Zucchini, spice and everything nice, this Zucchini Carrot Bread is bound to become the new family favorite dessert! And the best part? Your kids will have no idea this drool-worthy dessert is loaded with veggies.
If you like carrot cake, then you’re going to love this decadent zucchini carrot bread. This healthy dessert recipe is made with grated carrots and zucchini, whole wheat flour, applesauce, brown sugar, olive oil, eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Not only is it beyond delicious and easy to make, but each serving is packed with way more nutrients than your family would ever believe after trying it.
I’m a sucker for good zucchini bread. It’s one of my favorite sweet treats to bake, especially during these colder months when we’re all looking for cozy dishes. But once in a while, the creative bug bites me and I start getting experimental! I wanted to make a version that sneakily incorporated even more veggies (if that was even possible).
And so this zucchini carrot bread was born. It makes for a delicious, moist loaf that’s loaded with sweet and indulgent flavor. I’ve definitely struck gold with this one because my family can’t seem to keep their paws off it! In fact, as I type this we’re well on our way to finishing our current loaf and I’m already looking forward to baking more batches.
What You’ll Need
To bring this zucchini carrot bread to life, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Flour: I love using whole wheat flour for the added nutrients, but regular all-purpose flour would work well too. For something in between, think about using white whole wheat flour.
- Zucchini: This nutrient-dense veggie works great in healthy dessert recipes like this one because it’s mild in flavor and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
- Carrots: Just like zucchini, there’s a reason carrots are used famously in desserts. The natural sweetness really comes out when paired with sweet flavors.
- Brown sugar: For a refined sugar-free dessert, you can swap this out for coconut sugar. You could also replace some of the sugar with mashed bananas or pure maple syrup or honey but the end result will be a moister bread.
- Applesauce: Call me biased but I love using my homemade applesauce for this recipe. It’s subtly sweet and has plenty of chunks of apples that are absolutely amazing to bite into when you take a bite out of your bread slice.
- Olive oil: This helps us achieve an extra soft and delicious loaf of bread that gets even better the next day. Canola oil, vegetable oil, and coconut oil would all work too if that’s what you have.
- Eggs: These act as binders in this recipe to hold all of the ingredients together.
- Nutmeg and cinnamon: No zucchini carrot bread is complete without the addition of these spices. These warm spices add tons of amazing flavor. Pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice would also work well.
- Baking soda and powder: You’ll need both to help the bread rise and get nice and fluffy.
- Salt: A small pinch of salt helps activate the leaving agents, balance out the sweetness, and enhance the flavors of the bread as a whole.
Here are some recipe tips and substitutions ideas to help you get the tastiest and freshest results:
- Swap out the applesauce. For some added sweetness and banana flavor, try swapping out the applesauce for mashed overripe bananas.
- Transform them into muffins. You can easily make this dish more grab-and-go ready by turning your zucchini bread into zucchini muffins. Just pour the mix into a greased muffin tin, then bake at 350°F for around 20 minutes. Voila! Delicious zucchini carrot muffins.
- Peel or no peel. Never peel your zucchini when you’re preparing zucchini bread. You’ll end up losing tons of nutrients and zucchini never needs to be peeled. Instead, just grate it by hand or in a food processor and add it to the batter.
- Let it cool. I know that it’s hard to resist slicing into that loaf the moment it comes out of the oven, but let it cool for a few minutes before you start cutting into it. Otherwise, you might end up with a loaf that crumbles apart.
- Get creative with add-ins. Raisins, nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and diced apples would all taste great mixed into the batter.
- Add a glaze. For a truly show-stopping dish, make a glaze to pour on top of your zucchini bread. Lemon glaze and cream cheese icing would both be amazing.
Zucchini Carrot Bread Recipe Variations
Although a slice of this bread is perfect by itself, there are plenty of ways to customize this recipe and make it your own. Use this recipe as the base and switch it up however you like! If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few fun ideas:
- You can easily make gluten-free zucchini carrot bread by swapping out the whole wheat flour by a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Not a fan of zucchini? Try doubling up on the carrots or replacing the applesauce with pumpkin puree to make up for the lost nutrients and ensure an equally delicious dish.
- Make a zucchini carrot nut bread by adding a handful of your favorite nuts for some healthy fats, nutty flavor, and a nice crunch. Walnuts, pecans, and almonds all make great choices.
- For a creamy and extra decadent treat, try slathering some nut butter onto your slice of bread before eating it. Almond butter, peanut butter, and sunflower butter all taste delicious with this dish.
Zucchini Bread Storage Tips
This bread is all sorts of delicious, but that’s not everything it brings to the table. It also freezes really well so whether you end up with leftovers or are planning to double the recipe (you go, Glenn Coco!), you won’t be disappointed.
The best way to store leftover zucchini bread is at room temperature. Once it’s cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it on the counter in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can store your zucchini bread in the fridge for up to a week, but the texture won’t be quite the same after it’s been refrigerated.
To store this dish for even longer, you can freeze zucchini bread for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, just transfer it to the fridge and let it thaw overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this zucchini carrot bread recipe:
Zucchini bread batter tends to be on the thicker side and therefore takes longer to cook. The center is always the last place to fully cook, which is why it might appear to be sinking. So, if your bread sinks in the middle, it means that it needs more time in the oven. Make sure to do the toothpick test to make sure it’s cooked through.
If you end up with bread that didn’t rise at all, you might want to check the freshness of the leavening agents. If they’re older than six months, chances are that they’re now inactive. If you’re unsure, you can toss a small amount of baking powder into some water and baking soda into some vinegar. If they bubble up immediately, then they’re good to go.
Nope! You never need to peel the zucchini for zucchini bread. Obviously you can if you want to, but I find that it’s pointless because you’re grating it into such small pieces that you don’t even notice the skin. Besides, the skin contains a lot of the nutrients that this veggie known for and you definitely want to keep those.
Zucchini Carrot Bread
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2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup zucchini, zucchini
1 cup carrots, grated
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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