DARK CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI PROTEIN BREAD
Oh wow… this Dark Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bread came out so good! I’ve already made two loaves and (after tweaking the recipe) the second one came out even better than the first. The texture and flavor of this rich chocolate sweet bread is moist and chocolatey… with no added fat and 10g protein per slice. This loaf is also gluten-free!
If you like my Fudge Zucchini Protein Brownies, then you’ll love this recipe. This bread is more moist and cake-like compared to those dense and gooey brownies, but the flavor is very similar!
Protein powder substitutions
I used Quest Protein Powder in Chocolate Milkshake for this bread. You can use whatever whey you have on hand, but some work better than others. Whey blends (like Quest) that combine whey isolate, casein, and milk protein work best for baking! Whey concentrate would be my second choice. Whey isolates are the absolute worst for baking. They always make things come out with a weird spongey or dry texture (unless you use very little).
You can “try” substituting a vegan protein powder in this recipe, although I haven’t tested it. My guess is that you’ll need to add additional liquid to get a thick, spreadable batter 😉
For this recipe, I used gluten free baking flour. You can substitute gluten-free oat flour (oats blended into a flour), regular all-purpose flour, or brown rice flour, cake flour, cassava flour (Paleo), sorghum flour, spelt flour, or whole wheat pastry flour.
If using almond flour, you may need up to twice as much (1 cup), since it’s much less absorbent than regular flour. You may also need more egg white to help the loaf hold together and rise. If using coconut flour, you would want to used half as much (one-quarter cup), but don’t expect a bread-like texture… it may be more dense and gooey like brownies!
To add the perfect amount of sweetness to this bread, I used my favorite organic stevia blend! It’s twice as sweet as sugar with no bitter aftertaste. If your stevia tastes bitter, it’s probably cheap and not high quality! You can substitute this stevia blend for twice as much (three-quarters cup) baking stevia, granulated erythritol, monk fruit blend, or any granulated sugar like coconut sugar. If using stevia extract or drops, refer to the brand-specific conversion chart!
To add the deep dark chocolate flavor, I used Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cacao. You can used regular unsweetened cacao, dutch-processed, or a blend of the two it that’s what you have.
To moisten this bread, I used a combination of finely grated zucchini, 100% pure pumpkin, and unsweetened applesauce. You can use all applesauce or all pumpkin, however, combining the two prevents either flavor from coming through too strong. The zucchini does add some “earthiness” if you leave the skin on (which I actually love), but if you peel your zucchini you won’t hardly taste it!
Either the pumpkin and applesauce could also be substituted for other moisteners like nonfat plain Greek yogurt or ripe mashed banana as well. I would suggest only substituting one or the other, however. After more than one modification, you have a different recipe that may not work!
The mini chocolate chips are optional, but sooo good. I love running into melty bits of chocolate with each bite! On that note, I’m going to heat up another slice (hehe).
Here’s the printable recipe for this Dark Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bread! I’d love your comments below if you try it 😉
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Dark Chocolate Zucchini Protein Bread
- 2/3 cup (80g) chocolate whey blend protein powder* I used Quest brand in Chocolate Milkshake
- 1/2 cup gluten-free baking flour* or fine oat flour, all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp. calorie-free sweetener* I used one that's twice as sweet as sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa I used Special Dark aka dutch cocoa
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt optional
- 1 cup (~2 small zucchini) zucchini grated fine
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce*
- 1/4 cup 100% pure pumpkin*
- 1/3 cup (3 large) egg whites
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp. (22g) mini chocolate chips optional
*See blog post above for more substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Whisk together dry ingredients (through salt) in a large mixing bowl.
- Shred zucchini using the fine side of a grater (remove peel if you want less "earthy" flavor -I prefer to leave mine on).
- Add shredded zucchini and remaining wet ingredients (through vanilla) to dry ingredients and mix until just combined and no clumps remain (over-mixing = tough bread).
- Stir in chocolate chips or sprinkle on top of loaf (optional).
- Lightly coat a nonstick loaf pan with cooking spray and pour batter in. If using a glass loaf pan, I recommend lining with parchment paper instead.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out just slightly dirty.
- Let bread cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing into eight pieces. Enjoy warm!
- Store leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container and reheat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
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