I am of the firm belief that the idea of zucchini is much better than the reality. That one can gently press a small seed, no bigger than a fingernail, an inch into the garden soil and get such a enormous, blossoming, fruiting vine is nothing but a small miracle. But after the first half-dozen or so, my eyes glaze over and I shudder at the thought of another month of zucchini everything, just to use it up.
It happens every year, this zucchini fatigue, and yet we persist in planting the seeds in our garden beds. Or at least I do. I know I’m not alone in this, because every August 8th, there is a holiday devoted to dumping your zucchini on your neighbor’s porch, anonymously and preferably in the dark of night.
So what do I do with my abundant harvest of this squash (and what can you do with the zucchini that could make an appearance on your porch sometime later this week)? I make ratatouille, I make a stir fry, I turn them into fritters, I shred it and put it into risotto (along with some blossoms), I thinly slice it and serve it raw dressed with only a light lemon vinaigrette, but best of all (at least for the kids) I make tender and spicy loaves of zucchini bread.
The last time I made it, the bread needed to be not only gluten-free, but dairy free, because it was a gift for a friend. A simple internet search landed me on the Gluten-Free Goddess’ site, and my recipe is adapted from hers. I used mini loaf pans and wrapped the breads in parchment paper tied together with bakers’ twine.
The bread is spicy, tender and studded with chunks of chopped walnut. It is fantastic toasted and spread with butter (or dairy-free butterish spread). And it freezes well too, but I doubt you’ll have any left over at all.
So what do you do with all of your zucchini?
These loaves are chock-full of shredded zucchini, chopped walnuts and spice. Thanks to the addition of coconut milk, they have a light and tender crumb (without any hint of coconut flavor). I like to have mine toasted for breakfast with my coffee, but add a little cream cheese frosting and it would make a perfect tea cake or dessert as well.
- 1 full cup of grated zucchini (from about 1 medium zucchini)
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour blend
- 1/4 cup almond flour (or finely ground almond meal) (OR substitute regular all-purpose gluten-free flour if you have a nut allergy)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend already has it)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or other light oil)
- 2 extra large eggs
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (or regular whole milk)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 mini loaf pans with gluten-free cooking spray (or one standard 9-inch loaf pan) and set aside.
- Place the shredded zucchini into some paper towels and gently squeeze out any moisture. Fluff the zucchini with a fork and set aside.
- Put the all-purpose gluten-free flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to blend. In another large bowl add the brown sugar, canola oil, eggs, coconut milk, lemon juice, vanilla and walnuts. Whisk thoroughly until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until combined. Fold in the grated zucchini (I always reserve just a little to sprinkle over the tops of the loaves) and the nuts.
- Divide evenly between the pans, sprinkle over the reserved zucchini and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully turn out to cool completely on a rack.