Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Healthy Tasty Zucchini Bread

I've developed a few theories about the stuff it takes to make yummy veggie/fruit breads. Below is what I've come up with. I hope you can use what I've written here to make your own healthy, tasty breads!!

Comments on the ingredients:

My husband always asks, “What’s the zucchini for again?”. He can’t taste it, doesn’t see it, and doesn’t really think you get anything from it. Actually, baking doesn’t remove the nutritional value any more than steaming, sautéing, or other forms of cooking. It’s there to add fiber, and a serving of veggies… well, not quite a whole serving, but more than none at all! The recipe has 3 cups of zucchini - that's the same amount as the flour - a big part of the bread! I use a mixture of zucchini and carrots – either one or the other will work just fine.

This is the only ingredient in my bread that’s not-so-good for you. I had to leave something in to make the rest tasty enough to eat! I have not tried this bread with raw sugar, or replacing some sugar with honey or agave, but I’m sure they would work well. If you try any replacement sweeteners, let me know how it goes!

This entirely replaces the oil in the traditional recipe. No fat at all in this bread! You don’t have to use chunky, but I like fruit in my bread, and this works really well. I use sweetened, but you could use unsweetened, of course.

Egg Replacer:
I use 2 eggs, and 2 “egg replacers” in this recipe. This cuts the cholesterol in half for this bread, and (for what I can get here in the UK) actually makes it cheaper to make. I haven’t tried to replace all 4 eggs yet, but I bet it would work just fine. I use Whole Egg Replacer, not just the whites. I can get soy replacer, so that also makes this bread vegan (if you replaced all 4). You will need to follow the instructions on your box of replacer. Most tell you to add the powder in with the dry ingredients, and add water to the wet ingredients. Just make sure to use the “2 eggs” directions.

Whole Grain Flour:
This is the healthiest part of the whole recipe. My loaf contains oat bran, ground flaxseed and whole wheat – no white flour is needed! Here’s what I do: take a 1 C. measure, pour oat bran in (I use roughly ½ C.) then add ground flaxseed (I use roughly 4 T) then top it off with wheat flour. That makes your first cup of flour – no need to measure everything separately, and remember how much you used. I use plain whole wheat for the rest. You can use any kind of flour here. Also, if you want a lighter textured bread, but still like the idea of whole-grain nutrition, you can use ¼ C. wheat bran with ¾ C. white flour. That’s roughly equal to a whole cup of whole wheat. It will be much lighter than whole wheat, without sacrificing nutrition. Or, add wheat germ or bran to your already whole wheat flour for even more nutrition!

Dried Fruit:
Very good for you – any kind will work. Raisins, apples, papaya – whatever interests you! Nearly all dried fruit contains iron – plus gives a chewy sweetness to the bread.

While nuts do contain oil, it’s usually the “good kind” of fat, and they also have lots of other benefits. I’ll list a few below.

Here is a summary of what’s good in this bread, along with my sources. I won’t list amounts, because it depends on how much you use, but it will give you an idea of what you’ll be feeding your family or guests!

Zucchini: manganese, Vit. C, and a very long list of others including some Omega 3!

Carrot: Vitamins A, K, C, fiber, potassium, B6

Applesauce: depends on what kind you use – but definitely more fruit, and NO FAT!

Eggs: Selenium, iodine, B2, protein, B12, phosphorus (the website gives
wonderful data on the benefits of eggs – I’m considering putting the other 2 eggs back into my recipe!)

Whole Wheat Flour: huge amounts of manganese, fiber, magnesium

Oat Bran: manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, protein

Flaxseed: The Omega 3 fatty acids are off the charts!! I add flaxseed to anything I can bake (since I don’t eat a lot of fish – the other great source). Be sure to use ground – the nutrition in whole seeds won’t get absorbed very well.

Dried Fruit: Nearly all dried fruits contain iron, and raisins also provide many other health benefits including American’s only source of boron!

Nuts: the following are popular nuts for baking breads – if you’re not a nut fan, try chopping finely or using ground nuts in place of some of your flour – you won’t taste them, and you’ll still gain the benefits!

Walnuts: Omega 3 (huge amounts), manganese, copper

Almonds: manganese, Vit. E, magnesium, monounsaturated fats (the good kind) which help reduce heart disease

Have fun feeding your family healthy, hearty, yummy Zucchini bread!!

Healthy Tasty Zucchini Bread

3 cups shredded zucchini/carrots (I use 1 zucchini and 2 carrots)
1 2/3 C. sugar
2/3 C. chunky applesauce
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
Egg replacer (2 eggs worth – see notes above)
3 C. whole grain flour (see notes)
2 t. baking soda
½ t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 ½ t. cinnamon
½ t. cloves
½ c. dried fruit
½ c. chopped nuts

OK – the basic recipe.
1. Mix together the zucchini, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, eggs.
2. In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients.
3. Mix all together, pour into a 9x5 loaf pan (or 2 smaller ones) bottoms greased and bake at 350 for roughly an hour.
4. You can also make 24+ muffins with this recipe. Fill cups ¾ full, bake for 15-20 minutes.

This bread tends to be dense – test using a wooden pick, then (personally) I give it 10 minutes more after it comes out clean (lower the temp to 325 or cover with foil if it's too brown already). I ALWAYS have a soft spot in the middle if I don’t!

And a note on muffins. I find that they cook through more easily, and if you don' t use papers, are so much cleaner to eat that I prefer to grab one of those on my way out the door! You don't have to get out a knife and cutting board, and since they're basically "all crust" you don't have crumbs falling everywhere (a big plus if you're jumping in the car!) - I almost always make this bread in muffin form, ever since I tried it the first time.

1 comment:

Abbie said...

Thanks for the healthy recipe!
I modified it a little bit to use fresh blueberries and raspberries. I posted it on my blog if you want to check it out!