Gluten-free option | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free option
When I was growing up, zucchini bread was synonymous with summer time. My mom would grow HUGE zucchini in the backyard, and we couldn’t wait to grate it into this delicious sweet treat. I wouldn’t eat zucchini any other way as a kid, and I’m sure all the sugar and refined flour more than negates any nutritional value the squash contributes, but hey, it made me feel better about how much I scarfed down. And my girls seem to think that it counts as a vegetable too. The loaf is usually over half gone before it’s cooled!
The trick was adapting it to gluten-free while still preserving the fluffy crumb and sugary crust that I remember so well from my childhood. I may still tinker with the relative amounts a bit, but I wanted to get this all written down so I don’t forget it for next time.
This recipe makes two standard loaves, or one loaf and 9 muffins.
From my mom’s recipe
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour*
- 1/2 cup oat flour*
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch*
- 1/2 cup potato starch*
- 2 tsp xanthan gum*
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder*
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 2 cups grated zucchini, densely packed (don’t squeeze the moisture out)
- optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
*If you don’t need to be gluten-free, substitute 3 cups all-purpose flour for the starred ingredients and reduce baking powder to 1/4 tsp.
- Preheat oven to 325 and lightly spray loaf pan(s) and/or muffin tin(s) with soy-free cooking spray.
- Sift together dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugars, oil, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in zucchini, and nuts if using.
- Pour into prepared pans. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Weelicious triumphs again!
To minimize mess, I generally buy & cook the short pastas, so when I told The Munchkin we were having “slurpy spaghetti” for dinner, she practically leaped for joy. The many different veggies in this dish are julienned just like the pasta, so she slurped them up just like the noodles. & get this: she was happy about it! She ate them on purpose! “Look, mommy, I’m slurping asparagus!” This, coming from the toddler who enjoys carrots, but will hardly touch zucchini or asparagus. The bowl was polished off. Success!
- 2 zucchini
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 6 asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (original recipe calls for only 1, but it needs more)
- 1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti (or, if you don’t have a food processor to julienne your veggies & your knife skills are as atrocious as mine, linguine covers a multitude of sins)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup Parmesan
- Julienne your vegetables with a knife or the shredding blade of a food processor.
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Saute garlic 1 minute.
- Add veggies & salt & saute an additional 3-4 minutes or until softened.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
- Return pasta to pot or place in a large serving bowl. Add veggies, pasta water, butter, & Parmesan; toss to coat.
- Let your Munchkins pretend to be baby birds slurping up worms!
My Husband The Breadwinner doesn’t cook much anymore: 1) he doesn’t need to with me around, except when it comes to pancakes, & 2) he doesn’t get home from work in time anyway. But this meal is evidence that he can find his way around the kitchen if the occasion calls for it. It’s his mom’s recipe, but he made it for me for my birthday a couple years ago & it was delicious & memorable enough to have me craving it this week.
In my own carnivorous opinion, the steak is really the star of this meal, but if you’d rather go the vegetarian route, it’d taste great with marinated portobellos, or even just by itself! It also heats up fabulously for leftovers.
- 1 lb. flank steak
- 1/2 cup of your favorite house Italian dressing
- 2 cloves garlic, divided
- 1 lb. pasta
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 med. zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup (or to taste) diced onion
- 2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- salt, to taste
- parmesan, to taste
- chiffonade fresh basil, to taste
- Marinate the steak 6-8 hours or overnight in the dressing with one of the cloves of garlic, minced.
- Prepare the pasta as directed.
- Meanwhile, rub the pepper into both sides of the steak & cook it in a skillet on medium heat, 5-6 minutes a side or until desired doneness.
- Meanwhile meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pot on medium heat & saute the other clove of garlic, minced, & the onion for a couple minutes.
- Add the zucchini, tomato sauce, & red pepper, then salt to taste. Cook another 2 minutes, then cover & let simmer on low another 2-3 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
- Toss pasta with sauce & zucchini, then place in serving bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan & basil, then spread sliced steak on top.
Picky (or at least skeptical) eater pleaser: Take out some of the pasta before tossing it with the sauce & place it in a section of one of those nifty partitioned plates & a little of the sauce & some zucchini slices in another. Cut the steak into small pieces & place them in a third. The Munchkin preferred to dip her pasta in the sauce rather than having it coated in it already, & even tried a slice of zucchini! As for the steak, it was gone before we knew it. I’d call that a success.