Friday, September 17, 2010

Banana Zucchini Bread

Banana zucchini bread, fresh from the oven and cooling on the stove top burner grates.

When I was a kid, we had a small vegetable garden. Nothing elaborate, just some tomatoes, erratically growing sunflowers (with seeds we never ate), and most memorably, zucchini.

 One average sized grocery store zucchini yields about 1 cup when grated.

The zucchini would go unharvested until the squash dramatically presented itself, overshadowing and crushing the leafy vines from whence it came. These deep green behemoths would be piled on the worn surface of the kitchen table, only to be grated down into a soggy pile and integrated into a batter that would become zucchini bread.

All-purpose flour, oats, and ground flax seed.

I had no idea of what else people did with zucchini well into my teens. It certainly didn't show up in savory dishes at home, but during those summer days when my mom could be found buttering slices of zucchini bread any time between sunrise and sunset, I couldn't have cared less.

Banana Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Heather Duncan at

Yields one loaf

1  whole egg
1  egg white

1  T olive oil
1/4 C  plain yogurt
1/2 C  packed brown sugar
1 C  grated zucchini
1  banana, mashed
1 tsp  vanilla

1 1/4 C  all purpose flour
1/4 C  oats
2 T  ground flax seed
1/2 T  ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp  salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp  baking soda

1/2 C  walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (165C) and grease and flour a loaf tin.
  2. Beat egg and egg white to break up the membranes.
  3. Add the oil, yogurt, sugar, zucchini, banana, and vanilla and mix until homogenous.
  4. Add the flour, oats, flax seed, spices, and leavening agents and mix until homogenous.
  5. Fold in the walnuts.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake about 60 minutes (most recipes call for 40-60 minutes, mine took about 75 minutes, so do the toothpick test, though this isn't entirely reliable here).
  7. Cool 45 minutes in the pan on a rack before unmolding and slicing.
  8. Enjoy!
Banana Zucchini Bread Reflections

 Slicing the banana zucchini bread reveals walnuts, stark white oats, and traces of green zucchini skin.

I played around with this recipe a lot and I would be lying if I said it was absolutely perfect. I could kick myself every time I go to bake and I don't have any whole wheat flour on hand. I added oats and ground flax seed to boost the fiber, reduced the sugar and oil, added yogurt to keep it moist, doubled the walnuts, and added more spices. All things considered, this is definitely a healthier version of the original.

The bread was oddly moist coming out of the oven at 75 minutes. I figured I'd let it rest the 20 suggested minutes and then try to slice it, but a pre-cooling test (which burned my fingers... oooh patience) hinted at the bread still not being cooked through all the way.

A good hour later (the bread still retaining some heat), I sliced it with my trusty bread knife. Zucchini bread is a mighty soft thing, and I'm sure sans nuts it could be tackled with a butter knife, but a sturdy, serrated knife was required in its thoroughly walnutted state.

Surprise! It was actually baked through. Another surprise: It was a tiny bit chewy, like over-done oatmeal (I like mine half-cooked with a splash of cold milk). And another surprise: Mildly sweet and not overbearing as the batter tasting suggested. No surprise: It's nothing like my mom's.

In the future, I would forgo the oatmeal and go straight for the all-purpose and wheat flours mix. I might add a tiny bit more sugar if I wanted something closer to home. All in all, it was a decent effort with decent results and something I'm not ashamed of. Still, I'll have to remember to ask my mom for that recipe soon and turn a blind eye to the amount of oil and sugar that pour on in because I just can't beat those summer memories.


  1. It is amazing how sweet breads contain so little of the main ingredient (banana, zucchini, etc.) and how much oil!

  2. I know! That's why I tinkered with this recipe so much. Over tinkering aside, I think it's a valiant effort when one attempts to make a dish that is healthy AND tasty.

  3. I love everything about banana-zucchini bread, and I'd want to try the one with oatmeal myself, before thinking of taking it out. it sounds insanely tasty.

  4. Justin,

    Did you try the recipe? Let me know how it went for you! I'm currently enjoying every pastry I can get my hands on in Munich. I can't wait to bring back some kirschwasser and make some amazing cakes.

    X M