Moist and delicious, this is a quick bread recipe with a healthy dose of grated zucchini, pineapple, and whole wheat flour. It's very easy to make, keeps really well, and can be frozen. It has walnuts for crunchiness and can be adapted into muffins or a tube cake.
This easy recipe is based on the first traditional zucchini bread I ever made. It turned out so wonderful that I hardly ever stray from it.
I must admit that I make an exception with this zucchini bundt cake because it has a cinnamon streusel that won me over, as it always does. But truthfully, this bread is my go-to recipe when it's that time of year, and I'm up to my eyeballs in zucchini.
I love a healthy zucchini bread recipe in the morning or as a snack, so I tweaked it a little and added more wholesome ingredients to make it with less refined sugar and flour.
Now, I always keep slices of this one in the freezer for quick breakfasts. My brother might add that it makes the best toast with a honey or maple syrup drizzle.
It's an amazing recipe that renders a moist bread (it uses oil instead of butter) and is a great way to take advantage of this vegetable's bounty which can sometimes be overwhelming.
A part is whole wheat flour, a healthier alternative that marries super well with the pineapple. It's sweet with an earthy undertone and crunch from the walnuts.
Plus, that beautiful golden crust.
But it can be made with all-purpose flour only, similar to our popular banana bread with chocolate chips. They both are great recipes if made with some whole wheat flour but also if you omit it. Your choice.
- Fresh zucchini: freshly grated zucchini is needed for this recipe.
- White flour: you can use all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour. The latter doesn't have as much gluten as regular flour, so the bread might not rise as much.
- Whole wheat flour: use superfine flour, which has a consistency similar to regular flour. A coarser flour will render a more rustic loaf.
- Baking powder and baking soda: make sure they're not expired.
- Salt: I like using kosher salt or fine sea salt when baking. But regular table salt works just fine.
- Sugar: you can use coconut sugar or organic fine muscovado sugar, which are less refined than white sugar.
- Eggs: fresh, large.
- Vegetable oil: use coconut oil or a light extra virgin olive oil (if you like baking with it). But you can use any vegetable oil like sunflower or canola oil.
- Pineapple: fresh or canned pineapple (without sugar), both work. It adds moisture.
- Walnuts: they'll be chopped, so no need to buy the more expensive whole pieces.
- Cinnamon: any ground cinnamon you normally use works fine. I like Frontier Vietnamese cinnamon and Simply Organic Ceylon cinnamon. If you like nutmeg, you might want to add a few fresh grindings.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
How to make healthy zucchini bread
This is a simple recipe, similar to old-fashioned muffins where the dry ingredients are stirred in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another, and then both preparations are combined.
No need to beat. A spatula or spoon is enough.
Put dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
Mix wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the grated zucchini and mix.
Combine both preparations and mix *just* until integrated. Don't overdo it.
Add chopped pineapple and walnuts. Fold them in lightly.
Baking zucchini bread
Using the right-sized pan is essential for the batter to rise well and bake fully without overflowing or drying out too much.
When is the bread done: the pineapple and zucchini make this a moist bread, so the cake tester or toothpick will come out clean but shiny. The top will spring back when you softly touch it.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
- Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Zucchini: grate it with a coarse grater (large holes) or in the processor, as I do. Be careful not to make a zucchini paste if processing them. But make sure they are minced. This recipe doesn't work well if you coarsely chop the zucchini.
- Flour: you can use only all-purpose or cake flour, but I think that adding a part of whole wheat flour makes it richer. Make sure it is superfine for best results. I use one that is almost as fine as all-purpose. If you use a coarser whole wheat flour the bread will have a denser texture.
- Pineapple: I tried this recipe both with canned and fresh pineapple. The former gives better results, but, if you want to use fresh fruit anyway, the bread will still be very good but less sweet and with less depth of flavor. Make sure it is finely chopped.
- Nuts: walnuts are perfect for this recipe, but pecans work just as well. I haven't tried it with any other nut, though I think macadamias and hazelnuts would probably work.
- Storing: this bread keeps for one or two days at room temperature. But be careful if the room is hot since the fruit might ferment and ruin the bread. If that is the case I suggest you keep it in the fridge, well wrapped. You can also freeze it, well wrapped, for a month. I like to cut it before freezing and take out as many slices as I need. Then warm it in the oven or toast it. It's great with cream cheese, or plain at room temperature.
