Learn how to make a deliciously moist and flavorful Lemon Zucchini Bread with a healthy twist. We use olive oil and applesauce instead of butter, making this recipe MUCH lower in saturated fat. Surprise your taste buds with this light, bright and lemony quick bread recipe.
We have quite a few lemon recipes on our site (11 in fact), and 6 quick bread recipes, one of which is a Lemon Poppyseed Bread. But one recipe I didn’t have is a lemon zucchini quick bread. There is something so bright and light about lemon and since I usually have some excess zucchini at the end of summer that I grow in my garden, I figured I’d share this recipe with you before it was too late.
The Benefits of Baking with Olive Oil vs Butter
When it comes to baking these quick breads, I often default to using a light flavored olive oil instead of butter. Not only is it a healthier alternative, but it can also add a unique flavor profile to your baked goods. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy and can help lower bad cholesterol levels.
A lot of quick bread recipes call for ½ cup of butter which has 92 grams of fat and 58 grams of saturated fat! The same amount of light olive oil has about the same fat, but only 14 grams of it are saturated. That’s a big difference!
The Magic of Lemon Zest
Lemon zest is a magical ingredient that can take a recipe from good to great. It adds a bright, fresh flavor to baked goods that can’t be achieved with juice alone. The lemon zest in this lemon zucchini bread recipe adds a subtle citrus flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the bread.
It’s important to note that you should only use the colored portion of the zest and avoid the white pith underneath, as it can be bitter. Use a microplane or small grater to zest your lemon, being careful not to press too hard and remove any of the bitter pith.
How to Make Lemon Zucchini Bread with Olive Oil
- First, preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan with olive oil.
- Next, shred your zucchini, lightly ring out some of the excess moisture and set it aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: olive oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
- Slowly fold in the dry ingredients, mixing until everything is well combined.
- Finally, stir in the shredded zucchini.
- When making this bread, it’s important not to overmix the batter, which can result in a dry and tough texture. Mix until the ingredients are just combined and then transfer the batter to a prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
With this recipe, you can choose to glaze the bread for an extra burst of sweetness and tanginess or leave it unglazed for a simpler taste. But either way, you’ll be delighted by the unexpected twist of adding olive oil to this classic dessert.
Variations on the Basic Recipe
- There are numerous ways to put your own spin on this lemon zucchini bread recipe. One way to switch things up is by throwing in some nuts or dried fruits. Chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans can add some crunch and texture to the bread, while dried cranberries or raisins can provide a chewy surprise in each bite.
- For those who prefer a slightly different flavor profile, grated carrots or apples can be added to the recipe, adding some natural sweetness and moisture to the bread.
- Another way to add a twist is by using different types of flour. For example, substituting some of the flour with almond flour can give the bread a nutty flavor and a denser texture.
Let me know in the comments if you tried any of the additions I’ve mentioned, I love hearing from you!
HEALTHY LEMON ZUCCHINI BREAD
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Lemon zucchini bread that is much lower in saturated fat and calories due to the addition of light olive oil and applesauce.
- 1 ½ Cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda and Sea Salt
- ½ Cup Sugar
- Zest and Juice from 1 Large Lemon
- 1 Large Egg
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- ¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 Cup Grated Zucchini (use the large holes on a box grater and lightly ring in paper towels)
For The Glaze:
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1–2 Tablespoons Lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F – line a 9×4 loaf pan with parchment paper big enough to fall over the sides. We will use this to ‘lift’ the bread out of the pan after it cools.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub between your fingers until fragrant. Add the egg, oil, applesauce, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Fold in the zucchini and pour into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake on the center rack for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Once the bread has completely cooled, drizzle the glaze on top.