Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread
If you’re looking for a zucchini bread recipe that is full of chocolate, made with wholesome ingredients and not too sweet, then you’ve come to the right place. This simple yet nourishing loaf is on the bitter side, which makes it pair so well with coffee (or your favourite coffee alternative). Store it in the fridge, wrapped in a beeswax wrap for up to 10 days, or keep frozen for up to 4 months. Whether eaten as a healthy dessert, or a quick breakfast, I hope you enjoy this dark and delicious take on zucchini bread!
(Health benefits for certain ingredients listed below)
- 1 banana
- 3 flax eggs
- (3 tbsp ground flax + 9 tbsp warm water)
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2 cups skinned, shredded and strained zucchini
- (approx. 1 large or 2 small zucchini)
- 2.5 cups whole grain spelt flour
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ½ tsp pink salt
- Tsp baking powder
- Tsp baking soda
- 1.5 cup coconut sugar
- Tbsp cinnamon + additional for topping
- Tsp cardamom
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (equals 2 chocolate bars)
- ⅓ cup cacao nibs + additional for topping
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C)
- Skin and shred 2 cups of zucchini. Let it sit in a strainer to allow the excess water to drain.
- Prepare 3 flax eggs (Whisk 3 tbsp ground flax into 9 tbsp warm water and let sit for at least 5 mins)
- Combine dry ingredients (excluding dark chocolate and cacao nibs): Spelt flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, pink salt, baking soda, baking powder and optional spices; cinnamon and cardamom
- Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl (excluding zucchini): Flax eggs, banana and coconut oil
- Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients
- Add shredded zucchini and mix well
- Add dark chocolate and cacao nibs
- Split batter into two 8x4” greased loaf pans*
- Bake for 40-60 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean)
*Coconut oil, or other high heat oils, are recommended for greasing the loaf pans. Avocado and grape seed oil would also work well.
View the recipe video here
Spelt flour is an ancient grain, part of the wheat family, and behaves very similarly to the all-purpose flour that many are accustomed to. This means that substituting all-purpose flour for spelt flour is very simple, by using a 1:1 ratio. On top of this, it’s fairly inexpensive compared to other alternative flours, so it may be more financially accessible for someone looking to eat healthier on a budget. While it still unfortunately contains gluten, its nutrient profile makes it worth the swap. Spelt flour contains essential minerals, such as iron and zinc, and also has higher amounts of protein and fibre. This means that spelt flour will keep you fuller longer, and will prevent blood sugar spikes and drops that you might experience with foods made with all purpose flour. Bottom line; spelt flour is a more nutritious substitute for commercial flour, and I recommend it for beginners who are experimenting and learning more about alternative flours.
Another healthy and easy alternative is coconut sugar. Not only does it contain small amounts of iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, it also ranks a low 35 on the glycemic index (GI). This means it will not spike your blood-glucose and insulin levels like refined sugar, which is a whopping 60-65 on the GI scale. When insulin is high, it encourages the body to store fat, and discourages it to break down fat. On top of this, refined sugar is actually an anti-nutrient; meaning it takes nutrients away from the body in order to be digested properly. The body uses valuable minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, just to name a few) to metabolize refined sugar. Coconut sugar actually contains minerals, rather than taking them away from your body. It is equally sweet with a more bodied, caramel-like flavour, and can also be used at a 1:1 ratio. I encourage you to make it one of your go-to sweeteners.
Cacao Powder and Nibs
Cacao is essentially the raw and unprocessed version of cocoa, making it another beneficial and easy ingredient swap. Cacao contains an abundance of vital minerals, including magnesium, zinc, chromium and iron. It has more antioxidants than blueberries, açai berries and goji berries. One antioxidant found in cacao is resveratrol, which is known for its ability to cross the blood brain barrier, and protect the nervous system. Cacao also supports the nervous system with other important nutrients, such as anandamide, serotonin and phenylethylamine; all of which are known for their mood boosting benefits. As if that wasn’t enough, cacao also contains MAO inhibitors, which essentially ensure that the anandamide, serotonin and phenylethylamine actually get absorbed into the body and reach the brain.