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Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins: Healthy and Delicious!

If you’ve read about my pumpkin spice muffins, you’ll know I’m all about gluten-free and healthy recipes that taste like their non-healthy versions. I won’t skimp on flavor just to get in some health points; I want to enjoy what I’m eating. So, I decided to expand my healthy muffin recipes and create healthy and gluten-free zucchini muffins, too—full of magical zucchini nutrition, of course. It’s nice to have lots of healthy recipes from which to choose! These gluten-free zucchini muffins are no exception to my rule. They’re good. They’re authentic.

Zucchini Nutrition

Now, everyone knows zucchini nutrition is a “thing.” It offers incredible health benefits such as vitamins B6, C, and K; folate, fiber, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Still, I confess I never considered gluten-free zucchini muffins a viable breakfast option. I wrongly assumed I wouldn’t want a vegetable all mixed up in my morning; I saved them for my dinner plate.

Healthy Flours for Healthy Muffins

I had to experiment a bit with gluten-free flours, though, because I was tested as having “borderline” celiac disease, and I know I’m sensitive to gluten, regardless. I want to give my body every fighting chance it has to be as healthy as possible. As a result, I follow a gluten-free diet and take special care to find healthy recipes items that are specifically labeled gluten-free. People with celiac disease should absolutely and always use gluten-free flours, such as garbanzo/chickpea flour, almond flour, and many of the other alternatives out there (afflinks). And that said, presuming you don’t have celiac disease, you could certainly use standard wheat flour in this recipe if that’s your preference.

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 eggs (I plan to create a vegan version soon)
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses (I buy the gallon size since I like the health profile so much and use it frequently. It also makes the muffins just slightly sweet, and that’s the way I like them. Maple syrup would work if you like your muffins sweeter, as would honey–although honey loses its health benefits when baked. The muffins in the picture are dark because I used molasses; the other options would yield lighter muffins.)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (Coconut oil might work, too, but I don’t tolerate it well, so I don’t use it.)
  • 1/2 cup milk (We use hemp milk and love the health benefits as well as how it bakes. Almond milk might work well, and I don’t bake with dairy milk.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I use this brand when I make these at home, although the garbanzo flour I mentioned above would work well, as would a garbanzo/fava mixture. I haven’t tried other flours for a recipe with as many wet ingredients as this one has.)
  • 1 very large zucchini (think, impressive) chopped in a food processor–there’s that zucchini nutrition right there! When you’re shopping, note that zucchini is different from summer squash.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffins, Optional Add-Ins to Make This Healthy Recipe Even Healthier:

If I’m using chia, flax, or hemp seeds, I use no more than about a teaspoon for the batch (and just one from the list). You might use more or fewer depending on your tolerance for them. My husband even suggested adding blueberries to them for zucchini-blueberry muffins, but I haven’t tried that yet. It’s a good idea for a healthy recipe, though, since adding the vitamin C from the blueberries would help you absorb the iron that’s in them, especially if you follow a plant-based diet!

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients—the eggs, molasses, olive oil, and milk—in one bowl.
  3. In a second bowl, thoroughly mix together the nutmeg, salt, baking soda, and gluten-free flour (or wheat-based flour if you prefer). If you’re adding any of the seeds to your recipe, mix those in here, too.
  4. Use a spoon to mix your chopped zucchini into your wet ingredients (there’s your magical zucchini nutrition!)
  5. Combine the contents of both bowls and mix them together. It’ll be lumpy (quite lumpy, in fact), and that’s perfectly fine. If you’re adding blueberries, gently mix those in now.
  6. Spoon your batter into baking cups or directly into your muffin pan. Although I use a nonstick silicone muffin pan, which is generally great for preventing messes, I still used baking cups for this recipe. Note that these won’t rise much while baking, so you can fill them pretty full.
  7. Bake them for approximately 30 minutes. Do the toothpick test to see if they’re done. Mine required about 35 minutes in the oven. My toothpick said they were finished after 30 minutes, but I pulled out a muffin and it was a little squishy on the bottom. So, I put them back in for those extra five minutes. They also firm up a little while cooling.

Yield: 12-16 healthy muffins full of magical zucchini nutrition!

(Really, as silly as it sounds and as much as I kind of cringe writing it, “zucchini nutrition” is a thing. Google it.) 🙂

Once they’re cool, some people like to add a vegan or greek yogurt to the top for some extra health benefits. My daughter calls it “frosting,” so it’s a win.

I haven’t experimented with mini-muffins since I use a regular-sized muffin tin; the one I use bakes 12 muffins at a time. I needed two muffin tins since I had enough batter for about four extra gluten-free zucchini muffins beyond the 12 my first pan would allow. I haven’t yet tried baking this as a gluten-free bread rather than muffins, but plan to do that soon (and I’ll update you). If you try this as a zucchini bread in the meantime, I’d love to hear how it turns out! A healthy recipe like this can come in all shapes and sizes!

Coming soon: healthy banana oatmeal muffins!

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