Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Faced with a bunch of overripe bananas and a vegetable drawer full of zucchini, I decided it was time for my two favorite breads, Banana and Zucchini, to get acquainted with each other.
The result? A thick, dense, moist banana bread studded with flecks of green zucchini and crowned with a mountain of melty dark chocolate. If that’s not getting you excited to get in your kitchen and bake on a Tuesday afternoon, I’m not sure what would.
I know its annoying when food bloggers claim their recipe is the best ever, since…hello, they haven’t actually tried all the recipes out there. But, this loaf of banana-zucchini-chocolate goodness is by far one of the best loaves of anything I have made in a long, long while. Perhaps not the best ever, but certainly up there.
It’s also toddler approved, which, I think, is a highly coveted credential to have when it comes to baked goods. I brought half of this loaf down to my sister’s house last week and her resident 2.5-year old loved it. In fact, she kept trying to touch it over and over again with one finger, as if just eating it wasn’t enough; it needed to be felt.
Have I ever mentioned that my niece Mary gets me? She really does. She was just as captivated by the jumble of chocolate on top of this bread, and had no intentions of sharing her slice with me. She also ended up with smears of chocolate on her cheeks, arms, and shirt after only a few bites, which is prettymuch how I look after any given day spent recipe testing in my kitchen.
If you have a banana bread or zucchini bread lover in your house, this recipe is for you. By using fewer bananas and squeezing some of the liquid out of the shredded zucchini, this loaf stays moist but not overly wet. Olive oil and maple syrup lend deep, rich, complex flavors, and a handful of almond meal adds an additional texture to my usual whole wheat-only banana bread batter. Plus, have I mentioned this recipe is made in 1-bowl and can be out of the oven and in your stomach in less than an hour?
Let’s do this.
- 1 small-medium zucchini
- 2 large, very ripe bananas*
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour**
- 1/2 cup almond meal**
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate, divided
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (for easy clean-up) or grease with non-stick spray.
- 2. Shred the zucchini, then use your hands to scoop up the zucchini shreds and squeeze out any excess liquid. I got about 2 Tablespoons of liquid out of mine. Measure out 1 cup of zucchini, tightly packed, and set it aside.
- 3. Peel bananas and add to a mixing bowl with the egg, oil, syrup, and vanilla. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the bananas into the egg mixture. Add all remaining ingredients, including zucchini and half of the chocolate, and stir to combine.
- 4. Pour batter into prepared pan, top with remaining chocolate, and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
- 5. Let bread cool in the pan for a few minutes at room temperature, then transfer to a cooling rack to continue cooling. This bread is best when sliced after completely cooled, though a warm, crumbly slice never hurt anyone. Tightly wrap leftovers in plastic wrap (or store in an airtight container) and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- *Make sure your bananas are very ripe (i.e. covered in brown spots, or even starting to blacken). Bananas that are still green at the ends will not be sweet or soft enough for this recipe. If your bananas are very small, you can use 3 instead of 2.
- **White whole wheat flour has the same nutritional profile as regular whole wheat, but a more mild flavor. Feel free to use regular whole wheat, all-purpose, or a combination of the two instead. If you don't have almond meal in your pantry (I buy mine at Trader Joe's), use another 1/2 cup of white whole wheat flour to replace it.