Savory Zucchini Bread

Savory Zucchini Bread

The first time I ever had zucchini bread as I child, it kind of blew my mind. “Wow, you mean you can turn a vegetable into dessert?!” I said. A few dozen years later, remixing notions of what ingredients go together is my favorite way to create new dishes.

This week’s clearance basket from my local produce market, held a pair of battered (though still salvageable) zucchinis. Having gotten a little zucchinied out this summer, I resolved to turn them into a loaf of chocolate zucchini bread. Still, after a few days of holiday baking I wasn’t really in the mood for something sweet and I had a lump of cheddar in the fridge that needed to be used before I head to Saudi Arabia for a few weeks.

Loaf of Zucchini Bread

That’s when I thought to myself “If you can surprise people by putting zucchini in a sweet bread, why not put it in a savory bread?”, so that’s exactly what I did. Vaguely reminiscent of a frittata, this bread uses a lot of eggs, giving it a moist crumb that’s redolent of olive oil and thyme. Rather than mix in shredded cheese that would melt into oblivion, I wanted the cheese to have a big presence. That’s why I cut the cheddar into big chunks, layering the blocks of cheese into the middle and on top of the bread.

When it comes out of the oven, the cheese on top forms a crispy golden crust of browned cheese, while the chunks in the center leave hollow pockets in the bread lined with savory melted cheese. Unlike many baked goods, this one is definitely better the second day, so it’s a great make-ahead brunch dish. When I made this, I wanted something simple that I could snack on and take on the plane with me, but if you’re making this for brunch, adding crumbled sausage or bacon is fair game. This would also work great in a muffin tin because the batter is pretty thick.

Equipment you'll need:

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    Savory Zucchini Bread
  • Moist, tender zucchini bread with herbs and big savory pockets of cheese.
ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
1 loaf 15 minutes 40 minutes

Ingredients

Servings: loaf
Units:

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175C). Spread a thin layer of olive oil evenly onto every inner surface of a standard 9"x5" loaf pan. Dust with flour to coat evenly. This will keep your loaf from sticking to the pan once it's baked, so make sure you don't miss any spots. You can also line the inside of your pan with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the ends of the zucchini, then shred it into a colander using the large side of a box grater. Add the salt and toss to distribute evenly. Leave the colander in the sink or over a bowl and allow the excess water to drain from the zucchini for at least 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and paprika together.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, olive oil and water together until the mixture has emulsified (combined) and it's light and frothy. Add the drained zucchini and thyme in with the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Dump the egg mixture into the flour mixture and use a spatula to fold everything together until the mixture is just combined. Be careful not to over-mix the batter or the bread will become tough.
  6. Spread half the batter into your prepared loaf pan then add half the cheese. Add the rest of the batter and smooth off the top. Stick the remaining cheese on top, and then place the pan in the oven. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 45 minutes in a convection oven).
  7. When the zucchini bread is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  • JaneM

    What a great departure from the typical sweet zucchini bread. I will have to give this a try. Thanks, Marc.

  • mirik

    woow great idea- will try tomorrow :)))

  • Su123

    Incredible. Made this 3 times and each time it’s come out absolutely delicious. Last time I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour, and it’s even better– a slightly different taste, but awesome :).

    Thank you Marc!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Glad to hear you like it and great idea! I think this might taste good with rye flour and carraway seeds too:-)

  • Annie

    This is so good. Exactly what I was craving. The recipe is spot on as it is, but also very versatile. I have sometimes substituted Greek yogurt for olive oil to cut fat, and most recently made this with basil, sundried tomatoes, chili pepper flakes and goat cheese. Amazing!

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  • Jessica Minck

    Marc, thank you for sharing this recipe! I was staring at these beautiful, giant, zucchini sitting on my counter and wanted to make some savory bread… Your recipe was the top search result and I am very impressed!! Going to try take two in the morning, and add chorizo, for a brunch. I will be back for more recipe ideas in the future.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Jessica, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the bread! Adding chorizo sounds like a great idea, though you may want to cut back on the salt in the batter a bit to account for the salt in the sausage.

  • Greg Sindberg

    I tried making this bread last night and didn’t have as good of luck as the other posters. It just tasted very eggy and was quite mushy. I made another (sweet) zucchini bread with the same zucchini so I don’t think it was the moisture of that…was disappointed because I was really looking forward to it.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Greg, sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you. Was the bread cooked all the way through( i.e did the toothpick come out of the center of the bread without any batter on it?) Did the sliced bread look like the photos? If not, can you describe how they differed? When you say “mushy” do you mean a raw wet kind if mushy or a dry spongy kind of mushy? Lastly did you weigh the zucchini or use the approximation?

  • R6zack

    Just used this recipe as an idea for some jalapeño, bacon and cheddar zucchini bread and it turned out awesome!! Thanks for the post.

  • J

    Does anybody know approximately how many cups of zucchini 325 grams would be? I’m guessing around 2, as that seems to be what most zucchini breads take. I just wanted to make sure because instead of the “two medium zucchinis,” I have some rather large zucchini from my garden that I need to use.
    Thanks in advance! :)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’m guessing here, but I’d say anywhere from 1.5 to 2 cups depending on how well you pack your cups. If you’re going to be doing much cooking, I’d highly recommend getting a digital scale. They’re small, cheap and much more accurate than volumetric measurements for things that are easily compressed (like shredded zucchini).

  • Yuko

    Thanks for sharing! i really love savoury breads/cakes like these!
    I was wondering if you think it would work gluten free? Have you ever tried? I have a premixed gluten flour that i could use, or perhaps millet?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Yuko, since this isn’t a bread in the traditional sense (i.e. it’s not dependent on gluten formation for texture), gluten free flours should work. That said, unless you know it’s a 1:1 substitute for all purpose flour, you may need to make adjustments to the amount of flour to compensate.

  • Karen Lee

    I just made this. Added a bit of onion. Divine!

  • Seruchi

    This looks yummy… I just made some traditional sweet zucchini bread and need to use up more zucchini. It never occured to me until today to make a savory zucchini bread… duh!!! Looking forward to trying it … going to add onion, garlic and jalapeno’s… can’t wait!!! thanks for the post!!!

  • Kate

    I just made these with the following exceptions – shredded cheddar cheese mixed into the batter and dried Italian seasoning (1 tsp) instead of fresh thyme. wonderful!

  • Patty

    I only had shredded Parmesan on hand so I used that instead, but otherwise followed the recipe. Delicious! Thank you!

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