Mom-Approved Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free)

Mom-Approved Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free)

I’m excited to have my friend Celeste back with this delicious recipe that’s great for folks with food allergies. It’s gluten, dairy, egg and nut free! (But you would never know it 😉 

Variety! They say it’s the spice of life but did you know that it’s an important nutritional practice? By rotating our foods regularly, we consume a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, and so on.

In that same spirit, this recipe uses teff, which is commonly used in Ethiopian cooking, and the world’s smallest grain that’s naturally gluten free and is packed with iron, calcium, and protein. Add in the zucchini with its high vitamin C and potassium content and this makes for an indulgent yet nutritious treat.

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread (gluten/dairy/egg/nut-free)

photograph of the ingredients that go into chocolate zucchini bread Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup teff flour (where to buy)
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder (where to buy)
  • 6 TB. cacao powder (where to buy)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (no need to peel)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (where to buy)
  • ½ cup coconut oil plus extra for greasing loaf pan (where to buy)
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Bread pan like this works best but you can use any size.

photo of grated zucchini Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the teff flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Mix the zucchini, coconut oil, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla together in a separate bowl.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix well or toss all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor until a smooth batter.
  5. Pour into a greased loaf pan and place in the oven.
  6. Cook for 45-55 minutes checking for doneness.
  7. Let cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.



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  1. Thank you for this recipe! Over 4 years ago I did a quick internet search for a healthy, egg-free chocolate cake. I’m so glad I found you! I have 3 children now and I have successfully used this recipe for all of them as their first birthday cake!

    I didn’t want my babies to have the caffeine from cacao, so I substituted carob powder. And I only had sweet white sorghum flour (gluten free, Bob’s Red Mill), so I used that instead of the Teff flour. My whole family enjoys this “cake”. Thanks again!

    • BTW, my ratios for the substitutions are 1:1
      And I poured the batter into cupcake tins and just reduced the baking time by about 15 minutes.

  2. This bread is sooooo good, I would try it next time with a little less maple syrup for my taste, but leave it in a little longer if you like brownies. I left mine in longer than the recipe called for (because I went up to my sister’s apartment and forgot I had bread in the oven). The edges were crunchy! and it didn’t burn at all. Yum yum yum ?

  3. I also substituted tapioca flour for the arrowroot and used only about 3/4 cup maple syrup. Turned out great! I’ve never used teff before and I like the taste, different but good. My kids however are not so adventurous and didn’t enjoy it, but they will come around, it’s an excellent easy recipe! Thanks!

  4. If I wanted to use butter instead of applesauce (I’m assuming you “subbed” this to eliminate dairy), would I use half a cup? Lol. Melted or softened..?

  5. What an incredible recipe! It is SO delicious!!!!

  6. What could you use in place of the coconut oil? One of our son’s many allergies is to coconut. Thanks!

  7. Can I just gush for a minute about how AWESOME this is?? I’ve never been able to successfully make a zucchini bread, so I thought there was probably no way I’d EVER be able to make one that was gluten-free. Thanks to this recipe, I was totally wrong. PLUS, I get to share with my vegan friends, because there are no animal ingredients. We’re all in heaven. Thanks for a great recipe. 🙂

  8. Is it safe to presume that this would freeze okay?

    • Never tried, but I bet it would! 😉

  9. I just made this and it’s wonderful!! One note though, I grated the zucchini finely, not like the picture. It turned out quite dense but super moist.

  10. Hi, we have egg/nut allergy but ok with wheat…would this recipe work with regular flour? I know different flours have different liquid needs so just wanted to check before I make it lol!

    • Kerry ~ Since this is so after the fact, I’m not sure you’ll get this. But the main purpose of this recipe IS to make a healthy version of Chocolate Zucchini Bread, hence the particular flour she used. You don’t want to make it with a processed white flour (which is actually toxic to the body), but also, you want to stay clear of any GMO ingredients—non-organic wheat for one. GMOs will wreak havoc on your health. If you’re not familiar with GMOs, what they are, or why they’re detrimental to one’s health, do research it. But please don’t believe the lies if any resource tells you they’re a “good idea” or healthy. Again, that’s a lie! One could also use oat flour here (you can also make your own oat flour by blending in a Vitamix “dry” container or milling in your own grain mill if you have one (KoMo for instance). I plan to make mine with Einkorn flour, which is nature’s original wheat. It has remained as pure as it was over 12,000 years ago.

