whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts

whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.com

I’ve spent the entire summer upping my game in the zucchini bread department.

To say my loaf is perfect is subjective; my criteria was that it had to be different. 

I wanted whole grain flour and honey, and possibly a crunchy top that you could pick at while the loaf cooled.

And because I’ve been obsessed with walnuts for the past year, I specifically envisioned them as a textural adornment (fit for a squirrel!).

Did you know walnuts contain a good amount of omega 3’s? I snacked on walnuts every single day with Greek yogurt, blueberries, and honey while writing my cookbook. My body craved it.

So does this zucchini bread.

whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.com

Zucchini Facts

In my quest to find my perfect loaf, I re-discovered two important facts about zucchini:

1.) When zucchini is local, fresh, and in season it will contain a good amount of water. This can wreak havoc on your recipes. To combat this, most recipes require squeezing out any excess moisture to prevent sogginess. On the other hand, out of season or particularly large zucchini tend to be more dry.

However, because my zucchini bread is made with whole grain flour, I skip the squeezing step. Whole grain flours actually need the extra moisture (they absorb more liquid when compared to all purpose flour).

2.) Shredding zucchini with a box grater yields different results than shredding via the food processor; it’s more watery. You can feel the difference in your hands when you compare the two, which is what I did. I first discovered this while preparing this recipe.

One shredding method is not necessarily better than the other. It’s just something to keep in mind. You might have to make adjustments as needed, adding more flour and/or liquid to your recipe as you go.

I chose to shred my zucchini with a box grater this time.

whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.com

The Recipe

The rest is pretty straight forward:

I replaced all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour (see kitchen notes below) and threw in some quick oats for texture. Because quick oats are partially cooked, they will seamlessly absorb into the batter far better than thick old fashioned oats. No cardboard bread please!

For the sweetener, sugar was replaced with honey and for the spices, cinnamon, ginger and a dash of nutmeg join the party. Or in other words: everything in the spice cabinet that smells like fall.

Plump golden raisins and walnuts were folded into the batter and sprinkled over the top.

whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.comwhole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.comwhole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.com

This zucchini loaf is lightly sweet, subtly spiced and and full of soft and crunchy bits.

The whole grains happily benefit from the extra moisture in the zucchini, and it’s perfect to have lying around on the kitchen counter (I fall victim to the 4 PM snack attack, daily). For the kids, I cut the bread into cubes and tuck them into their lunch boxes. I guess it’s officially time to say goodbye to zucchini season…

What have you been baking lately? Ever become obsessed with perfecting a recipe?

Kitchen Notes:

  • Baked goods with honey will brown faster than those made with sugar. Keep an eye on your zucchini bread as it bakes. 
  • If you’re using in a glass 9×5-inch loaf pan, reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. This way, it won’t brown too quickly.
  • I use ‘white’ whole wheat flour. It’s more mild than traditional whole wheat flour and lighter in color. In my opinion, it tastes somewhere in between all purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
  • Walnuts can be pricey. Trader Joe’s carries walnut (and cashew) ‘pieces’ which are considerably cheaper (you’re going to chop them anyway). Check you local grocery store to see if this is an option for you.
  • And on that note, if you don’t like nuts and raisins simply leave them out. It will still taste good either way!

whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup quick oats (not instant or old fashioned)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger (don't worry if you don't have this- it's optional)
  • dash of nutmeg
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • 1 capful of pure vanilla extract
Mix Ins
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Topping
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
  2. Using a box grater, shred the zucchini. and set aside. Do not squeeze out the excess moisture.
  3. Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, add all of the wet ingredients. Whisk until fully blended.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Don't over mix- the bread will be tough!
  6. Gently fold the golden raisins and walnuts into the batter. Add the shredded zucchini, reserving a pinch or two to decorate the top of the loaf. Pour into your lined loaf pan.
  7. For the topping, scatter the rest of the raisins and walnuts over the top. Tuck them into the batter to prevent burning.
  8. Bake for about 40-60 minutes, checking at the 40 minute mark. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Cut into slices and enjoy!

whole grain zucchini bread with honey & walnuts | theclevercarrot.com

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I love zucchini bread. In fact, I just posted it yesterday. Now I want this loaf- with the wheat flour and oats and honey. I bet this would be perfect for coming fall days.

