Lightly sweetened with maple syrup or brown sugar and with a hint of lemon and cinnamon, this healthier gluten free zucchini bread is packed with oat flour and two cups of zucchini! Use the zucchini juice too, for a moist and flavorful easy zucchini bread recipe! vegetarian + dairy free | Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill! Thank you for supporting brands that keep Vanilla And Bean cookin’!
Discovering Oat Flour
Last year I discovered oat flour while on a gluten free trial. Although I’m eating gluten again, I’ve come to appreciate oat flour, its texture and flavor, especially in muffins and quick breads. Not to mention it’s usually breakfast when I’m enjoying these types of breads, so why not start the day with a healthier quick bread option? Zucchini bread makes a fabulous afternoon snack too!
This zucchini bread recipe is made in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. Y’all know I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill pantry staples because it’s a brand I trust for high quality ingredients to fuel my family’s lifestyle. Bob’s Red Mill ingredients are accessible and offers a wide array of gluten free options too if needed.
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats and Almond Flour are a fabulous duo in gluten free baking. Together they lend a tender crumb and earthy notes in my healthier quick bread recipes. Oats are naturally gluten free, but to ensure that these oats maintain their gluten free integrity, Bob’s Red Mill handles them with care in their dedicated gluten free facility and batch tests to ensure gluten free status.
Ingredients for This Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe
This recipe calls for oat flour which you can easily DIY at home. It’s more economical too. I have a How to Make Oat Flour post if needed. Here’s what you’ll need for the recipe:
- Coconut Oil
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Zest
- Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
- Gluten Free Oat Flour – DIY tutorial here
- Almond Flour
- Tapioca Flour
- Baking Soda and Powder
- Zucchini – TWO cups shredded y’all!
- Walnuts – optional
How to Make Moist Healthy Zucchini Bread
This gluten free zucchini bread recipe is super simple to make and comes together in one bowl. It’s lightly sweetened with brown sugar or for the healthiest version, sub in maple syrup. Both versions are fabulous! No need to squeeze out the zucchini juice, either! Just add it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. I prefer to use a food processor to finely shred the zucchini, but a box grater can be used as well. Start with room temperature ingredients. Here’s how to make healthier zucchini bread:
- First, in a large bowl, whisk the wet ingredients: eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest, maple syrup or brown sugar.
- Second, add the dry ingredients: oat flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, and salt. Whisk until there are no dry patches left. If using brown sugar (as pictured in the process shot above) the batter will be very thick. If using maple syrup, the batter will be thin. Set aside while the oven preheats.
- Third, preheat the oven to 350F. Place the walnuts into the oven while it’s preheating so they can toast.
- Next, while the oven is preheating, shred or grate zucchini using the fine grater in a food processor or use a box grater, retaining the zucchini juice. Grease your loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and clip the edges so they stay in place.
- Last, once the oven is preheated, fold the walnuts and zucchini into the batter until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for a little over an hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
How Long Should Gluten Free Zucchini Bread Cool Before Removing it From the Pan?
Cool this moist zucchini bread for ten minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then remove the zucchini bread from the pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Be sure to allow the zucchini bread to cool completely before cutting into it – a practice in patience!
How Long Can Zucchini Bread Set Out at Room Temperature?
Gluten Free Zucchini Bread can set at room temperature for three days in a covered container. I store mine under a cake dome.
Do You Need to Refrigerate Zucchini Bread?
I do not recommend refrigerating any bread. Refrigeration dries bread out.
Can Zucchini Bread be Frozen?
Healthier Zucchini Bread freezes beautifully. Slice then place the pieces on a parchment lined sheet pan. Freeze, then stack the slices between parchment paper and store in a freezer bag or lidded container. Freeze for up to two weeks.
What’s the Difference Between Sweetening the Loaf with Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup?
I first made this Healthier Gluten Free Zucchini Bread with brown sugar, but then I wanted to see what it tasted like with maple syrup. Since I like both versions, I decided to include both options in this recipe and see which one you prefer.
The first two images below is a loaf of brown sugar sweetened zucchini bread. The next two images are of a naturally sweetened loaf. The brown sugar loaf rises higher and has a tighter crumb than the maple syrup loaf. Although both loaves are lightly sweetened and moist, the brown sugar loaf is noticeably sweeter than the maple syrup loaf below. Also, the crumb is different. Notice a more open crumb on the maple sweetened loaf.
Which one do I prefer? For this recipe, I prefer the brown sugar sweetened, just because I love brown sugar in quick bread, but the maple sweetened is quite nice too.
Brown Sugar Sweetened Loaf
Maple Syrup Sweetened Loaf
Do You Have to Peel the Zucchini for Zucchini Bread?
There are nutrients in the skin of zucchini so I never peel. Plus their vibrant green flecks of color add texture and interest to this gluten free zucchini bread recipe.
Can you Grate Zucchini in a Food Processor?
I prefer to grate zucchini in a food processor. It’s super fast and easy to clean up. Plus I can shred the zucchini on the fine setting. However, a box grater can be used as well.
Do You Have to Strain Zucchini for this Healthier Zucchini Bread Recipe?
Many zucchini breads call for squeezing out the zucchini juice prior to adding the zucchini to the batter. I’ve formulated this healthier zucchini bread recipe so that you can leave that step out! There’s no need to strain or squeeze out the zucchini juice. Simply grate/shred the zucchini and add it and its juices to the mixing bowl.
