One of my favorite ways to use up summer squash like zucchini is grating it and making sweet bread. I’ve always loved using my mom’s recipe- it’s seriously delicious, but this summer I thought I’d try to lighten it up a tad bit. My version tastes just as good as the original but swaps out some of the less wholesome ingredients for ones like coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce and whole wheat flour. It’s tender, moist and bursting with fresh zucchini!

Lightened Up Zucchini Bread

The recipe itself uses about 3 small zucchinis or two medium ones. It yields two tall 8×4 loaves or two thinner 9×5 loaves. Since I only have one 8×4 loaf pan, I divided the batter between my to 9×5’s. They may not be as photogenic, but they taste just as good 🙂 The thing I really love about this recipe is that you can pretty much add whatever you want to it and it still tastes delicious. Coconut, carrot, raisins, chocolate chips and nuts are all delicious additions… you can even go crazy and swirl some Nutella in there (of course that would make it slightly less lightened up)!

Lightened Up Zucchini Bread

For my “lightened up” version of my mom’s bread, I swapped out the vegetable oil for coconut and replaced some of the original amount for unsweetened applesauce. The applesauce also replaced some of the granulated sugar. I used part all-purpose flour and part white whole wheat flour. Instead of 3 whole eggs I used two whole and two whites. That helped lighten the loaves and make them extra tender (to help counter some of the heaviness of the whole wheat).

Lightened Up Zucchini Bread

I have to admit, after all of the adjustments I was a bit nervous about how they’d turn out, but they looked and tasted almost identical to my mom’s recipe- score! After removing them from the pans I let them cool a bit and then sliced them while they were still warm. I love to eat this bread plain, but it’s pretty darn good with a bit of whipped cinnamon honey butter on top too!

Lightened Up Zucchini Bread

If you’re looking for a way to use up all of that summer squash, I’d highly recommend giving this recipe a try! You can bake up a bunch of loaves, customize the mix-ins and even freeze a few to enjoy throughout the fall. Happy baking!

Lightened Up Zucchini Bread
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


This lightened up zucchini bread is made with wholesome ingredients like coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce and whole wheat flour. It’s a slightly healthier version of a summertime favorite!
Yield: 2 loaves

  • ½ c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ c. granulated or pure cane sugar
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2½ c. grated zucchini
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 c. chopped nuts or chocolate chips, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease two 8X4″ or 9×5″ loaf pans (I prefer PAM baking spray), set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the coconut oil, applesauce, sugars, egg whites, and vanilla. Add zucchini and fold with a spatula.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Gradually fold into the wet ingredients, stir just until combined (note: the batter will be pretty thick).
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Top with nuts or chocolate chips if desired.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes (if using 9×5 pans) or 55-60 minutes (if using 8×4 pans) or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pans for 20 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a wire rack.

-You can also swirl a bit of Nutella into the tops of the loaves for a more decadent bread!

Recipe source: Life Made Simple


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