I thought I had this zucchini muffin recipe in the bag. Make my favorite zucchini bread batter, divide into muffin cups, bake for less time—nope. The increased surface area produced slightly dense and dry muffins, which were fine for “healthy” muffins. However, I wanted fluffy, moist and thoroughly delightful muffins that just-so-happened to be healthier.
So, I cross-referenced the zucchini bread recipe with my all-time favorite blueberry muffins in my cookbook. I adjusted the leavener, upped the amount of milk and switched to buttermilk for a more tender crumb. Success! These zucchini babes will make everyone happy.
Cookbook launch week has been a thrill. I’m overwhelmed, honestly. I’m so excited that you’re excited about the book, flattered by my fellow food bloggers’ kind words, and thankful for friends who took the time to say cheers. All that, and I’m still a little apprehensive about sending my book baby into the world. Is this what it feels like to send a child off on a school bus for the first time?
Thank you for your comments, notes and reviews; they mean so much. I hate to ask for more, but if you’ve had a chance to make recipes from the book already, would you mind leaving a review on Amazon to share your experience soon? That might seal the deal for people who aren’t familiar with my blog already.
If you haven’t gotten the book, I have more details about Love Real Food over here. I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have in the comments. Lastly, I promise I won’t go on and on about the book forever. ♥
What makes these zucchini muffins healthy?
Granted, “healthy” is a subjective term, but here are a few reasons why I consider these muffins to be more nutritionally redeeming than most:
- Unlike standard zucchini muffins made with refined all-purpose flour, these are made with white whole wheat flour. That means they’re made entirely with whole grains, but you can’t taste them because white whole wheat flour has such a mild flavor.
- Protein-rich Greek yogurt replaces sour cream.
- Coconut oil or olive oil replace butter (olive oil is composed of more monounsaturated fat, and is considered to be more heart-healthy)
- Real maple syrup replaces refined sugar, so these muffins are naturally sweetened.
- Combined, you end up with hearty and delicious zucchini-flecked muffins.
These muffins are easily adapted to vegan and gluten-free diets, too! See my recipe notes for details. Please let me know how they turn out for you in the comments!
Healthy Zucchini Muffins
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 16 mins
- Total Time: 36 minutes
- Yield: 12 muffins
- Category: Baked good
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
These healthy zucchini muffins are naturally sweetened and made with whole wheat flour! They’re fluffy, moist and absolutely delicious, too. Recipe yields 1 dozen muffins.
- ¾ cup roughly chopped raw walnuts or pecans (optional)
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil*
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup buttermilk (or ⅔ cup milk of choice mixed with 2 teaspoons vinegar, allow to rest for 5 minutes before using)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini (you’ll need 1 small-to-medium zucchini, about 7 ounces—if your grated zucchini is very wet, squeeze out the excess moisture over the sink before stirring it into the batter)
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, grease all 12 cups on your muffin tin with butter or cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and doesn’t require any grease).
- Toast the nuts (if using): Once the oven has finished preheating, pour the chopped nuts onto a small, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are fragrant and toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring halfway.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and honey. Beat them with a whisk until they are combined. Add the eggs and beat well. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 30 seconds in the microwave.)
- Add the buttermilk, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla extract, and whisk to blend. Switch to a big spoon and stir in the zucchini, then add the flour and stir just until combined. A few lumps are ok! Gently fold in the toasted nuts now, if using.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Bake muffins for 16 to 19 minutes, or until the muffins are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. If you have leftover muffins, store them, covered, at room temperature for two days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Freeze leftover muffins for up to 3 months.
Recipe adapted from my zucchini bread and the blueberry maple muffins in my cookbook, Love Real Food.
*Oil options: I love coconut oil here. I used unrefined coconut oil and can hardly taste it in the final product. Olive oil might lend an herbal note to the muffins, if you’re into that (I tested with California Olive Ranch’s “Everyday” variety and couldn’t even taste it). Vegetable oil has a neutral flavor, but the average vegetable/canola oil is highly processed, so I recommend using cold-pressed sunflower oil or grapeseed oil if possible.
Change it up: Use chocolate chips or small/chopped dried fruit instead of the nuts.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey, replace the eggs with flax eggs and choose non-dairy milk, such as almond milk.
Make it dairy free: Choose non-dairy milk (I used almond milk).
Make it egg free: Replace the eggs with flax eggs.
Make it gluten free: Bob’s Red Mill’s all-purpose gluten-free mix works well.
Make it nut free: Just omit the nuts, and don’t use nut milk.
Make it lower in fat: I would argue that this bread contains a healthy amount of fat, but you can replace the oil with applesauce if you’re following a low-fat diet.
If you love this recipe: You will also love my apple muffins, carrot muffins and banana muffins!