Zucchini’s Abundance and Versatility Have No Bounds

If you have your own home garden and have planted zucchini, you are probably trying to figure out yet another way to use it. One of the wonderful things about this popular summer crop is its versatility. Fried, sautéed, steamed, grilled, or stuffed and baked, zucchini is delicious and good for you. But, if you’re feeling tired of eating zucchini by itself, here is a recipe in which it is totally transformed. Used grated and in combination with unsweetened applesauce, zucchini provides the bulk around which this delicious bread recipe is built.

The longer zucchini is left on the vine, the larger it becomes, and the more water it will contain. Thus, when the recipe directions call for “grated zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture,” it is very important to make sure you’ve extracted as much of the water content of the pulp as possible. If not, it will adversely affect your end result, making it heavy and overly moist. So, make sure this step is done sufficiently. The best way to squeeze out the moisture is to use your hands. Then place the squeezed pulp on paper towels and pat it dry. Make sure you measure it after these steps.

Zucchini, like all summer squash, is high in heart-healthy potassium. It also has the advantage of being a “high volume” food, both filling and low in calories, thus, good for weight loss and general good health. Using whole wheat flour adds to the recipe’s fiber content, making it a better choice than breads and cakes made with white flour and large quantities of sugar. Here 3/4 of a cup of sugar is bolstered by the natural sweetness of applesauce, while vanilla, cinnamon and walnuts give the loaf a nutty, spicy flavor.

This bread is a marvelous accompaniment to tea for a late afternoon pick-me-up or maybe served as dessert on its own or with fruit. It can also be toasted and eaten for breakfast. It is sturdy and keeps well in the refrigerator. Make it in large quantities in disposable foil bread pans, and give loaves to your friends as gifts.

Zucchini Bread - Makes 12 servings.

Non-stick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
1/4 cup ground walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, zucchini and walnuts together. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to combine completely.
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until golden and done when tested with a toothpick. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a rack to continue cooling.

Per serving: 177 calories, 9 g. total fat (1 g. saturated fat), 23 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. protein, less than 2 g. dietary fiber, 254 mg. sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on diet and cancer and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $82 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its Web site, http://www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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