Vegan zucchini muffins are a delicious, healthy snack or breakfast. These muffins are moist while still being low in fat. If you have extra zucchini from your garden or the farmer’s market to use up, these muffins are a crowd pleaser with lots of variations to suit your tastes. Vegan substitutions also make these low iodine if you are following the low iodine diet.
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What You’ll Need
For these vegan zucchini muffins, you will need shredded zucchini, brown sugar, vegetable oil, chia seeds, vanilla, all-purpose and white whole wheat flour, iodine free salt, baking powder and soda, nutmeg, cardamom, and cinnamon. You’ll also need any mix-ins you want to add (see below).
Where do I find that?
- Chia seeds: I have been able to find chia sees at my regular grocery stores and Wal-Mart. It can often be in the gluten free or specialty baking area. A health food store would also be a good place to look.
- White whole wheat flour: I have found this a little bit harder to find since COVID-19 and the resulting food shortages. I like buying it from King Arthur online or have found generic brand at my local Kroger store.
- Ground cardamom: Ground cardamom should be with all the other spices at your local grocery store. If you don’t want to buy it, you could substitute ground allspice or ground cloves.
- HOW MUCH ZUCCHINI? This recipe calls for 1 ½ pounds of shredded zucchini. If you do not own a kitchen scale, this would be 3 small zucchini, 2 medium zucchini. The zucchini I have pictured were from my garden and more on the medium size.
How to Make
- Make chia “eggs” by mixing chia seeds with water and letting gel.
- Shred zucchini and squeeze out excess water.
- Mix sugar, chia eggs, and wet ingredients.
- Fold in zucchini and dry ingredients. Mix until half combined.
- Add in mix-ins if using. Mix until just combined.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.
Tips for Success
- Start your chia eggs first. The chia and water need to “gel” for 5-30 minutes before using them. This picture shows what they should look like.
- Use a machine to help you shred the zucchini. The shredding blade on a food processor is much faster than using a box grater. You could also use your spiralizer if you have one and then chop up the spirals.
- Really squeeze out the water from the zucchini. Zucchini helps make our muffins moist, but we don’t want them soggy. We put a lot of zucchini in these muffins, so we want to make sure we do a good job squeezing out the excess water. Wrap your shreds in a clean, fluff free kitchen towel. Squeeze over the sink.
- Don’t overmix! To keep your muffins light and fluffy, mix until just combined. There should not be any dry streaks of flour in the batter, but it may still be lumpy. Do not beat or whisk it smooth.
There are so many ways you can make these zucchini muffins your own. In general, I would recommend ¾ cup to 1 cup total of mix-ins. I have pictured here regular sized muffins with chocolate chips and mini lemon zucchini muffins with blueberries.
Citrus zest can add great flavor as well. I use the zest from a whole lemon or whole orange if I am using it.
Ideas for mix-ins:
- Orange zest and chopped pistachios
- chopped walnuts and chocolate chips
- lemon zest and blueberries
- pumpkin seeds
- coconut flakes
You can also make this recipe as one large loaf of zucchini bread or into twice as many mini muffins. Adjustments for baking times are in the recipe below.
Why bake with zucchini?
Zucchini is great for lowering the fat in baked goods while adding moisture and fiber. It also is very mild so it generally does not add any flavor.
What makes these “healthy”?
These muffins are low in fat, thanks to the added zucchini. They are packed with vegetables, thanks to 1 ½ pounds of zucchini – which provides vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. They also have whole grain flour.
Are there other egg substitutes I could use?
For a low iodine diet, you could substitute 4 egg whites for the chia “eggs” in this recipe. It would no longer be vegan.
Ground flax seeds could be substituted for the chia seeds – same amount of ground flax to water as chia seeds to water.
What is white whole wheat flour?
This is whole wheat flour made from soft white wheat, rather than hard red wheat. The traditional whole wheat flour you are used to that is very brown is from hard red wheat.
White whole wheat flour is still a whole grain and full of fiber and nutrients. It just comes from a different type of wheat plant.
Why vegan recipes for low iodine diet?
A low iodine diet is not necessarily a vegan diet. But vegan recipes can be a good place to look for low iodine recipes since they will not contain dairy or egg yolk.
However, not all vegan recipes will be low iodine friendly. They may contain soy products, sea salt, and milk alternatives that do not work.
Can I make these gluten free?
These could easily be made gluten free by subbing a gluten free all-purpose flour mix that has gums in it.
Could I use other flours?
If you can not find the white whole wheat flour, you could use regular whole wheat flour or only all-purpose flour. I have not experimented with oat or spelt flours.
Storage and Reheating
These muffins can be stored at room temperature for about 5 days.
I like to freeze muffins to last longer. They generally last about 3 months. I either let the muffins thaw at room temperature or microwave them for 20-30 seconds, wrapped in a paper towel or napkin.
These vegan zucchini muffins make a great breakfast, snack, or add them to lunch or dinner as a side to soup or salad.
Vegan Zucchini Muffins
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 5 tbsp water
- 1 ½ lbs zucchini shredded
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ tsp no iodine salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Optional Mix-Ins (choose up to 1 zest and 1 cup of mix-ins)
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 orange zested
- chocolate chips
- chopped nuts almonds, walnut, or pistachios
- wild blueberries
- coconut flakes or shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
- Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, up to 30 minutes. The chia "eggs" are ready to use when the water has been absorbed, and it has formed a gloopy gel.
- Shred zucchini on a box grater, using a food processor grater attachment, or a spiralizer.
- Wrap shredded zucchini in a clean, fluff free kitchen towel. Over sink or extra bowl, wring out excess water from zucchini.
- Whisk together brown sugar, oil, chia eggs, vanilla, and zest (if using) in a medium bowl. Stir in shredded zucchini.
- Add remaining ingredients except mix-ins. Fold into zucchini mixture until about half mixed. Add in mix-ins (if using). Mix until just combined – no streaks of flour but will still be lumpy.
- Pour into prepared muffin pan, filling each cup ¾ full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove muffins to wire rack to cool completely.
Like these vegan zucchini muffins? You might also like these:
Gingerbread Banana Bread from LID Life