In fall, I love doing as much as possible with squash and sweet potatoes – summer squash like zucchini as well as winter squash like butternut and pumpkin, and dark-fleshed sweet potatoes, often labeled yams at the grocery store. They’re great for roasting and making soup, but can also be grated into baked goods – muffins, loaves, cakes and the like – just like you’d use grated carrots. They add moisture, sweetness and flavor as well as added fiber and essential vitamins, with very few calories!
Use grated raw sweet potato or squash in any of your favorite carrot cake or muffin recipes, or give this a try – I love that this recipe uses both zucchini and sweet potatoes. I cut back on the sugar (from 2 cups to 1 1/2), and you could likely cut back a bit further – ditto the oil, which is a healthy fat but also calorie-dense. Try swapping half of it with applesauce or more nutrient-dense pumpkin puree.
For muffins, divvy the batter into paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until springy to the touch.
Zucchini & Sweet Potato Loaf
adapted from Bon Appétit, November 1992
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (or half oil, half applesauce or pumpkin puree)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups grated peeled sweet potato
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients along with the zucchini and sweet potato. Add walnuts and stir just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes, until golden and the top is springy to the touch. Cool bread in pan on rack 15 minutes. Cut around bread to loosen. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil and let stand at room temperature.)
Makes 1 big, hefty loaf.