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.
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.
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.
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?
- 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: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 55 mins
- Yield: 1 loaf
- 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup quick oats (not instant or old fashioned)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (don’t worry if you don’t have this- it’s optional)
- dash of nutmeg
- 2 extra large eggs
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 capful of pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp golden raisins
- 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Using a box grater, shred the zucchini. and set aside. Do not squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Add all of the dry ingredients to a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add all of the wet ingredients. Whisk until fully blended.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Don’t over mix- the bread will be tough!
- 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.
- For the topping, scatter the rest of the raisins and walnuts over the top. Tuck them into the batter to prevent burning.
- Bake for about 40-60 minutes, checking at the 40 minute mark. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Cut into slices and enjoy!
I’ve made it yesterday and it came out terrible.. way to wet, burned. But I decided I won’t give up and I tried again today. I added a little bit more flour and drained the zucchini (also switched honey for brown sugar) andddd it came out perfect so moist yet fluffy! Definitely will be making it again it’s such a cosy harvest recipe :)
Emilie Raffa says
Sandra, thanks so much for your feedback. And glad you gave it another go! Enjoy xx
Judy Wood says
This recipe looks amazing! I wondered if you have any info about calories and nutrition breakdown. I just started on a diet and am trying to be faithful to it.Judy
I would also like this info if it’s available!
Emilie Raffa says
Hi there! Thank you! Unfortunately, I don’t have the info handy at the moment.
I’d love to try this….I have bags of grated zucchini in my freezer to use soon, before this year’s crop arrives! They are very, very soggy when defrosted though, so will need to fiddle with proportions to get a good loaf. But the pre-grated frozen zucchini is easy to drain and a great way to save it to use later….we made the mistake of planting 2 zucchini plants last year, and NOBODY needs more than one!! Thanks for some great recipes, looking forward to giving this one a try now….
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.
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?
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!
Hi, I only have old fashioned rolled oats. Can I omit this from the recipe? What do I replace the oats with? Thanks!
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!
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!
Made this recipe into muffins last night and omg they are delicious!!!!! Super moist and yummy. Looking forward to trying out more recipes!
Hi Corinne! That’s wonderful! Thanks so much for your feedback :)
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?
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 :)
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.
Hello Nina! I hope you like it! And you are quite welcome; you know I find your work very inspiring as well. xx
I can imagine how good this tastes. I mostly use honey in baking too, will try your recipe soon. Thanks for the inspiration :D
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..
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
I dont’ think that knobbly, delicious topping will last until the first slice. Thank you Emilie, I love all those good for you ingredients. My zucchini are waiting……..
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
Kristy (Queen of Bad Timing) says
With a top like that I’d be so tempted to pick at it as it cools after baking! I love a great, wholesome loaf like this :)
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!
Sophie | The Green Life says
This loaf is perfect!! I love the fall flavours you’ve put in there. And that soft and crunchy walnut-raisin topping sounds delicious! <3
Pam Green says
Do you think this could be made in a bread-maker machine? I just made some milk and honey bread last week that was super yummy but not very healthy ha!
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! :)
Elaine @ foodbod says
Lovely loaf, Emilie and very useful tips and details :)
Cheers, Elaine thank you! xx
Jessie Snyder | Faring Well 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
Thank you so much, Jessie! xoxo
Donna Castellano says
This bread has my name all over it! Going to make it this weekend… a nice transition into fall, since it’s still just too hot to move on to pumpkin bread :)
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!
Maria | Pink Patisserie says
I’ve been making the same loaf of zucchini bread for the last 3 years and I am so ready for a change.. This looks like the perfect recipe for me to bust out of my slump with. :) That topping!
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. ☕️
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
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
Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist 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
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?
What a gorgeous recipe! I’m loving this honey walnut idea and would take a zucchini loaf any day. I want the whole dang thing for breakfast!
Thank you Julia! I’ve been known to nibble on this for breakfast… ☕️
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!
all those ingredients are making my mouth water, another great recipe which I’m sure will become a favorite of mine. Thank you xoxo
Thank you sweet Bev!
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.
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.
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
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Such a perfect loaf, love the whole grains and that pretty topping!
Thank you, Laura! You’re so sweet!
Kalee @ The Crowded Table says
This looks beautiful AND delicious! Love the idea to add raisins :)
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?
Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says
Emilie, I LOVE baking with zucchini! the whole grain flour and honey and the crunchy top . . it’s like a party on top of this zucchini bread! I love this. . and love the tips and facts!
Thanks, Alice! I love you comment “It’s like a party on top of this zucchini bread…” I like how you roll girlfriend ;)
Heidi @foodiecrush 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!
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
Sarah | Well and Full says
If home could be a bread, this would be it. Cozy, warm, and welcoming :)
Ah, I love this! You are too sweet. Thank you so much, Sarah! xx
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.
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
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says
I love how jam packed with stuff this bread is! So tasty!
Thanks, Katrina! I do love anything baked with a crunchy top. The more the merrier, in my opinion! xx