Hello Summer Beauties,
Summer is sadly closing in on us (where did the time go?) but my garden had a hot moment. Consequently, my kitchen is stocked to the brim with zucchini and summer squash! These suckers have been growing like weeds. The only difference is I’m welcoming all the veggies (dear weeds, you can stay away). Sautéed squash, roasted squash, grilled squash, squash with eggs, squash in pasta. All the squash with all the meals. Surprisingly, I’m not tired of it yet. Especially since most of the zucchini is going towards beloved zucchini bread.
Preserving is the name of the game if you want to enjoy your garden’s bounty throughout the year. You work so hard that your efforts should extend for as long as they can. Squash is a special child that holds a great amount of water, which you probably already knew if you’re a seasoned zucchini-bread baker like yours truly. I proudly guestimate that I have a couple hundred loafs under my belt, which are contributed to my obsession with growing zucchini every summer. My favorite method of preserving surplus squash, whether it be yellow squash (summer, straight- or crooked-neck) or zucchini, is to freeze.
How to Preserve?
Freezing surplus squash is my go to preserving method. Just wash, dice and toss in a freezer safe bag. Place the diced squash in flat, single layer so the pieces freeze without clumping together. It may be necessary to lay this on a cooking sheet and then place in the freezer, depending on the way your freezer layout is. After the first layer freezes you can add more to the bag, just follow the same process. Blanching is optional in my experience.
OK, it’s frozen.. Now what?
Smoothies – I like to toss frozen zucchini into my smoothies to thicken them in place of ice. It is virtually tasteless and adds a serving of Vitamin C. Plus, it doubles as chemical-free food dye if you’re using for a mint-chip smoothie #doublewin
Stirfry – Add frozen chunks of squash to any stirfry recipe. To account for it’s frozen nature and water content, start your sauté with 1-2 TB of your preferred cooking oil and the frozen veggies until they are thawed, then continue your recipe as normal. I have learned from experience that adding too many frozen veggies at the end of the stirfry process can make the dish mushy.
Casseroles – Frozen squash can be added to a variety of different casseroles. Heed warning – keep in mind the water content. Use less liquid in the casserole to account for the water that will be pulled out of the squash as the casserole cooks. This may mean reducing the amount of broth, creamy cheeses or tomato juice in the recipe. Alternatively, you may balance the water by adding something that will absorb it (I like Nutritional Yeast for this).
Didn’t You Promise a Bread Recipe?
Yes, yes I did! Let’s get to the good stuff. As I mentioned before, I have made my fair share of zucchini bread. I love using zucchini in sweet treat recipes because it’s so versatile, it adds a lot of moisture and doesn’t have a distinct taste that you have to mask for the dessert to taste, well, like a dessert! What I did not love so much about zucchini-based treats is the pain involved with using my hand grater to come up with a couple cups worth of grated veggies. If you follow me on insta you know that I have been obsessing over spiralized zucchini for my Asian chicken bowls. One night I was in the mood to bake and I happened to see a container of zoodles (spiralized zucchini, for any newbies) I had prepped in the fridge the day before. It begged the question, if I can bake with grated zucchini then why can’t I bake spiralized zucchini (because spiralizing is so much easier IMO)!? This bread is the product of my revelation and desire for a chocolatey treat that has an added source of protein, fruits and veggies.
Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Greens
- 2 cups spiralized or grated zucchini, with excess water soaked in a paper towel
- 2 scoops Amazing Grass Green Superdrink – Cacao Chocolate Infusion
- 2 scoops Further Foods Collagen
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1.25 cup fine almond flour**
- 1/4 cup + 2TB cacao powder
- ¼ cup softened coconut oil
- 1/3 cup creamy almond butter
- 2 eggs, room temperature (set on the counter prior to cutting your zucchini)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- a pinch of sea salt
- Optional: 1/3 cup dark chocolate morsels or 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
** Not using chocolate greens and collagen? Just add ¼ cup almond flour to equal 1.5 cups total flour in the recipe to make up for the dry ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep your bread pan with spray oil, butter, or parchment paper. Set 2 eggs on the counter if you haven’t done so already. They tend to bind better when they have a chance to get to room temperature prior to incorporating them into a recipe (unless you’re making scones or a pastry). Go ahead and measure out your coconut oil as well. Wash and prep your 2 cups of zucchini either with a spiralizer or a grater and drain excess liquid using a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together all dry ingredients except for the optional chocolate morsels or walnut pieces. In a separate large bowl, mix together all wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients into the larger bowl and stir well to blend. Slowly add the zucchini, folding it into the batter. The batter will seem really thick to start but give it a couple stirs, then wait for a minute and you will notice the zucchini gives off some moisture making it easier to finish folding it in. Once evenly incorporated, carefully transfer the batter to the bread pan. Sprinkle your chocolate or walnut on top, either leave them on the top and pat them down with a spatula – or you can gently mix them into the batter now.
Bake for about 40 minutes before checking with a toothpick to see if the center is cooked through. This bread can go from done to overdone in a very short amount of time. So, if it is not cooked through at 40 minutes then check back every 3 minutes. As always, if the toothpick test passes and the rest of the bread seems close but not quite ready, I will turn the oven off but continue cooking. Or, take the bread out and let it continue cooking a little in the pan on the counter. Overcook? Take the bread from the loaf and cool on a bakers rack away from your heat source.
Makes 8 slices. I like to store in the fridge to keep it nice and slightly fudgey. You can also freeze slices for later.
Brands provided for your pantry-stocking convenience! I only recommend brands that I like and use to stock my very own pantry. #notsponsored