Paleo Chocolate Zucchini Quick Bread

By Melissa Zitt


If there is one thing I have learned after years of avoiding gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and processed oils, it's that you really don't need any of those things to make something delicious.

This chocolate zucchini quick bread (or muffins) is everything you could want in a healthy indulgence:

  • High protein
  • Low(ish) carb
  • Healthy fats
  • Grain free
  • Refined sugar free
  • Hidden veggies
  • Chocolate
  • Quick assembly
  • Easy cleanup
  • Foolproof

I adapted this recipe from the Gluten Free Palate to include more veggies, protein, and gooey chocolatey goodness.

Great results every time.

Over the past few weeks I have made several batches and I discovered that you cannot mess this recipe up. I have added protein powder and left it out. I used a small zucchini and then a large one. I got distracted and left the loaf in the oven about 10 minutes too long. And even though I suppose there were slight differences between the batches, they each received their own rave reviews. 

Make it even easier. Use a blender.

Blender recipes are my favorite. There is nothing easier than throwing everything into the blender jar and giving it a whirl. Even cleanup is easier (I blend soapy water for 20 seconds and call it a day).

The trick to a nice blended batter is the order in which you add the ingredients. Wet ingredients go in before dry so that the flour doesn't get stuck under the blades. For this recipe, add all the wet ingredients in along with the zucchini that has been cut into 1-inch slices. Blend until well mixed and zucchini is in fine shreds. Add the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) and pulse 3-4 times, until just combined. You may need to scrape the sides. Add the chocolate chips and stir with a spatula. Use the same spatula to ensure all batter makes it into the loaf pan or cupcake liners.

Of course you can make this the old fashioned way. To do that, grate the zucchini with a grater, microplane, or food processor then set aside. Combine the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients (minus chocolate chips) in another. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the grated zucchini and chocolate chips.

Ingredient substitutions

Because this recipe is so forgiving, feel free to make substitutions to fit your diet or the ingredients you have on hand. You can expect slight changes in consistency but very little change in flavor. While I haven't tried every suggestion below, my experience with this recipe tells me that just about any substitution will yield tasty results.

Note: Some of these substitutions are not on the Paleo diet.

Almond flour - You can substitute this for your favorite gluten free flour blend though it will no longer be grain free. This swap will result in a denser loaf. I would not recommend coconut flour unless you are familiar with it's unique properties and how to adjust the wet ingredients.

Maple syrup - Swap for 3 tablespoons honey (honey is sweeter than maple syrup). You may also use 1/4 cup granulated sugar (white or brown) but will need to replace some of the moisture lost. Try 1-2 tablespoons water, dairy free milk, or extra zucchini.

Eggs - Though I do not have experience replacing eggs myself, the most common substitutes for this type of recipe are 3/4 cups (1/4 cup per egg) mashed banana, apple sauce, or carbonated water.

Coconut oil - Just about any oil will do. Some favorites are avocado or grapeseed. You can also replace with apple sauce though I would recommend using apple sauce to replace either eggs or oil, not both.

Protein Powder - This ingredient is entirely optional but I love adding it because I often send this to school with my kiddos for lunch or have a slice for breakfast. While you can use any protein powder you have, we love Designs For Health PurePaleo chocolate protein because it is one of the cleanest, tastiest bone broth proteins we have found. 

Chocolate chips - You can leave these out. I wouldn't ;-)




  • 3                eggs (room temp)
  • 1/4 cup     coconut oil, melted (I use refined to avoid any coconut taste)
  • 1/4 cup     maple syrup (room temp)
  • 1 tsp          vanilla (optional)
  • 1                zucchini, medium-large, quick chopped
  • 2 cups      almond flour
  • 1 scoop    Designs For Health PurePaleo chocolate protein (optional)
  • 1/4 cup     pure cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 tsp      baking soda 
  • 1/4 tsp      salt
  • 3/4 cup     dark or semi sweet chocolate chunks (I use these)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If making a loaf: oil loaf pan with a teaspoon oil and/or line the bottom and two sides with parchment paper, leaving some paper hanging off the edges to allow you to lift the loaf out. If making muffins: Line cupcake tin with paper cupcake liners.
  3. Place 3 eggs, 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1 medium-large chopped zucchini into a blender. Blend until the zucchini is in fine shreds and all ingredients are combined.
  4. Add 2 cups almond flour, 1 scoop Designs For Health PurePaleo chocolate protein (if using), 1/4 cup pure cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt to the blender. Pulse 2-3 times until just combined, scraping the sides as needed.
  5. Add in 3/4 cups chocolate chunks and fold in with a spatula.
  6. For a loaf: Fill greased loaf pan 80% of the way with batter. You may have a little batter leftover for a few cupcakes. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a clean toothpick in the center of the loaf. You should see crumbs on the toothpick but not wet batter. For muffins: Use a spoon to gently fill each cupcake liner 80%+ of the way with batter (they will rise some but not much). Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a clean toothpick in the center of a cupcake. You should see crumbs on the toothpick but not wet batter. Makes about 18 cupcakes.
  7. Allow to cool fully, ideally overnight.

Fair warning! These are best the next day. You will want to eat these right away and if you do, they will seem "wet".

Store in a lightly covered container on the counter for up to 2 days, in the fridge for up to 4 days, or seal tightly and freeze for up to 1 month.


Tell me how much you loved it in the comments!


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