We started a new vegetable garden at our North American house this year, and though the tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, and salad grew really well, our zucchini flowered but never produced fruit. We just returned to Umbria this week for our usual three month stay, and our garden here is the complete opposite. The tomatoes are just about finished but the zucchini are producing like crazy.
There is a period every summer when I usually find myself losing the race to find new, great tasting ways to use up our bounty of fresh zucchini from the garden. It seems I spend months waiting on that first zucchini flower to appear and from that point on the zucchini plants reproduce like bunnies and I have to scramble to pick them before they get too big which often seems to happen overnight.
Once picked, the basket of zucchini sits on my counter daring me to find a new way to use them up and I try my very best by using the zucchini in pasta dishes, summer soups, or as a side dish fried, sauteed, or baked with other ingredients. Every once in a while I do lose the battle and end up with a few zucchini that are just a little larger than I prefer, and it is at those times I make zucchini bread or muffins.
This zucchini bread recipe has evolved over the years as I kept tweaking it trying to make it a little healthier while still retaining a great flavor and a nice, moist texture. Although I plan to keep working with it to try and cut down on the amount of sugar used, I am really happy with this loaf.
I use a combination of grated apples and zucchini, have cut down on the fat used and use olive oil in place of the butter along with yogurt, and have substituted whole wheat flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour. I grate my zucchini using the larger holes of my grater so you can still see a few flecks of green in my bread, but if you grated it finely the kids wouldn’t even know they were eating zucchini! These loaves freeze really well so I often double the recipe when I have an abundance of zucchini to use up.
- 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 2 1/2 Cups Grated Zucchini
- 1 Cup Grated Apple
- 1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups White Wheat, Or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Walnuts
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan.
- In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until light.
- Add the oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract and mix.
- Stir in the grated zucchini and apple. In a separate bowl, mix together the two flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir just until mixed.
- Stir in half the walnuts and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Sprinkle the remainder of the walnuts on top of the batter, and bake for about one hour or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center.
- Cool for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan.
- Cool on a wire rack before slicing.