Spiced Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread with Pistachios

by Irvin on September 24, 2012 · 25 comments

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Spiced Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread with Pistachios by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

I’ve always been slightly suspicious of zucchini bread. Sure I see people wax poetically about the best zucchini bread recipes ever, the marvels of zucchini muffins and how fabulous zucchini loaves are, but I look at these blogs posts and tweets with a squinted sideways eye glare, unsure what the love is all about. I love zucchini, mostly grilled, in pasta or stirfry, but the idea of putting it in a baked good seemed counter intuitive to me. It’s a relatively benign vegetable, and though it can produce a nice moist loaf of quick bread, often times that’s about it, a little bit more on the boring side than the bombastic or worse, a leaden pasty loaf, too heavy and sticky to eat. If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that I love my food with a little bit of punch and a whole lot of flavor. So, of course, with this in mind, I decided to tackle the problem of a recipe for zucchini bread head on and make one that was packed flavor.

Spiced Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread with Pistachios by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

I wasn’t the only one who was dubious of zucchini bread. It turns out AJ is not a fan of either zucchini bread or even zucchinis themselves. Bland, boring, flavorless seemed to be the words that he most associated with zucchini. Well that and asparagus, as apparently he kept on mixing the two up (don’t ask me how, they clearly worlds apart and he actually likes asparagus). This, of course, is the result of a growing up in a family that did not eat vegetables growing up. I was incredulous when he told me this, but then I witnessed going out to dinner with his parents, where AJ ordered a steak (because that’s what you do in the Midwest, you order a steak at a restaurant) and the server asked him what two sides he wanted to go with it. Obviously one was a baked potato (again we’re in the midwest), but when AJ ordered broccoli as well, his mom looked at him as if had grown two heads. “Why would you order broccoli?” she asked in that accusatorial way that mom’s have when they disapprove of something, then proceeded to make a gagging noise, not unlike the sound a cat makes when trying to hack up a hairball. AJ just rolled his eyes as a son does when a parental figure asks a ridiculously obvious question. True story.

AJ and his parents by Irvin Lin of Eat The Love

So, as an added challenge, I had to figure out how make this zucchini loaf AJ worthy. Turns out it was pretty easy to do, especially since AJ’s weakness is chocolate. I went with an addition of dark chocolate chunks and for added security, I also added a handful of pistachios. AJ loves the bright green nuts and I have to admit, they are lately becoming a favorite of mine. The sweet salty nut plays well with the chocolate and the vegetable zucchini flavor. A touch of orange juice and zest rounded out the quick batter bread with a nice little acidity and sweetness and the funky flours I used (Whole wheat! Barley! Cornmeal!) gave the zucchini bread an added punch of flavor, texture and goodness. I was sold on the loaf and I think AJ was too. Just don’t tell his mom.

Spiced Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread with Pistachios by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love

Special thanks to Full Circle, an organic delivery CSA service that has recently started delivering in the San Francisco Bay Area, for providing me these gorgeous zucchinis. They’re pretty awesome (and I’m not just saying that because they gave me a complimentary box of produce to try out). If you live in their delivery area (Washington, Idaho, Alaska and the San Francisco Bay Area) check them out. Though I did receive a complimentary box of produce and groceries from them, all the opinions I stated above are my own.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet September 24, 2012 at 8:28 am

I’m with AJ….no zucchini unless it’s in bread form. with chocolate. chunks. :)

Happy Monday!
Heather

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:32 am

Ha! I love zucchini. But I gotta admit, chocolate makes it even better. ;)

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Rita September 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

This sounds so freakin’ awesome. I’m going to try it.

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:35 am

Do it! Lemme know how it turns out. And DON’T go overboard with the chocolate, like I know you are apt to do. This is the right amount!

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Rita October 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Having tasted yours, I will do my best to replicate it exactly. :D

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Pat September 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Not only are asparagus and zucchini worlds apart, they’re at opposite ends of the alphabet. Sorry — couldn’t resist. The recipe sounds really appealing and I love the photos in the well-used loaf pans, so true to life. Thanks, Irvin.

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:33 am

Right? I always point that out to him. And those pans are well loved. I moved here to San Francisco with them from St. Louis 14 years ago. The still hold up, despite being cheap pans I got at some discount store.

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Linda September 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Yes – I hear you. For me, zucchini is best grilled or with pasta. I’m not into zucchini bread which I found too dry. But, I think this one is completely different. Zucchini + chocolate _ orange = perfect!

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:35 am

This is a great bread, not too moist and dense, not to dry. And the combo of all the flavors really work together. If you make it, let me know your thoughts!

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar September 24, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I do have all of these crazy flours and love the look of this bread! Awesome recipe!

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:34 am

Yay for crazy flours! If you make this, let me know what you think.

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Trish September 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm

YAY! Finally a zucchini bread recipe that I want to make!
Here in the NW, I always struggle to find uses for zucchini. I end up having SO so much of it over fall and winter. I’ll have to give this a try. :)
Trish

http://www.jellybonesblog.blogspot.com

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:36 am

I know! There’s usually such the huge bounty of zucchini around here as well. Glad I was able to provide a recipe you want to make!

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Lori @ RecipeGirl September 27, 2012 at 9:25 am

This looks absolutely wonderful. I’ve never really thought about utilizing pistachios in quick breads- but I like the idea!

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:34 am

I’m on a pistachio kick right now. Absolutely obsessed with them actually which is not a good thing, as they aren’t cheap!

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Jenny September 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

This looks so colourful and sounds so spicy and tasty. I bet it smells amazing while it’s baking!

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:37 am

It smells fantastic when it bakes. The entire apartment filled with an awesome fragrance. I kind of wish there was a way to bottle it and wear it!

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Shut Up & Cook September 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

This looks outstanding! Love making baked goods that are a little off the beaten path or have a twist on the expected. And with CSA bounty at an all time high this time of year, any trick to use up zucchini is always welcome. YUM!

Excited to have found your blog, by the way!

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:38 am

I’m excited you found my blog too! Welcome. And yes, the CSA box is brimming with stuff like zucchini. This is an awesome recipe for those zucchinis…

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Kathy Patalsky September 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Yum that looks AMAZING – I loooove pistachios and always wish more people used them in baking recipes. ps. thanks for the Attune connection – yay judges :)

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Irvin October 1, 2012 at 12:38 am

Yay! Thanks Kathy. I love pistachios too. And yay judges for Attune!

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merri October 1, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I’m a big zucchini fan, but I REALLY love zucchini bread. I haven’t had it in a few years but I used to make it all the time as a kid (yes, I even liked zucchini, fresh from the garden, as a kid too). Yum.

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Vijitha October 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Irvin, I made this for a potluck but replaced barley flour ( as I didn’t have them) with all purpose flour. They still had a lovely texture. As you mentioned in the post, corn meal does add a gritty texture to the bread. Everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe.

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Rachel October 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Irvin! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing zucchini bread recipe. I have made it twice now and it never lasts long.

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Irvin October 9, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Awww. Thanks Rachel! You totally made my day! So glad you liked it. People like you are the reason I keep on blogging!

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