Why is This Gluten Free Zucchini Bread Healthier?
- Less Sugar or Naturally Sweetened: there are many zucchini bread recipes in books and on the Internet that call for an excess of sugar, up to two cups in some recipes. I’ve paired this Healthier Zucchini Bread Recipe down to 3/4 cups of sugar and with an option of brown sugar or maple syrup. While brown sugar is not healthy, there’s much less of it in this recipe than in others.
- Wholesome Ingredients: whole grain and nutty goodness support a wholesome loaf. Gluten free organic rolled oats turned into oat flour, almond flour, walnuts, loads of zucchini and a bit of tapioca starch make up the bulk of this zucchini loaf.
How to Share Healthier Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
Like other homemade gluten free breads, this zucchini bread benefits from toasting. Slather it with butter du jour, mascarpone or cream cheese. It’s absolutely fabulous!
A Few Recipe Notes
- This moist zucchini bread has TWO cups of shredded zucchini in it! I really packed it in there for texture, moisture and flavor! Oat flour can take on a lot of moisture so zucchini is a perfect partner in this gluten free quick bread. AND for this recipe, there’s no need to squeeze the zucchini juice out. Just toss it into the batter!
- Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup? This gluten free zucchini bread is lightly sweetened with either sweetener. Both produce a moist crumb and benefit from toasting before enjoying. The maple sweetened loaf has an even more subtle sweetness and open crumb. I like both options, but they are slightly different.
- This recipe calls for gluten free oat flour. I DIY my own using Bob’s Red Mill Organic Gluten Free Oats. It’s super easy and economical – see my how to make oat flour post for more information.
- Freezer Friendly? Yes Please! This moist zucchini bread freezes beautifully. Slice into desired pieces and lay on a parchment lined sheet pan. Freeze, then stack the slices between parchment paper and store in a freezer bag or lidded container. Freeze for up to two weeks.
- Vegan Friendly? For an egg free version, I tested this recipe using flax eggs. The result was a super moist, crumbly loaf and the center sunk. There wasn’t enough structure to hold the loaf together or up. While the loaf was edible and tasty, it didn’t look very pretty. A whole new recipe is in order for a vegan + gluten free loaf.
- In baking, weighing ingredients is important for optimal outcome. I find that especially true in gluten free baking. If you’ll be baking with gf flours regularly, I recommend investing in a good digital kitchen scale. I use one like this and have had it for about five years. Its been reliable.
More Healthy Oat Recipes
- Gluten Free Sourdough Pancakes
- Healthier Banana Nut Muffins
- Maple Pecan Granola
- Blueberry Oat Flax Muffins
- Fully Loaded Breakfast Bars – by Foolproof Living
- Healthy Chocolate Granola Bars – by Salted Plains
- Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
Healthier Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
- 3 Eggs large* see note for my egg free test
- 1/3 C (70g) Coconut Oil melted, warm to the touch
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Lemons Zested from large lemons
- 3/4 C (170g) Brown Sugar packed or use 3/4 C (220g) Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 1/2 C (150g) Oat Flour gluten free if needed
- 1/2 C (60g) Almond Flour
- 1/2 C (65g) Tapioca Flour
- 1 3/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 3/4 C (75g) Walnuts optional - Increase to 1 C (100g) if you love walnuts!
- 2 C (300g) Zucchini loosely packed, skin left on, shredded fine in a food processor with grater attachment or on a box grater. About 2 smallish zucchini.
- Start with room temperature ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest , maple syrup or brown sugar together until an emulsion is formed. About 30 seconds.
- To the wet ingredients, add the oat flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, cinnamon, baking soda and powder, and salt. Whisk until there are no dry patches left. If using brown sugar (as pictured in the process photos) the batter will be very thick. If using maple syrup, the batter will be thin. Set aside while the oven preheats.
- Preheat the oven to 350F (176C). Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Place the walnuts on a small baking pan and place in the oven while it's preheating so they can toast. Toast the walnuts for 16-18 minutes or until fragrant and toasty. Set aside to cool, then rough chop.
- While the oven is preheating and the walnuts are toasting, shred or grate zucchini using the fine grater in a food processor or use a box grater, retaining the zucchini juice (it will be added to the batter - no need to squeeze the zucchini juice out of the zucchini). Set aside. Grease a 9"x5" (3.5cm X 2cm) loaf pan and line it one way with parchment paper keeping the parchment hanging over the edges for handles. Grease the parchment paper and clip the edges.
- Once the oven is preheated, fold the walnuts and zucchini into the batter until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Scrape the batter into the pan and use a sharp knife to run a shallow cut down the center (this helps the beauty crack open up). Bake for one hour and 5-10 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking. When ready, the top will have cracked open and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
- Place pan on a wire cooling rack. After 10 minutes, remove the bread using the parchment as handles. Set on a cooling rack until completely cool. You'll notice the bread shrinks slightly as it cools. Once cooled, the bread can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to three days. Slices are best toasted and enjoyed with slathering of choice! To freeze, slice and lay on a parchment lined sheet pan. Freeze, then stack the slices between parchment paper and store in a freezer bag or lidded container. Freeze for up to two weeks.