    • Emilie says

      Did you? That’s too funny. I’ll have to go check out your recipe ;) This loaf is hearty, crunchy, slightly dense (in a good way), perfect with a good cup of coffee. I would assume it would freeze well too, but we ate it all. x

  2. says

    I’m all about the extra nuts, the extra raisins, everything extra. I liked your zucchini notes, I didn’t realize that shredding in the FP or on the box grater yielded such varied results. Good to know!

    • Emilie says

      Yes, extra to everything. I like your style!

      At first, I thought my zucchini notes were definitely on the geeky side, but on second thought, thought it was necessary due to many failed loaves in the past. I never knew why my loaves were soggy one day and perfectly moist another day. It’s all about the zucchini freshness, how you shred it, what kind of flour your mixing it with etc. A freakin’ science, if you ask me! xx

    • Emilie says

      Thanks, Alice! I love you comment “It’s like a party on top of this zucchini bread…” I like how you roll girlfriend ;)

    • Emilie says

      Oh, I’m so happy you mentioned the raisins. I think they add a wonderful texture to this zucchini bread. And the golden raisins are not as intense as the dark ones so it’s a subtle and sweet touch. Plus, I had a bag in the back of cabinet that needed to be used up, so you know how that goes… x

      • Ruth K Watson says

        I and my husband by like anything crunchy and sweetened with dried fruit. Our son, on the other hand, does not. Would dates as an alternate to the raisins add extra moisture to the bread?

  3. says

    I love the little flecks of green on top of this bread. I often bake with zucchini but tend to incorporate it all into the batter so the top displays no evidence of its moist zucchini interior. I’m going to follow your lead next time! Thanks for the zucchini tips too, so good to know :)
    As for obsession with perfecting a recipe? That’s gotta be hummus. I make it SO often, but I’m always searching for ways to make it better! My current version is made with homemade infused lemon oil (just EVOO with lemon rind infused into it, so delicious) and topped with za’aatar.
    xx

      • Emilie says

        You know, I had some shredded zucchini leftover on my cutting board after it had been grated and I thought to myself, “What the heck, I’ll just throw it on top!” And so, that is the back story behind that ;)

        Now do tell me about your hummus- do you peel those pesky skins? I’ve done that once and vowed never to do it again. But, on the flip side, it does make for the most delicious and creamy hummus I’ve ever tasted. Your version with homemade lemon oil and za’aatar (why so many a’s? lol) sounds divine.

        • says

          Yes I do peel the skins (sigh!). I’ve finally decided, after a lot of on-and-off commitment to the process, that it does make the creamiest hummus. I’ve got it down to a pretty fine art now though. I tend to do it as one of those automated, brainless tasks whilst listening to music. Two bowls, a pile of chickpea skins, popping away whilst letting my mind wander! x

  4. Jennifer says

    I know what you mean trying to perfect a recipe or come up with new ideas. Love the crunchy goodness here and the addition of honey!

  5. says

    Looks perfect to me! I love your desire for a nibblable (just invented that word) top…that is key! I had never thought of it this way before, but the best loaves (whether banana, zucchini, pumpkin, or whatever) have crunchy bits on top that can be nibbled at. I guess we are two squirrels at heart. xo

    • Emilie says

      Love your new word. I do that all the time! It’s all about the crunchy bits! I mean, what else are you supposed to do while the loaves cools… stare at it?

