Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa

This Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe features an unusual ingredient that makes it incredibly moist – quinoa! It’s easy to make, packed with dark chocolate, and is a healthy spin on chocolate chip zucchini bread. 

A loaf of double chocolate zucchini bread on a marble cutting board with a small pot of zucchini and a green tea towel

Back in 2010, in the early days of this food blog, I posted a recipe for double chocolate zucchini bread with quinoa. Then it sat waaaaaaay back in the archives, sitting in a sad, dusty corner of the internet where old recipes go to die. This summer I decided to give the loaf a little love, and when I made the recipe you know what happened?

It didn’t turn out.

And not only did the loaf not turn out, but when I took out my camera do take some process shots, I discovered that my 50mm lens (that is, the lens I use to take 99.9% of all food photos) had cracked in half in transit from Stockholm to Vancouver. So there I was with sad, crappy zucchini loaf and a broken lens, with nothing to do but go back to the drawing board.

Not to worry.

I bought a new lens, and I re-made and re-tested the zucchini bread recipe approximately one million* times until I got it juuuuust right. So here we are today and I hope you’re all ready to make a killer healthy chocolate zucchini bread recipe!

*Actual number is more like three.

flour, oil, zucchini, sugar, cocoa, quinoa, chocolate, vanilla, and eggs on a grey background

Errr, why is there quinoa in this chocolate zucchini bread recipe?

Great question. There’s quinoa up in here because I’m wild and crazy and like to do insane things like bake with quinoa.

Also because it adds moisture, protein, and a little je ne sais quoi to the recipe without making it taste weird and hippyish, if you know what I mean.

And because there was quinoa in the original recipe, and I felt compelled to leave it in. But, I mean, why not? We add oats to recipes all the time and that’s totally normal, so let’s expand our cooking with grains* horizons, shall we?

*Yes, I’m aware that quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain.

What do I need to make this chocolate chip zucchini bread?

  • Yer gonna need zucchini!
  • Flour – we’re going all-purpose this time
  • Cocoa – because chocolate
  • Chocolate chunks – because double chocolate
  • Quinoa – yep, we’re going there!
  • Eggs – to bind this loaf together
  • Olive oil – I like the grassy flavour of olive oil with zucchini
  • Brown sugar – but not too much

Sounds doable, right?

collage of the process of making double chocolate zucchini bread in one bowl

How do you make double chocolate zucchini bread?

Friends, here’s something important you should know about me: I’m an incredibly lazy baker. Don’t get me wrong, I like to bake, and I respect the science of baking, but I don’t like fussy and un-necessary extra steps. Who has time for that kind of nonsense?

With that in mind, I’ve master-minded a one-bowl technique for making this chocolate zucchini bread recipe.

I mix all of the wet stuff together in the bowl, then I sift the dry ingredients over top. I’m not really prone to sifting stuff most of the time (see: lazy baker) but when cocoa is in the mix I really must insist you do. That stuff is lump city.

Once you’ve mixed the sifted dry ingredients into the wet, then you can fold in the chunky stuff. we’re talking zucchini, quinoa, and chocolate chunks. But reserve some of the chocolate to sprinkle over the top of the loaf; it’ll make you look fancy!

un-baked double chocolate zucchini loaf

Tips for making double chocolate zucchini bread

  • Ok folks, this is super important: we’re starting with cooked and cooled quinoa. Not raw, crunchy quinoa. Leftover cooked quinoa is great!
  • Do yourselves and your loaf a favour, and line the tin with parchment paper. Everyone will be happier this way.
  • Can I use chocolate chips instead of chunks? You may. I live in a sad, chipless land, so I am forced to chop up a bar of chocolate when I want to bake with it. But if you’ve got chocolate chips on the ready, get ’em in there!
  • Can I make vegan chocolate zucchini bread? Surely you can. I haven’t tested this recipe without using eggs, but that’s the only non-vegan ingredient that would need replacing. If anyone tests it out using an egg replacer, please let us know in the comments below!
  • Can I make this chocolate chip zucchini bread gluten-free? Again, I’m sure you can, but I haven’t tested it that way so I can’t answer with any kind of authority. Useless, I know!
  • How do I know when my zucchini bread is finished baking? I like the good old knife-inserted-in-the-middle-of-the-loaf technique to check for doneness. You may hit a chocolate chunk and get a smear of chocolate on your knife, and that’s ok. What we’re looking for is only a few crumbs of actual loaf clinging to the knife.

double chocolate zucchini loaf in a parchment-lined tin

Hey Nutrition Lady, is this healthy chocolate zucchini bread?

Every time this Nutrition Lady turns up anywhere with a baked good, that’s the inevitable question. Is this healthy?! C’mon Nutrition Lady, you made me a healthy cake, right?

Usually not. I have too much respect for cake.

So when it comes to this particular recipe, are we gonna tag it with a big ol’ H for healthy? Well, kinda? I mean, it’s got a crap-ton of zucchini stuffed in there, plus quinoa (just ask the internet hippies, that shit is mega healthy), olive oil, not that much sugar, and everyone knows that dark chocolate is super healthy, right? Right.

It’s also definitely calorie dense, packed full of carbs, and has a good amount of chocolate mixed in. So, is it or isn’t it?!

While I’d hesitate to refer to something called Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread as a health food, I also don’t believe in bogus food labels like “health food” or “clean” or whatever the kids are going with these days. I tend to consider anything that’s homemade, made with love, and made with real food ingredients to be healthy.

