Vegan Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Bread is a flexible, quick-bread recipe that can be made as muffins or a loaf and with a variety of flours. It's moist, chocolatey, perfectly sweetened, lightly spiced, and made with about half the amount of oil found in most zucchini bread recipes.
Credit goes out to my friend Candace for inspiring this vegan chocolate zucchini bread recipe (the seasoned seitan recipe is also thanks to her)! She was having trouble finding a vegan zucchini bread recipe she liked, with the main complaint being that they were too oily. Even though i don't exclusively share oil-free recipes on this site, if you've been here for a while or read my About page, you know I have a great interest in whole-food, plant-based eating. I tend to lean in that direction even if Mark and I don't eat that way 100% of the time (cakes and special occasion recipes being a major exception).
Anyway, after a few tests of basic (i.e. not chocolate) zucchini bread, I decided to try a chocolate version. Since cinnamon is one of the main flavors in classic zucchini bread, I figured hey, let's just take this one step further and go with a Mexican Chocolate flavor profile! And I am so happy with the result.
If you're worried about the addition of chile powder and cayenne making this bread TOO hot, don't worry! But I will add a disclaimer: spiciness is very much a personal preference. I have friends and family members who feel like their mouths are on fire after even a small amount of black pepper, so I get it. These spices aren't for everyone. But if you don't fall into that category, I think you'll find the heat to be really subtle. I would describe the cayenne in this chocolate zucchini bread as lending a mild warmth that lingers alongside the chocolate flavor.
In fact, if you really like spicy foods, you may want to add MORE chile powder and cayenne to the batter. Just an extra pinch should do!
And if you're one of the aforementioned sensitive-to-spice folks, you can omit the spices to achieve a regular chocolate zucchini bread. Super easy!
Reasons why you'll love this Mexican Chocolate Vegan Zucchini Bread
- Simple to prepare: making zucchini bread is as easy as grating some zucchini, chopping some walnuts and dark chocolate (both optional), mixing dry ingredients in one bowl, mixing wet ingredients in another bowl, combine dry and wet, and then folding in the zucchini and walnuts and sprinkling chocolate on top.
- Made with easy-to-find ingredients: though one of my goals with this recipe was to reduce the oil, I still wanted it be a classic vegan zucchini bread in the sense that it's not made with specialty sweeteners, doesn't contain banana, apple sauce, or sweet potato, etc, and can be made with all-purpose flour, if desired.
- Light but still delicious: this tasty, sweet treat won't leave you feeling like you ate a brick. Enough said.
- Lightly spiced: the cinnamon, chile powder and cayenne blend so nicely with the cocoa powder and vanilla. It's just enough spice to make this zucchini bread feel special and a little different.
Zucchini Muffins vs Loaf
There's nothing quite as lovely as a loaf of homemade bread, but at the same time, muffins cook in less than HALF the time. And since we're usually making zucchini bread during the summer months when it's hot outside and zucchini is plentiful, having the oven on for a full hour to bake a loaf seems less than ideal. But you do whatever makes you happy! Everything about the prep is the same whether you make muffins or a loaf.
- Muffins cook in about 20 minutes.
- A loaf takes about an hour.
Doubling this Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe
A lot of zucchini bread recipes are written to make two loaves or 24 muffins. Since the bread freezes well, that's always a great option. This recipe is written for one loaf or 12 muffins simply because not everyone wants a huge amount or is cooking for a large family these days.
You can use the slider in the recipe card to easily adjust the ingredient amounts if you want a double batch (just hover over the "12" next to "Servings"). During one round of testing I did a double batch and made one loaf and one pan of muffins. That works out well if you want the best of both worlds... muffins to snack on in 20 minutes and a loaf to wrap and freeze for later.
Adding walnuts is optional, but the extra bit of crunch is nice. Pecans would also be delicious!
You might also like:
- Oat Flour Banana Bread (oil-free)
- Loaded Breakfast Muffins (oil- and gluten-free)
- Banana Walnut Cinnamon Swirl Muffins (oil- and gluten-free)
- Go-To Peanut Butter Brownies (gluten-free)
- Coconut Garam Masala Muffins (oil-free)
I hope you enjoy this Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Bread! If you try it be sure to rate the recipe (it helps others find recipes they'll enjoy) and leave a comment below to let us know how it turned out.
Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- 1 1/2 cups flour (180 g), such as white whole-wheat or all-purpose, or a blend of these with spelt or whole-wheat *Try it with 1 cup white whole-wheat and 1/2 cup spelt flour!
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp chile powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup oil, such as walnut or canola
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup grated zucchini, from about 1 small zucchini
- 1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1 1/2 ounces chopped dark chocolate, optional Check labels to make sure chocolate is dairy-free.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and oil a 12-cup muffin pan or a 9x5 loaf pan.
- After grating the zucchini, gently squeeze out the excess moisture.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, chile, and cayenne. *If using a whole-grain flour such as spelt, sifting might separate out some of the fiber; add it to the bowl. Whisk to fully combine all the dry ingredients.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, milk, flax meal, vanilla, oil and vinegar.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the top(s) with chopped dark chocolate, if using.
- Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes; bake a loaf for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The bread is done when the center is firm and a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.