healthy whole grain zucchini bread

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The more years I spend tending a garden, the more I’m starting to realize that gardening is definitely a long-term sport. Gardeners may measure successes in seasons (“This was such a great year for my tomatoes!”) but the true value of a garden’s skill isn’t defined over one six month period of time. The first year we had a garden, our tomatoes produced like gang-busters, but I only got one green pepper out of three plants. I thought to myself, “Wow, I guess it’s just that I can’t grown green peppers.” Now, with a few years of gardening under my belt, I’ve realized the correct sentiment is actually, “Wow, that was a really bad year for peppers.”

So thus goes the tale of our zucchini plants. Two years ago, in the exact same place in the garden, our vine-y zucchini plants produced pounds and pounds of fruit. We couldn’t keep up with it all. This year? We haven’t gotten a single zucchini off of our plants.

But the truth is, as much as you want to think you have control as a gardener, you are actually just one, teeny, tiny piece of a whole lot of other pieces that have to come together to make a successful vegetable. So, a few weeks ago, we stopped fighting the months-long fight against blossom-end rot and just ended up pulling out our zucchini plants.

Sad, but thankfully, our CSA has kept us fully stocked.

For those people who do have zucchini plants producing out the wha-zoo (wa-zoo? wa-zu?), it is just about that time of year where you start getting desperate. Drive-by zucchini drops start happening on neighbors’ front porches. And zucchini, in various forms, starts finding itself in each and every dish coming out of the kitchen. One of the more quintessential ways to use up a boatload of zucchini is tossing a few cups of the moist, shredded squash into zucchini bread.

Now let’s talk about zucchini bread.

It sounds healthy enough. First up, it has zucchini in it. Which, if you haven’t heard is a vegetable fruit. And even better than that, it is a green vegetable fruit. Super healthy! And then you have the “bread” part. Bread is good for you!

But honestly? Zucchini bread is just a spice cake with some zucchini thrown in.

In an attempt to actually make zucchini bread healthy, I pulled out all the refined flour and oil, packed it full of full o’ fiber complex carbs, and reduced the sugar dramatically. What you end up with is a decadently moist, slightly sweet, totally delicious bread. By using zucchini and applesauce, the bread has a nice, gooey, moist texture to it that is completely fantastic. Especially when served warm with a little swath of butter. Yum!

Healthy Whole Grain Zucchini Bread

These could easily be turned into muffins by just dividing the batter into a muffin tin. However, I haven’t tested this to check for cooking time. If you do try it out, report back and let me know how long it takes.

Makes 12 slices

Print This Recipe


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (can sub in white flour)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (with peel)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, flour through cloves.
  3. In a second, larger bowl, whisk together honey, egg, applesauce, zucchini and vanilla.
  4. In three parts, mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring well after each addition.
  5. Fold in pecans if using.
  6. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until top center of bread feels solid to the touch (not liquidy). The toothpick test tends to not work on this bread because it is so moist.
  8. Let cool completely before slicing.

What is your favorite way to use up a zucchini surplus?


Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

37 Responses
    1. Cassie

      Zucchini can be a jerk sometimes. They need the right pollination, which I can never seem to get in our tiny, tiny garden. Oh well! The farmer’s market and our CSA will keep us stocked.

  1. Jenn

    Your bread sounds yummy! I love zucchini bread, but I go the opposite of healthy and make it with chocolate milk and chocolate chips, I shall have to try your recipe.

  2. alicia

    I made a recipe similar to this one last weekend (yay healthy bread!!!), and it was enough for two loaves. But I made just one, and the remaining batter gave me BEAUTIFUL mini muffins 🙂 a full two dozen! The bread is gone…obviously..but the mini muffins are in the freezer for an upcoming camping trip (well, minus two…cook’s gotta sample, and they’re fabulous 🙂 )

  3. patti

    Another great recipe..thanks…and I appreciate the print recipe feature of your blog (yes, I did print this recipe). I love zucchini bread, but you’re right, most recipes are really a cake baked in a loaf pan.

    And as far as surplus zucchini goes, I shred mine (grate it, whatever) and freeze it (2 cups per bag)…as a farm girl from southern Indiana, I’m sure you’ve done this as well. Isn’t it nice to be able to bake zucchini bread when there’s snow on the ground?

  4. Lindsey Stu

    we too have a surplus of zucchini from our CSA and my new favorite way to eat it is to grill it and make deeelicious veggie sammiches.

    have you tried the Wholesome Harvest 9 grain bread from Kroger? it’s available in the bakery section at the kroger on liberty. it’s SO good and holds up well to stacked sammich making.

    anyways, i just cut the zucchini in half and then slice each half into 1/4in slices. brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with italian seasonings and S&P and grill for 4 minutes on each side. SO GOOD with tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumbers, spinach and red onion + mustard. delish.

    1. Cassie

      No! I haven’t tried that bread. Babyface usually makes all of our bread (I’ve been asking him to do a guest post with the recipe for ages!). Sounds awesome! And that sammy sounds great, too. Thanks for the suggestion!

  5. Laura

    I doubled the recipe to make 2 loaves. I really liked the combination of spices. Next time I do think I will add a touch of melted butter or oil because the texture wasn’t exactly right for me. Maybe I needed to use more zucchini than I did since I was doubling the recipe. Definitely make again.

  6. Making your version of zuc bread today. Totally agree with gardening as a long term sport. Gardening is teaching me patience and that nurturing and adopting new ideas and overall change in myself and others is not a race, but a well trained marathon. Truly grateful for my small garden space in my little lot in the burbs.

  7. Kat Ryan

    Just wondering about the applesauce! Applesauce has a lot of added sugar- wondering if no sugar added applesauce would do the trick, or if I would have to add some extra sugar if I went that route! Any thoughts?

  8. Sarah

    I so wanted this recipe to work out, but after an extended baking time, the center is still gooey. :(. I believe I followed the recipe, used white flour instead of wheat germ and a glass pan. Any suggestions if I try again?

    1. Cassie

      I’ve had a few people comment that they had this issue, but I’ve made this recipe quite a few times without the gooey center problem. If you want to try again, you could try pressing the shredded zucchini between paper towels to try and get some moisture out. That might help! Also, making them into muffins will definitely make the gooey center problem diminish. 🙂 Good luck!

  9. jen

    Have you ever used Woodstock apple spread? It is a bit thicker than apple sauce and is made with apples and apple cider – no sugar. What do you think of useing that instead of apple sauce in the zucini bread? Do you think i should add a bit more brown sugar?

  10. Kayla Pace

    We tried using cupcake papers… What a disaster! We did not even think about them being so moist that they would stick so much to the papers. We ended up wasting so much 🙁 Still an absolutely, delicious recipe though! Next time, I think we will skip the papers…

  11. Matt

    tried this recipe and wasn’t happy with the outcome. It came out WAY to mushy, even with extra baking time. I used medium sized zucchinis that seemed to have a lot of water content which may have been the cause for such a wet batter–looked like it needed another whole cup of flour but this being my first time with zucchini bread I wasn’t sure. O-well, tweak and try again.

  12. Angela

    Made the recipe tonight- extended the cooking time by 30 minutes because it didn’t seem done. It was mushy in the center and wasn’t able to eat. No luck here 🙁

    1. Katie

      I had the same problem! I’ve tried it twice, even baked it an extra 20 minutes but it has these pockets of mushy raw parts. I mix it well and have made similar recipes but this one just isn’t working for me…

  13. Cindy Smiling Eyes

    I like this recipe but next time I will do muffins so I can use at my juice bar. Thanks for healthy alternative.

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