So you can tell the people who ask that the Nutrition Lady says this is a very fine chocolate zucchini loaf indeed, and leave it at that. It’s definitely better than your average zucchini loaf, and the specifics are down in the nutrition label if you really want to know.

a sliced loaf of double chocolate zucchini bread in on a marble cutting board

Other tasty loaves and muffins you might enjoy:

Coco Cocoa Banana Bread
Healthy Cherry Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Orange Earl Grey Muffins

overhead photo of double chocolate zucchini bread on a marble cutting board with a small pot of shredded zucchini and chocolate to the side
4.67 from 3 votes
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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa

This Double Chocolate Zucchini Loaf features an unusual ingredient: quinoa! Deeply chocolately, super moist and delicious, and tipping over to the healthy side of things, I know you'll love this loaf as much as I do. 

Course snacks
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 391 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F / 180°C. Prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir to combine. 

  3. Place a sifter over the wet ingredients, and add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift over the wet ingredients, careful to eliminate any lumps from the cocoa powder.

  4. Stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients, careful to not over mix. 

  5. Stir in the zucchini, quinoa, and 3/4 of the chocolate chips, reserving some for topping. 

  6. Distribute the batter into the prepared loaf tin, and scatter the remaining chocolate chips on top. 

  7. Bake for 50 - 60 min, rotating the pan half way though. A cake tester (toothpick, sharp knife) should come out mostly clean when the loaf is done, and the top should be firm. 

  8. Remove the zucchini bread from the oven, and cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Recipe Notes

  • Leftover zucchini loaf can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Nutrition values are an estimate only. 
Nutrition Facts
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 391 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 265mg 11%
Potassium 277mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 28g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 3.3%
Vitamin C 5.2%
Calcium 8.7%
Iron 13.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe was originally published September 2, 2010. It was retested, rephotographed, and updated on August 24, 2018.

overhead photo of double chocolate zucchini bread on a marble cutting board with a small pot of shredded zucchini and chocolate to the side

 

 

 

This Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe features an unusual ingredient that makes it incredibly moist - quinoa! It's easy to make, packed with dark chocolate, and is a healthy spin on chocolate chip zucchini bread. #recipe #chocolate #zucchini #zucchinibread #doublechocolate #baked #baking #easy #healthy #loaf #bread #dessert


 

Comments

  1. FYI to get 3 cups of grated zucchini you need ~ 3 average sized zucchinis or ~630g. I’m adapting this recipe for a thermomix, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • Beautiful! Have been looking for a way to get healthy grains and greens into my 3 yr old and I’ve found it! I’ve already eaten 3 and they’ve only been out of the oven 10 minutes! Thanks!

  2. I cooked the quinoa in the machine, and then grated the zucchini in it, then mixed the mixture together in it! It’s fab!

  3. Mmmmm! Thanks! I love to find quinoa recipes that use the whole quinoa instead of flour. The flour is pricey and more processed.
    I cooked the quinoa with 2x water as you suggested, and it still has some crunchy bits on the sides. I don’t know if it will last to soften overnight! The batter was amazing tasting, too. The quantity of batter was impressive and I had to move to a bigger bowl than usual, but the loaves turned out medium sized.
    I didn’t have chocolate chips, and they would have been good.
    I have loads of zucchini, and used 4 cups instead of 3, and that worked fine.
    I also doubled the salt, and like it. I wonder how Sucanat or another natural sweetener would work.
    My food process grated the zucchini into 2 inch long strands, but it still came out fine.
    What a wonderful, versatile recipe!

    • I think some crunchy quinoa on the sides is unavoidable due to the heat of baking. I’m not sure about natural sweeteners because I haven’t tried any with this recipe, but if you try it out please let us know how it goes!

  4. Can this recipe be used with brown rice flour or other gluten free alternative?

    I’ve recently discovered your website and there’s so many amazing recipes, thank you!!

    • I’ve never tried it with a gluten-free flour so can’t say with any confidence how it would work out. If you were to try it out I’d recommend a gluten-free blend intended to replace all purpose flour. Let us know how it turns out!

  5. Hi Katie: Wyatt and Sarah are up for the weekend – the chocolate quinoa loaf was all thumbs up!!! As I got the zucchini from my garden I am going to make a few loaves and put them in the freezer – of course I need to ask your mum if I can borrow her loaf pan again – ha ha! I will need to buy one because of this recipe!!!

  6. Made this yesterday and it is so good and very dangerous because I’m trying to convince myself that it is healthy so I’m definitely eating more than I should.

  7. I just made this revisor a few days ago using gluten-free flour (Lailas blue mix) and it turned out really well – both husband- and toddler approved! However, the olive oil taste came through a bit strong (could be my particular brand of olive oil), so yesterday I added about 5-6 small, grated apples (ca 2-3 medium-sized apples) + ca 1/4 cup more cocoa to the mix. The result was slightly sweeter, with a ”rounder”, more chocolatey aftertaste, very sense and moist (like a brownie). Super excellent recipe, and much healthier than my earlier choco-zucchini cake favorite.

    • Thanks for the gluten-free update! And yes, I find that olive oil can taste much more or less olivey from brand to brand. I really enjoy the flavour of olive oil with chocolate, but it’s not for everyone, so perhaps you’d enjoy this more with a more neutral flavoured oil or melted butter instead. Adding apples is a great idea as well. I also have a chocolate olive oil zucchini cupcake recipe in the archives which is much sweeter than this one, but again with the olive oil!

Trackbacks

  1. […] you’re after. Or you can cook up a big pot of quinoa with multiple uses in mind (how about this chocolate zucchini loaf?) and turn individual portions into porridge as you go. Again, a simple re-heat (stove top and […]

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