the eggs and beat well. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 20 seconds in the microwave.)
  4. Add the milk, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and nutmeg, and whisk to blend. Switch to a big spoon and stir in the zucchini (and/or grated carrot and apple), then add the flour and stir just until combined. Some lumps are ok! Gently fold in the toasted nuts now.
  5. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with additional cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
  6. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing it with a sharp, serrated knife.
  7. This bread is moist, so it will keep for just 2 to 3 days at room temperature. Store it in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months or so. I like to slice the bread before freezing and defrost individual slices, either by lightly toasting them or defrosting them in the microwave. I dusted the tops with icing sugar (but you don’t need to – it just looks prettier).

A Note on Oils: I used unrefined coconut oil in this recipe.  Olive Oil will lend an herbal note to the bread.  Vegetable oil has a neutral flavor, but the average vegetable/canola oil is highly processed, so better to use cold-pressed sunflower or grapeseed oil if you prefer that.

MAKE IT VEGAN: Use maple syrup instead of honey, replace the eggs with flax eggs and choose non-dairy milk (I used almond milk) or water.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE: Choose non-dairy milk (I used almond milk) or water.
MAKE IT EGG FREE: Replace the eggs with flax eggs.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: I haven’t tried myself, but I have heard from a reader that Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose gluten-free mix worked well here.
MAKE IT LOWER IN FAT: Replace the oil with applesauce if you’re following a low-fat diet.

I had all positive reviews for tasters on this one, so I’m going to make it again.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite loaf/bread  recipe?

 

Inspiring Cooks

Last night I was in a room full of intriguing people to celebrate a season of sharing, hope and inspiration at *Inspire Health’s inaugural gala. Everyone was there to support those living with Cancer.
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The perfect evening marked an important milestone with the launch of a gorgeous cookbook entitled “Inspired Cooking” featuring 21 of Canada’s finest chefs.  Four of the featured chefs were on hand to take everyone on an amazing culinary experience, as we sipped on some of the best wines BC has to offer from the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association.inspiregala2

While guests perused the desirable silent auction items during reception, servers  were floating around the room with the most delicious canapés from local Meinhardt (one of the sponsors).

There was live entertainment along with some moving testimonies of patients who have contributed their stories to the book, with the hopes that it will inspire change for others.

Each of the four courses were excellent in taste and presentation but my two standouts were:
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Entrée: Slow Cooked salmon, ginger scented sweet potato, black garlic, tomato and shitake dashi Chef Warren Barr, The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Tofino Paired with Church and State – Coyote Bowl Syrahinspiregala3

Dessert: (picture did not serve it justice) Frozen lemon, turmeric pudding with coconut cream and chia seeds *As featured in Inspired Cooking Baker Jackie Kai Ellis, Beaucoup Bakery & Café, Vancouver.  Paired with Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery – Dry Rock Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay

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Some of the live auction items were amazing.  Here’s a sample of something I wanted to bid on but unfortunately someone else beat me to it.

A weekend to Tofino in 5-star luxury Flights for two to spectacular Tofino compliments of Orca Air, with two nights at the Wickaninnish Inn in a deluxe suite, with fireplace, soaker tub and balcony offering a forested beach view looking out at the ocean. Then enjoy a 3-course dinner at the Point Restaurant, home of refined west coast cuisine, where Chef Warren Bar and his culinary team offer to you their most innovative creations.
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*Inspire Health was founded by two medical doctors in 1997 with the intention of providing person-centred care to support health and well-being for people living with cancer and their families.  They provide patients with knowledge, tools and services to support their overall health, during and after standard cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and medications.  All of their recommendations and programs are safely integrated with a person’s standard treatments.

They’re an amazing group of people. Each year they support a minimum of 3,000 new patients, conduct 2,000 classes and provide over 25,000 clinical visits.

The support of the evening will allow Inspire Health to continue to offer evidence-based, patient centered supportive cancer care.

They certainly inspire me to do better.  Plus I cannot wait to attempt some of the recipes (including nearly 60 whole food ones) found in the book.

Cooking is an art and patience a virtue... Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love. – Keith Floyd, ‘A Feast of Floyd’

Photos: d. king