  6. says

    I love the story. I do think Walnuts are the unsung hero of the nut world. I’m also impressed with your dedication to making a dish perfect I absolutely love doing that. And the idea of the nuts as a textural adornment is pretty spectacular. Can’t wait for your cookbook I’ll be your first sale

    • Emilie says

      I agree. The cashew has hogged the limelight for far too long! And thank you so much for your sweet words about my cookbook! I’m so glad we’ve been able to connect. Like minds xx

    • Emilie says

      I do the same thing. You could even use your same recipe and just add the topping, if you’d like! I’m sure it will taste fab either way. ☕️

    • Emilie says

      Thanks, Donna! It really is hot, isn’t it? We still have a ton of tomatoes (sun golds) in the garden and it just doesn’t feel right going pumpkin! Although, I did have a pumpkin muffin at Whole Foods today… if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

  7. says

    YES to “everything in your spice cabinet that smells like fall”, picking at the top of the bread as it cools, and obsessing over perfecting a single recipe. I love your writing and read it like you are sitting right in front of me every time. This sounds totally DEVINE and I loved your tid bits on different zucchini preparation methods and how to deal with the moisture too! Just overall a buncha love <3

    • Emilie says

      Ooo, good question. I have absolutely no idea. If your instruction manual contains some quick bread recipes, then I’d say yes. However, I’m not sure about the topping? I would look for a similar recipe in your book and take it from there. It can’t hurt! :)

    • Emilie says

      First of all, I love your blog name ;) So glad to know I’m not the only one who rushes through the cooling process! Thanks for stopping by, Kristy!

    • Emilie says

      Ha! Agreed! There’s something about picking at a crunchy baked topping, isn’t there? Do let me know if you give this a try! xx

  8. says

    Emilie… This zucchini cake looks amazing. I am drooling over here. :)
    I had no idea that zucchini shredded with grater would release more water compared to the one shredded with food processor. A great tip to keep in mind.
    Thanks for sharing. Sending you lots of hugs my friend..
    Cheers!

    • Emilie says

      Thank you dear friend! Oh yes, the two methods will yield different results. I stumbled upon this by accident, as I normally dislike using my box grater (I’m forever scarred by the tedious task of grating cheddar). It’s worth noting since baking with zucchini can be somewhat unpredictable due to its varied water content. Sending you lots of hugs too! xoxo

  9. vivian says

    Our CSA box has had lots of zucchini lately, and I love it, but wanted to do something different with it, but healthy. This recipe was just the ticket. Thanks so much for your delicious inspiration. Everyone loved. it.

  10. Sabrina says

    This sounds delicious! I am, however, currently looking for recipes that call for fresh pumpkin. Could this be done with pumpkin? If so, fresh grated, or already baked?

    • Emilie says

      Hi Sabrina! I’m sure you could tweak the recipe to suit pumpkin, but since I haven’t tested it myself, I’m unsure of the exact amounts. If you used grated, it might be an even swap, but fresh baked or canned would most likely would be different amounts. If you play around, please let me know! I’m curious myself :)

  11. Corinne says

    Made this recipe into muffins last night and omg they are delicious!!!!! Super moist and yummy. Looking forward to trying out more recipes!

  12. LeeAnn says

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! I have made it three times this past month! It was your beautiful picture of the bread that caught my attention!
    However, the first time was a flop! not squeezing the zucchini didn’t work well for me. There was too much moisture and it didn’t bake throughly. The second and third time I used a fine grater and squeezed the zucchini dry. The bread turned out very light and fluffy!

  13. Kelsey says

    Hi, I only have old fashioned rolled oats. Can I omit this from the recipe? What do I replace the oats with? Thanks!

    • Emilie says

      Hi there,

      I haven’t tested this recipe otherwise, but you can try using old fashioned oats or perhaps swapping oats for flour. In either case, if the batter is very thick, you might want to increase the liquid to compensate. Hope this helps!

  14. Amy Sons says

    The bread looks good! Can this recipe be changed to making muffins? Do I just need to adjust/reduce the time? Also, I just bought a container of old fashioned oats. What would happen if old fashioned oats were used instead of quick oats? Can I pre-cook the old fashioned to save from buying some? Thanks!

  15. Amy says

    Hi Emily! Besides asking about the oats and making the bread into muffins, I forgot to ask if it makes a difference to use 2 large eggs instead of 2 x-large eggs? Do I need to add more liquid of some-kind?

  16. Mixsie says

    Hi I made this for a recent bake sale at work thinking it would be a healthier alternative for some to all the chocolate muffins, this went off the trolley first and some came back for more! A great success I think thank you for sharing the recipe.

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