You don’t need to be on the Paleo diet to love this Paleo Coconut Flour Zucchini Bread. Coconut flour has a light and fluffy texture and its fats are heat stable; making it the ideal candidate for baking.
Food has the power to ignite a memory. In my book of food memories, two powerful ones are black olives and zucchini bread. I’m really fancy, obviously.
Black olives, in their bare simplicity, bring me back to my Grandma’s when she hosted a holiday or celebration. She would always have a bowl of them out on the counter before dinner. As a 7-yr-old, I would casually walk by (read: walk by looking guilty of something), sneak a few (or 12) and run (sometimes leaving evidence along the way) off to enjoy them. Secretly, I thought she put those olives there for me alone, so why did I feel the need to go all ninja-like just to snag some?
So, there’s black olives and then there is zucchini and banana bread. I group zucchini and banana bread together as they are baked deliciousness that get passed off as breakfast food when they maybe should be in the realm of desserts. At any rate, they make me think of home. And that’s special. I am a homebody when it comes down to it. Always have been. I was in college during the late 90’s and one of my fondest memories from those years was receiving banana bread in the mail from my dad. I would receive four loaves or more at a time. (My dad has problems with moderation, at times, which we all kid him about!) I would sit on my dorm room floor or in the engineering common room and enjoy that bread exclusively for breakfast day-after-day until the last crumb was devoured. His banana breads were a far cry from what I eat now. 1 cup of sugar per loaf? Absolutely! Full of gluten? You betcha! I know now that my body can’t handle that and still be healthy, but that’s not the important part. I was so grateful for that extension of home and love that was being sent through those banana loaves. Thus, there’s something about banana bread, zucchini bread, and the like that have a special place in my heart. This recipe may be paleo (grain-free), low in sugar, and nourishing but it is also a recipe that my kids would know and love. That’s important to me. I want it to be something that will remind them of home one day ….
My go-to gluten-free flours are typically coconut, almond and teff (made from a gluten-free grain). They all behave so differently with moisture and texture and thus can be a bit challenging to work with at first, but once you have a decent starting formula, there are a lot more successes. Personally, I love the combination of coconut flour, arrowroot starch, and flax meal (ground flax seed). The starch lightens up the bread and the flax provides an earthy texture with a slightly nutty taste.
A couple notes on making this recipe:
- This bread gets its sweetness from 1 banana (make sure it’s ripe!) and 1/4 cup of honey. You could even take the honey down to 2 tablespoons if you like.
- Cardamon isn’t a common player in zucchini breads, but I love the depth of flavor it brings.
- The combination of baking soda and apple cider vinegar creates the leavening for this bread. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, white wine or champagne will also work. You won’t taste any vinegar in the finished product, I promise!
- When first mixed, the batter is not that smooth and seems a bit dry. Don’t worry. This is normal for breads with a good amount of coconut flour.
- This bread freezes super well. So, go ahead and make two loaves!
xo ~ Mandy
- Cacao Nibs – Cacao is raw cocoa. Cacao nibs are made only from cacao (no sugar!) and add a lovely crunch to the bread. They give this bread a nutrient boost being are also an excellent source of antioxidants, magnesium and iron.
- Coconut Flour – This is a great article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne (Paleo Mom) contrasting coconut flour and almond flour. It also tackles the topic of baking with unstable omega-3 fatty acids in flax in bullet point 3.
- Coconut Oil – If at all possible, do not microwave your coconut oil to soften it. I place the solid coconut oil in an oven safe open container and place it in the oven while it’s preheating. If you do this as the first step, it’s usually softened enough by the time you are ready to mix in the liquid ingredients.
Special Diet Modifications:
- GAPS – Remove arrowroot starch and replace flax meal with almond flour (blanched or not).
- Paleo – Flax is allowed in Paleo, but some individuals don’t do well on it. If you are one of these people, substitute almond flour for the flax.
- ¾ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder
- ¼ ground flax meal (1/4 cup almond flour or meal can be substituted)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cardamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar * (see notes)
- 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
- ¼ cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)
- Begin melting the coconut oil and warming the eggs.
- Grate zucchini. Place grated pieces on top and cover with paper towels to draw out some of the water. It is not necessary to squeeze all of the water out. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Grease bread pan.
- Mix coconut flour, arrowroot powder, flax, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.
- Whisk eggs, banana, coconut oil, honey, and apple cider vinegar in another large bowl.
- Whisk dry and liquid ingredients together until well combined.
- Fold in zucchini and cacao nibs.
- Pour batter into bread pan, smooth it down with a spoon and place in oven. (When first mixed, the batter is not that smooth and seems a bit dry. Don't worry. This is normal for breads with a good amount of coconut flour.)
- Bake 45 minutes.
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