  11. I just made this, but substituted some canned pumpkin and more applesauce for the zucchini (because that’s what I had). Probably about 3/4 cup pumpkin and maybe 2 cups applesauce or so. I also added a good dash (like, REALLY good, probably 2tsp worth) Then I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan so I could cut to fit lunch boxes. I walked away and forgot about it so I might have over baked it a bit, but OH MY GOODNESS!!! Is it ever yummy! It’s like a cake-y brownie and it is delish!
    Thanks for this recipe. Obviously from the other comments, it’s easy to adapt and change. I’m going to try some other flavours, as well!

    • *good dash of cinnamon, that should read. I luvs the cinnamon!

  12. I just made this in mini muffin tins, using a convection oven, and they were done in 16 minutes!

  13. This turned out great! I used spelt flour instead of teff flour and used 3/4 cup agave instead of 1 cup maple syrup. The bread was moist, soft and delicious!

  14. This was posted on Facebook just in time! There’s a bake sale at my church tomorrow and being gluten free myself, I’m making some gluten free alternatives to the normal fare. Thanks for sharing, Mama Natural!

  15. Help Please.. doing this recipe now… IS this 350 Celcius or 350 Fahrenheit?

  16. Also if you are going to replace the apple sauce remember to take 1 tsp of baking powder off the recipe

  17. For the apple sauce person, apple sauce is used to replace eggs in recipes it goes 1 eg=1/4 apple sauce+1/2 tsp baking powder so you can use egg replacement. Ener-G Egg replacer for the quantity in this recipe I am guessing you need to replace 2 eggs so use the egg replacement accordingly also you can use flax seed to replace eggs 1Tbsp flax seed meal +3Tbsp water or u can use tofu 1/4 cup blended silken tofu=1 egg u can find all other alternatives online. I hope it helps

  18. Just wanted to say that I tried this recipe as well with a few minor modifications. Tapioca starch for arrowroot, 1/2 cup honey for maple syrup (I think I’d up it to 3/4 cup next time), and 1/2 cup grapeseed oil for the coconut oil. I also turned them into muffin/cupcakes by baking them for 25 mins.

    Thanks and printing this one for the fridge 🙂

  19. what could I substitute for a sweetener, I can’t have any type of sugar including honey, agava, and maple syrup. I can use Stevia but not sure how much I should use?.
    also could this be made with almond flour/ coconut flour? How much ?

    • ?

      • Try stevia, or date sugar if you can do that

        • I mentioned I can use Stevia but just not sure of the amount to use in this recipe.

    • I’m not a stevia user but have read even the slightest bit of using too much ruins a recipe completely. I would say if you do not have a problem with fruit, maybe add a half cup of mashed banana and maybe 1-2 tbsp of stevia. This is just a guess and if you know from past experience 2 tbsp might be a bit much lean towards the lesser amt. you could also consider grinding up a couple of whole dates as a sweetener. I am only making suggestions but knowing that dates do have a high glycemic index, they could spike up blood sugar so use sparingly if you go this route.
      I did mention in a precious post coconut flour could be used but I am unable to say how it would turn out. Almond flour could be used most likely in equal amt of teff. I don’t use these two flours as my children are allergic. Good luck!

      • Hi! I noticed someone asked if there would be a substitute for the apple sauce. I would be also interested in this.

    • try Rice Malt syrup – it is extremely low in fructose (probably why you’re avoiding agave/raw sugar/honey) and high in glucose. It looks kind of like honey and is less sweet.
      For an equal amount of sweetness to maple syrup, for every cup of rice malt syrup I add two teaspoons of stevia. This makes sure you get the sweetness without the bitter aftertaste of the stevisol.
      Here’s one of my recipes using stevia and rice malt syrup.

