If you’ve read about my pumpkin spice muffins, you’ll know I’m all about gluten-free and healthy recipes that taste like their non-healthy versions. I won’t skimp on flavor just to get in some health points; I want to enjoy what I’m eating. So, I decided to expand my healthy muffin recipes and create gluten-free zucchini bread, too—full of magical nutrition, of course. Bust mostly, I want flavor. I want YUM. This gluten-free zucchini bread (or muffins if you prefer) are no exception to my rule. They’re nearly a perfect breakfast food for us and we love them.
Zucchini offers incredible health benefits such as vitamins B6, C, and K; folate, fiber, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Still, I confess I never considered gluten-free zucchini muffins a viable breakfast option. I wrongly assumed I wouldn’t want a vegetable all mixed up in my morning; I saved them for my dinner plate. (I love being wrong sometimes!)
Healthy Flours for Healthy Breads and Muffins
I had to experiment a bit with gluten-free flours because I was tested as having “borderline” celiac disease, and I know I’m sensitive to gluten. I want to give my body every fighting chance it has to be as healthy as possible. As a result, I follow a gluten-free diet and take special care to find healthy recipes items that are specifically labeled gluten-free. People with celiac disease should absolutely and always use gluten-free flours, such as garbanzo/chickpea flour, almond flour, coconut flour, and many of the other alternatives out there (afflinks). And that said, presuming you don’t have celiac disease, you could certainly use standard wheat flour in this recipe if that’s your preference.
What This Recipe Doesn’t Have
- It’s free of refined or white sugars
- There’s no vanilla extract (not a health issue, but better for the planet to avoid it)
Ingredients for Gluten Free Zucchini Bread or Muffins
Prep time is about 10 minutes.
- 2 eggs (OR flax or chia “eggs”—both work for a vegan option or for allergy purposes!)
- 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses. (Maple syrup would work if you like your gluten-free zucchini bread or muffins sweeter, as would honey—although honey loses its health benefits when baked. If you use molasses, the muffins or loaves of zucchini bread will turn out darker. That’s perfectly fine.)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup milk or dairy-free alternative (We use hemp milk, almond milk, or oat milk.)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups gluten free flour (I use this brand when I make these at home, although the
garbanzo flour I mentioned above would work well, as would a garbanzo/fava mixture.)
- 1 very large zucchini chopped in a food processor. When you’re shopping, note that zucchini is different from summer squash.
Optional: Substitute pumpkin spice for cinnamon and nutmeg. Just use the same quantity as the recipe calls for. if you don’t want to add the nutmeg and cinnamon separately or want a slightly different flavor in your loaves, you can substitute pumpkin pie spice. Just use the same quantity as the recipe calls for, for the others.
Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread, Optional Add-Ins to Make This Healthy Recipe Even Healthier:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Walnuts or other mix-ins (even dark chocolate chips, blueberries, raisins, or coconut flakes!)
- If I’m using chia, flax, or hemp seeds, I use no more than about a teaspoon. See how you tolerate them. If you’re using flax or chia “eggs” instead of chicken eggs, I wouldn’t recommend adding more as a mix-in. However, adding a mix-in with vitamin C is good idea for a healthy recipe. Adding the vitamin C from the blueberries to the loaves would help you absorb the iron that’s in them, especially if you follow a plant-based diet!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients—eggs, molasses, olive oil, and milk—in one mixing bowl.
- In a second bowl, thoroughly mix together the nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and gluten-free flour (or wheat-based flour if you prefer).
- Use a spoon to mix your chopped zucchini into your wet ingredients.
- Combine the contents of both bowls and mix them together. It’ll be lumpy. That’s good. If you’re adding mix-ins, add them now.
- Spoon your batter into baking cups of your muffin pan or directly into your loaf pan. Although I use a nonstick silicone muffin pan, which is great for preventing messes, I still used baking cups for this recipe. These won’t rise much while baking so you can fill them pretty full.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes for muffins or 60 minutes for bread. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Both the muffins and gluten-free zucchini bread firm up a little while cooling. You can cool the bread in the loaf pan and the muffins on a wire rack.
Yield: One loaf of gluten-free zucchini bread or 12-16 healthy muffins
Once they’re cool, some people like to add a vegan or greek yogurt to the top for some extra health benefits for their gluten-free zucchini bread. My daughter calls it “frosting,” so it’s a win.
I haven’t experimented with mini-muffins since I use a regular-sized muffin tin; the one I use bakes 12 muffins at a time. I needed two muffin tins since I had enough batter for about four extra gluten-free zucchini muffins beyond the 12 my first pan would allow.
It works as a bread or as muffins. A healthy recipe like this can come in all shapes and sizes—we’ve even baked loaves in a heart-shaped baking dish!
Leave a reply below. We hope you love them!
Sarah R. Moore is an internationally published writer and the founder of Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family. Her glass is half full.