August 26, 2013 Leave your thoughts
This is a seriously nutrient-packed bread, if there ever was one. You’ve got a massive dose of vitamin C from the moist zucchini, some healthy fats from the tender coconut flakes, and a good amount of potassium from the perfectly sweet raisins. Served warm with a scoop of coconut whipped cream or toasted with a swirl of nut butter, this zucchini bread is excellent for any occasion.
But where did my zucchini come from? Now, this is a special story.
I captured this beautiful butterfly at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, while I picked basket after basket of bright orange cherry tomatoes. The mid-morning sun warmed my back as smells of freshness and summer danced around in the air. Behind me were rows and rows of eggplants, cucumbers, and squashes, all at their peak ripeness.
In charge of this amazing place are Katie and Amanda, two women whom I have the utmost respect for. For five years now, they’ve been independently running Amber Waves Farm, spending day after day planting, picking, and packing. But they love what they’re doing. They always are upbeat and have smiles on their faces, even in the heat after waking up early. Together, they’ve created an incredible farm focused on learning about the healthiest, tastiest foods in the world: fruits and vegetables.
When I left the farm, I had at least three or four bags of fresh produce. I couldn’t decide what to take: everything looked just…AWESOME. There were big, fat eggplants and long, skinny eggplants. There were squashes as yellow as a daffodil and squashes in deep shades of green. There was okra, cucumbers, peppers in every color of the rainbow, tomatoes small as the tip of my pinky and nearly as large as my face…oh, and husk cherries.
What’s a husk cherry? They’re my and my mom’s new obsession. They’re neither a tomato nor a grape, nor really a tomatillo, either. They’re ready when—get this—they fall on the ground, and to harvest them, you’ve gotta get down on your knees and DIG! The result is so worth it, though: you peel back the husk, pop the pale yellow fruit into your mouth, and experience revelation. It’s crisp and the slightest bit juicy, but not watery at all. It has notes of nuttiness, like a hazelnut, a little sweetness, and just a touch of tart. I’ve never had anything like it.
Did I mention they have chickens there, too? And look at what they’re eating: REAL. FOOD. Do you see any soy? Do you see any mysterious brown pellets? No, they’re eating ZUCCHINI! Praise the schmaltz.
Speaking of zucchini, the ones from Amber Waves are pretty much the best zucchini I’ve EVER eaten. It’s so good I could eat it raw, which I’ve never been able to do with ones from the supermarket. I was planning on sharing a recipe for zucchini noodles with you guys, but after beholding the ugliness of my last attempt, I decided to make zucchini bread instead.
Good compromise, right? Right? Well, let’s get started.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cut out a piece of parchment paper to fit snugly on the bottom of a 9 x 5 loaf pan. With non-stick cooking spray or a paper towel with some coconut oil, heavily grease the pan. Breads, particularly gluten-free ones, love to get stuck to loaf pans, so it’s really important to take precautionary measures. (The first time I made gluten-free banana bread, my dad and I had to use about 5 different kitchen utensils to get it out.)
Using a hand grater or a food processor, grate 1 heaping cup of zucchini. Mine was really big, so I wound up just eating what I didn’t use. No biggie.
Once you have your zucchini measured out, scoop it up and put it into a large piece of cheesecloth or paper towel. Form it into a ball, twist the top, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Set aside until ready to use.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together 3 large eggs and 1/3 cup of coconut nectar, honey, OR maple syrup. When the liquids are homogeneous, add in 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Beat on medium until well-combined.
Time for dry ingredients! With the mixer off, pour in 1 1/2 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. You can also add up to 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and/or cloves, but my mom isn’t a fan of either, so I just left them out.
Mix everything together on medium-low until no clumps of almond flour remain, about two minutes. Scrape down the bowl once or twice, if necessary.
With a spatula, gently fold in the zucchini, 3/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, and 1/2 cup of raisins. You can also add in chocolate chips, nuts, or your favorite dried fruit for endless flavor combinations!
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake until golden brown on top and a knife comes out clean in the center, about 45 to 55 minutes. (My oven runs cool, so I always have to bake things longer.)
Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for at least an hour before removing and slicing.
Looking for other recipes that use zucchini? Here are some from around the internet that I want to try!
- Marinated Zucchini Noodles with Tomato Basil Sauce from This Rawsome Vegan Life
- Zucchini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod (this recipe isn’t gluten-free, but I want to make my own version)
- Zucchini and Cauliflower Curry from Veggie Belly
What is your favorite summer vegetable? Leave me a comment on Facebook and let me know!