    • Not even coconut sugar? Coconut sugar has many health benefits. It is not detrimental to one’s health as processed sugar is (not a cancer feeder and doesn’t create chemical reactions in the brain akin to heroin—keeping you craving more sugary foods). It’s a very healthy alternative. Date paste is another idea (1 heaping cup of pitted dates soaked in filtered water for a good 30 mins, drain—reserving soaking water. Place in food processor and add a small amount of soaking water to encourage blending. Process until it forms a nice paste. If too thick and chunky, add a bit more soaking water and continue to blend). I believe almond flour will give it a grainer texture, but could possibly work … if you use coconut flour, you would have to use more liquid to compensate for the type of flour (not sure how much more liquid). Oat flour (which you can easily make your own in a Vitamix “dry” container or grain mill if you have one) or Einkorn flour are also great choices. 🙂

  20. This was DELICIOUS! It kind of tasted like chocolate teddy grahams to me, LOL. But it was VERY crumbly, I had to eat it with a spoon. If I picked it up, it broke. Did I do something wrong? This is my first time working with teff flour so I didn’t know if that’s how teff usually is or not. Thanks for a recipe that is gluten, dairy, nut, AND egg free! You are a blessing!

    • Mine also didn’t set right. The teff also makes it pretty grainy. I like the taste but need help on texture. I mixed it by hand, does it make a difference with blender or food processor? Is teff the same as teff flour? It seemed like a lot of coconut oil, I might lessen that.

  21. Could you substitute the teff for almond flour? And perhaps the maple syrup for honey?

    • I would love to know also. Teff flour is hard to find in my neck of the woods.

      • sells Teff flour! That’s were I buy the majority of my gf flours.

  22. This bread is so delicious. I am eating some right now.

  23. Is there a way to print this?

  24. LOVE this recipe! Yay no eggs!!! BUT my daughter can’t have applesauce- too high of fructose. Any suggestions for when recipes use applesauce?
    Need a good alt. Thanks!!

  25. Any way to make it grain free as well? 🙂

    • Grain free chocolate cake/bread recipes abound on the web. They use coconut flour and/or almond flour.

  26. Can you edit to include when we should add the cocoa powder? I assume with the dry ingredients, but only realized when I got through that my batter wasn’t chocolate coloured. Thanks!

    • I was just thinking the same thing!

  27. I’m confused because of some of the comments. Was hoping to make this for Thanksgiving in the family there is Peanut and Egg allergy. So I should br completely ok with this recipe?

  28. Egg-free and dairy-free: search the web (or your church/community cookbooks) for “Crazy Cake” or “Wacky Cake”. You can make it gluten-free, too, by swapping out the regular all-purpose flour. For the liquid in the recipe (it calls for water), I have substituted lots of different things with fabulous results–stout beer, sweet fruit wine, cola/root beer (reduce the sugar by 1/3 cup), strong-brewed coffee.

  29. i totally agree with what tess said. . .it is so hard to find egg free gluten free recipes. as someone who eats mostly paleo it’s even harder to find paleo egg free baked recipes! thanks for sharing this g!

  30. I’m just so grateful for something that is gluten free and DOESNT HAVE EGGS…. REPEAT… DOESNT HAVE EGGS. gonna definitely use this….

  31. I’ve made this loaf a number of times and everyone gobbles it up every time! It can dry out if not consumed within a day or two, so I just pop it in the microwave for a 15 seconds or so and it’s nice and moist again (I’m not sure what your view is on microwaves). I’ve also tried 1 cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour and 1 cup of teff flour and it worked out nicely. For those who might find it a tad sweet, I’m sure if you held back on the maple syrup and added more applesauce it would balance the sweetness out?!
    Thank you for this awesome recipe!

  32. I used Einkorn wheat instead of teff because it’s what I have on hand. It’s delicious, but extremely crumbly, to the point of needing a spoon or fork to eat it. Any thoughts on how I might make it bind together better without eggs? Gelatin, maybe? If so, how much would you suggest? Thank you!

  33. Update: I used spelt flour to replace teff flour and used tapioca starch instead of arrowroot (in equal amounts) because those were the ingredients I had on hand. Worked out perfectly well. Everyone who ate it loved it. Bread was moist and delicious.

