My grandmother had a big influence on me with food and how we use it daily, seasonally and for celebrating. In our American Italian family all events were centered around a meal. The funny thing is my grandmother didn’t have a large recipe box, she made certain dishes that were classically hers. We had spaghetti with “gravy” (sauce) every Sunday, Easter bread at Easter, Fettuccine at New Years and Zucchini bread in the summer among others.
My father had a huge vegetable garden and every summer we’d go out with large paper grocery bags and pick mountains of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and zucchini. I watched as my mother and grandmother used those foods in every day meals, desserts and canned or froze the rest they couldn’t use right away. Nothing ever went to waste.
Zucchini was a favorite but since it didn’t freeze well, the summer months were filled with savory zucchini sides and loaves and loaves of zucchini bread. My grandmother frequently made banana bread as well but zucchini bread was my favorite. While I don’t have a vegetable garden (yet) I love making this recipe for my kids.
I don’t necessarily think you need to idealize the nutrition practices of the past, my grandmother also used bacon grease in some of her cooking and we had plenty of convenience foods. It wasn’t all fresh from the garden. I do, however, strongly believe that recipes are part of your family history and family culture that can be passed down for generations. They’re attached to family celebrations and memories of growing up that’s an important part of your own unique culture. That’s why at Real Living Nutrition we don’t tell you to ban sugar or white flour. You can balance these not-so-healthy food items in a healthy way. The great part about this treat is the zucchini is rich in flavonoids, Vitamin C and Vitamin A and uses heart healthy olive oil making it a treat that also provides some nutritional value.
Zucchini bread is a fairly basic recipe. This is my grandmas version passed down to us. If you have a garden full of zucchini this summer or just want to buy it at the store give this recipe a try…It’s a little taste of being at the table with grandma Lindy.
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup olive oil (yes...you can use olive oil for baking)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2 bread pans with non stick spray.
- Mix the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a small bowl.
- In a separate large bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder until well mixed.
- Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until moistened (don't over stir).
- Fold in the zucchini and nuts if using them.
- Pour into two loaf pans and cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.