Zucchini pineapple muffins
I use this recipe to make amazing healthy zucchini muffins.
They are moist, sweet, and just delicious in the morning, my favorite time to eat them.
They don't even need a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Though you might want to add it if you want to increase the sweetness of the muffins.
How to make muffins: simply follow the recipe and use regular muffin tins with or without paper liners. Fill them ¾ full. It yields a lot, like 24 regular muffins, so consider halving the recipe or be prepared to freeze some. Unless you have a huge household or school bake sale.
Not necessarily, unless the skin is too thick or has bruises. I buy firm, smooth zucchini and grate them with their skins because they will soften or dissolve during baking.
It might be that you beat it too much after adding the flour, that you're using a bad recipe, or the oven was not preheated. Those are the most common things why it might be dense and unappealing. Follow the instructions in the recipe card below and you'll have a great zucchini bread.
There might be too much liquid in the recipe, the pan might be too small for the amount of batter, or the oven might be set at the wrong temperature. Zucchini can release a lot of liquid after its grated, and you should squeeze it before adding it to the batter. Use the appropriate pan stated in the recipe, and always preheat the oven 20 minutes before baking.
Related recipes you might like:
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (superfine)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups organic sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegetable oil (I use coconut oil or light olive oil)
- 3 cups grated zucchini (about 2-3 medium) see Notes
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180°C.
- Grease two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans. I like to line them with a strip of parchment paper (aluminum foil works too) covering the bottom and two short sides. It'll be easier to remove the loaf from the pan by lifting the ends of the paper.
- Grate the zucchini. I recommend using a large-holed microplane grater or coarse box grater. Do not use small hole graters because the zucchini clumps and doesn't distribute well in the batter.
- Stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Lightly beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil in a medium bowl.
- Add the shredded zucchini to the wet ingredients and mix well. If they released liquid between the time you grated and added them to the batter, squeeze them out before adding.
- Add the flour mixture and stir *just* until combined. Do not beat or mix too much.
- Stir in the chopped walnuts and pineapple and mix well.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pans. Smooth top.
- Bake for about 50 minutes until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, and the loaf springs back when lightly touched.
- Cool on a wire rack before removing from the pans.
- Refrigerate leftovers covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container.
Zucchini: grate them at the last moment possible to avoid them from releasing liquid. Do so with a coarse grater (large holes) or in the processor, as I do. But be careful not to make a zucchini paste if processing them. But make sure they are minced. This recipe doesn't work well if you coarsely chop the zucchini.
Flour: you can use only all-purpose or cake flour, but I think that adding a part of whole wheat flour makes it richer. Make sure it's superfine flour for best results. I use one that is almost as fine as all-purpose. If you use a coarser whole wheat flour the bread will have a denser texture.
Alternative flours: you can use a small amount of oat flour or almond flour to add more texture. About ¼ cup that you need to substract from the white flour.
Pineapple: I tried this recipe both with canned and fresh pineapple. The former gives better results, but, if you want to use fresh fruit anyway, the bread will still be very good but less sweet and with less depth of flavor. Make sure it is finely chopped.
Nuts: walnuts are perfect for this recipe, but pecans work just as well. I haven't tried it with any other nut, though I think macadamias and hazelnuts would probably work.
Keeping: this bread keeps for one day at room temperature. But be careful if the room is hot since fruits ferment and ruin the bread, especially pineapple. If that is the case I suggest you keep it in the fridge, well wrapped. You can also freeze it, well wrapped, for a month. I like to cut it before freezing and take out as many slices as I need. Then warm it in the oven or toast it.
Making zucchini pineapple muffins: follow the recipe and use regular muffin tins with or without paper liners. Fill them ¾ full. It yields a lot, like 24 regular muffins, so consider halving it or be prepared to freeze some. Eat them plain or with a sprinkling of powdered sugar if you enjoy a sweeter muffin.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: Quick bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/16
- Calories: 337
- Sugar: 18.4 g
- Sodium: 167.5 mg
- Fat: 19.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 37.5 g
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Protein: 5.1 g
- Cholesterol: 34.9 mg
Keywords: zucchini pineapple bread
Adapted from Kathleen's Bakeshop Cookbook, by Kathleen King