This Healthy Zucchini Bread recipe features an unusual ingredient that makes it incredibly moist - quinoa! It's easy to make, is just barely sweetened and uses olive oil to pair with the flavour of dark chocolate for an incredible healthy chocolate zucchini bread.
My parent's neighbour went on a big trip earlier this summer and asked us to take care of her garden while they were away. As she left she said, "Pick the zucchinis! Don't let them get too big!"
Can I tell you guys a secret? I *like* letting the zucchinis get all freaky big.
I mean, don't get me wrong, picking a zucchini at a perfect medium size is the thing you want to if you want to make Baked Zucchini Fries or if you wanted to spiralize that bad boy and make a Warm Zucchini Noodle Salad.
But those rogue zucchinis that become the size of small children before you notice them? Those are practically begging to be made into chocolate zucchini bread.
Today we're going to make healthy chocolate zucchini bread.
You know what makes it healthy? First up, there's a butt-load of zucchini in there. But then we're going to light some patchouli and put on pants made out of hemp and we're going to stir a bunch of quinoa right into this healthy zucchini bread.
Quinoa? In chocolate zucchini bread?!
Yup, we're going there. And trust me, you'll never look back. This is a deep, dark, chocolate zucchini loaf with a little extra hippy love from quinoa and you're going to dig it.
What do I need to make this healthy zucchini bread?
- Zucchini! --> Wait, did you see that one coming?
- Flour --> I like to use either all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe.
- 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, but you can use a different oil if you prefer.
- Brown sugar --> Just a little bit to sweeten things up.
- Vanilla extract --> Did you know you can make your own vanilla extract?
- Baking soda and baking powder --> leaveners in the hoooouse!
- Salt --> Just a smidge.
Sounds doable, right?
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.
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.
How do you make healthy 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 healthy zucchini bread recipe.
If you have more shredded zucchini than you need for this recipe, you can freeze it: How to Freeze Zucchini.
Step 2: In a large bowl mix the eggs, olive oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar.
Step 3: Place a mesh strainer over the bowl, and sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt directly over top of the wet ingredients.
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.
Step 4: 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!
Step 5: Bake your loaf! It'll take about an hour, so now is a good time to do the dishes, read a book, have a nap, or whatever you like.
Step 6: Enjoy your healthy zucchini loaf! I think it's great warm or at room temperature, and can never resist a slice when it's just out of the oven.
Tips for making healthy 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.
- Have extra zucchini on hand? Freeze it!
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.
Can I make vegan 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 gluten free zucchini bread?
Again, I'm sure you can, but I haven't tested it that way. Some readers have tried making this with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (like this one) and have had great results.
Can I freeze this healthy chocolate zucchini bread?
You sure can! You can either pop the whole loaf into a reusable freezer bag (I have these ones) or you can freeze slices separated by parchment paper.
I personally prefer to slice before I freeze, so that when I'm in the mood for some chocolate zucchini bread I can pull out just one slice.
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 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.
Other tasty loaves and muffins you might enjoy:
Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Quinoa
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup olive oil or other vegetable oil
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips divided
- Preheat oven to 350° F / 180°C. Prepare a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine 2 eggs, ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ cup olive oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
- Place a sifter over the wet ingredients, and add 1 cup all purpose flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Sift over the wet ingredients, careful to eliminate any lumps from the cocoa powder.
- Stir to combine the wet and dry ingredients, careful to not over mix.
- Stir in 1 ½ cups grated zucchini, ½ cup cooked quinoa, and ¾ cup of the chocolate chips, reserving some for topping.
- Distribute the batter into the prepared loaf tin, and scatter the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips on top.
- 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.
- Remove the zucchini bread from the oven, and cool on a wire rack before slicing.
- 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.
This recipe was originally published September 2, 2010. It was last updated August 16, 2019.
As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.