It’s best to save store-bought sweet breads and muffins for an occasional treat because although tasty, they are usually packed with calories, fat, sugar, salt, and refined carbohydrates. This recipe, as well as others you can make at home with high-quality ingredients, is a healthier take on what you would get at the bakery or corner store because I’ve replaced white flour with whole wheat flour, butter with olive oil, and refined sugar with maple syrup. (You can also try substituting with coconut sugar.) Note: The optimal yield for this recipe is two mini-loaves. If you want to make a single loaf in an 8 x 4-inch pan, you will need to increase the cook time and watch the loaf carefully.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Makes 2 6×3-inch loaves
Regular or vegan butter and flour for dusting bread pans
2 large eggs
½ cup organic maple syrup
1 cup zucchini, grated on a box grater using the largest holes
1/3 cup buttermilk (or another plant-based milk)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease 2 small bread pans (or 1 large) thoroughly, making sure to cover all of the surface area so the bread doesn’t stick to the pan. Lightly dust with whole wheat flour and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on a low setting or a wooden spoon, mix the eggs until combined and smooth. Add the maple syrup and mix to combine. Add the zucchini, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla and mix until those ingredients are combined as well.
In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Then, using a strainer or sifter, sift the dry ingredient over the wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix all ingredients until just blended (don’t overmix).
Transfer the batter to the prepared bread pan(s) and then to the oven. Bake until the bread is puffy, golden on top, and moist on the inside, about 45 minutes for mini loaves and 60 minutes, for a large loaf. (Check both at the 40-minute mark by sticking a toothpick or sharp knife into the center of the loaf; when ready the utensil should come out moist but clean, without batter on it.) Take the bread out of the oven and let cool a little before slicing. Serve warm.