Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

We used to have a large zucchini garden in our backyard. One year when I was growing up, if we went up to our boat for the weekend (or God forbid a whole week) you could bet that by the time we got home those piddly little pinkie-finger squashes would be the size of my dad's forearm. My mom and dad ate a ton of it that year, even though my sister and I wouldn't touch the stuff. It's a good thing too - my grandparents all hated the vegetable (unless grated into a sauce, stew, muffin or bread - i.e. hidden without their knowing) and the rest of the neighbourhood had their own behemoth vegetables to contend with. I'm sure if we were all better organized we could have had a backyard swap going, but there you are. I do recall us giving a few to the owner of my parent's gym, since they were to her like ketchup is to my sister: worth its weight in gold.

I never quite understood the love of zucchini back then, even in moist, rich noshings from the bakery or mixed into my favourite tomato meat sauce. Now, I'll gladly eat it pan-seared, grilled, roasted or sliced paper-thin on my mandoline with salt and vinegar! Ratatouille went from being a running joke we made at my mom's expense (rat-a-TOOT-eee as we called it) to a delectable Summer meal I wait patiently to harvest produce for each year. And of course, you can't go wrong with the squash baked into something delectable.

I've discovered that while lemon and orange play just fine with zucchini, what really pairs well is a rich, dark chocolate. Come to think of it, there isn't much that a good dark chocolate flavour doesn't help! When I found myself with a little bit more vegetation than I could readily eat for meals, I knew there had to be something out there that could convert crisper rejects into a craveable treat. I was acually perusing this post on the blog The Hungry Artist when I came across her recipe for a dark chocolate loaf cake. Not only did this quickbread have a good amount of zucchini in it, it also used precisely the things we had lingering in the kitchen without any hope of being eaten as is. The single banana, applesauce, tofu (that replaced the eggs) and the "other" secret vegetable - spinach - joined forces to make this possibly the most dense, moist and decadent quickbread from my kitchen yet! As a bonus, I could do the whole thing in my food processor - no bowl washing required!


Being submitted to the VFAM: Zucchini event by Priya and Kalyani’s Only Vegan event.


Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Adapted from The Hungry Artist
Makes 1 loaf, 10 slices
1 cup (about 1 oz) fresh spinach, cooked
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup Demerara sugar
150 g "dessert style" tofu (I used Sunrise Soya Custard Flavour)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder (optional but nummy!)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup barley flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1/3 cup large chocolate chips
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8x5" loaf pan.
  2. In a food processor, puree the spinach, oil, banana, applesauce, sugar, tofu and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the salt, cinnamon, chili powder and cocoa and puree until smooth.
  4. Pulse in the flours, baking soda and baking powder until just combined, then pulse in the zucchini, chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds.
  5. Scrape into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until it tests done.
  7. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then unmould onto a wire rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 164.0 
Total Fat: 4.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 20.0 mg
Total Carbs: 32.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.3 g
Protein: 3.7 g