  34. Could I half the amounts in this recipe?

  35. Can I use spelt flour instead of teff?

  36. I would love to make this bread for the office because we have a number of food allergies, and I hate it when people can’t partake of the goodies people bring in, but I have a package of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour and also Bob’s Red Mill xanthan gum and I was wondering if those could work as a substitute for the teff and arrowroot powder? I would rather use what I have on hand, I just don’t know what the ratios should be for the different ingredients. Gluten-free baking is new to me but I am hoping to learn more, so any advice you have would be super! The bread looks really delicious!

    • I think those will work (but can’t guarantee 🙂 Do you have any corn starch? That is a great substitute for arrowroot flour.

    • Hi Jen. Did it work? I’ve got gf flour and xantham gum at home and wondering whether I could just use them…

  37. Found it WAY too sweet. I feel 1 Cup maple syrup is superfluous and makes the recipe a very pricy loaf.
    What’s a low sugar alternative?

    • I was thinking next time I’d lessen the amount of maple syrup a bit

  38. is there another alternate i could use besides teff flour rice flour maybe

    • Rice flour may work. Or quinoa or amaranth.

  39. Could i use coconut flour in place of the teff flour? Just anxious to try it without waiting for more ingredients :-):-)

    • You could try it with coconut flour however the ratios would have to change. When baking with coconut flour, I found it absorbs all of the moisture and if not enough, your bread will be super dry! You could try it with maybe 1/2 cp of coconut flour and increase the applesauce to a full cup and if not avoiding eggs, use 1-2. This is just me guessing so please do experiment and let us know!

  40. Is there another healthy oil that can be used in place of coconut oil for those of us who are allergic to it (yes, I can eat nuts but coconut makes me sick).

    • Hi Diana, if not avoiding dairy, you could try melted butter or ghee. I have used olive oil (NOT extra virgin) with good results in my baking goods. As I mentioned above, you could use grapeseed oil however it is refined and high in polyunsaturated fats.

      • What’s wrong with extra virgin olive oil?

        • Hi Melissa,

          I’m just guessing, wince I’m not the OP, but I suspect it’s because of flavor. EVOO tastes like an olive. 🙂 Not the best thing in a sweet bakery item.

          • lol. *since.

          • Thanks, Annie! I hadn’t thought of that. Regular olive oil is probably more mild compared to EVOO. 😀

    • Ghee? Avocado oil is good at high temperatures but not sure if the flavor would work. Have you ever tried refined coconut oil? Some people don’t have reactions to that.

    • Try avocado oil..excellent

  41. Corissa, I think there’s lots of confusion about this. According to

    “Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to your allergist before adding coconut to your diet.”

  42. A friend sent me a link to your mom approved chocolate cake that is listed to be free of several food allergies we avoid. Obviously I was excited to check it out. Not sure if you are unaware but coconut falls into tree nuts, and the flour/powders you listed links for are processed with nuts. If you have a nut allergy you are told to avoid items processed with nuts as well as the nuts themselves. So your cake isn’t really nut free like it claims. This could be misleading to people trying to make something nut free for a friend or family member.

    • corissa-thank you for the reply and hopefully I can clarify a few things. Coconut is not from a tree nut but is derived from the seed of the drupaceous fruit. My son has a full blown coconut allergy but can tolerate coconut oil. To err on the side of caution, you could substitute the coconut oil for grapeseed oil (it is a refined oil which I rarely use but I think it is better than using canola or another vegetable oil) or if you do not have to avoid dairy, melted butter or ghee would work (approx. 6-8 tblsp should work but to be honest not sure as I have to avoid it completely). My daughter has tree nut/peanut allergies but thankfully has never reacted to any of the baking, arrowroot, and cacao powders we use. As with any food allergy and recipe, please do use your trusted brands.

      • I also have an oral allergy to coconut and I can tolerate coconut oil.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. I have never seen any of these flowers that are safe for my pn/tn allergic child. She is right about the coconut issue though. The FDA for some strange reason considers it to be a tree nut, but it is not. We had my daughter tested for coconut just to make sure it was not another allergen for her.

      • I meant flours:-)

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