Double Chocolate Zucchini MuffinsOct 19, 2022
These healthy double chocolate zucchini muffins are deliciously moist and make for the perfect pre-workout snack, dessert, or energy-sustaining snack when paired with a fat or protein source like almonds or a hard-boiled egg.
I love when vegetables can taste like chocolate, don’t you? Chocolate zucchini cake was a staple in my household growing up! An abundance of summer zucchini meant looking for creative ways to enjoy our bountiful zucchini harvest!
I decided to make chocolate zucchini muffins as a perfectly portioned snack to enjoy pre-workout, post-workout, during the workday, or as a satisfying bedtime snack! I made a few tweaks to a classic muffin recipe to decrease the added oils and sugars in my double chocolate zucchini version. While healthy fats are wonderful, I wanted to keep these muffins lower in fat as an easy-to-digest pre-workout snack option. Then, if I am looking to enjoy them outside the work window I add additional fats and/or protein to slow the digestion rate of the muffins which keeps me full for longer. For example, adding a fat source like a slather of peanut butter or a protein source like a hard-boiled egg.
I've included some notes on the ingredients used in the recipe:
- Zucchini: zucchini adds moisture to the recipe and the subtle taste is easily over-powered by the chocolate! I recommend using freshly grated zucchini and squeezing as much water from it as possible.
- Apple sauce: apple sauce adds moisture, natural sweetness, and fibre to this recipe. Using apple sauce decreases the amount of oil used in the recipe.
- Fat source: you can use any fat or oil in this recipe such as coconut oil, butter, avocado oil, or canola oil.
- Sweetener: You can use any sweetener in the recipe. I used real maple syrup but other options include honey or white sugar.
- Milk: I used almond milk to keep these muffins dairy-free for those who require it but you can use any milk you prefer!
- Egg: I used one egg as a binder but you could replace the egg with a flax 'egg' if you prefer by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoon of warm water and let it sit for about 15 minutes before adding it to the wet ingredients.
- Flour: you can use whole wheat flour, gluten-free flour, or even oat flour for a higher-fibre, gluten-free version! If you use oat flour, make sure you replace the flour by weight of oat flour as the volume of oat flour and wheat flour differ. I like using a kitchen scale for accuracy! Your muffins may not rise as well with the oat flour but they will be equally delicious.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: cocoa powder adds delicious flavour and colour to the muffins but also boosts the antioxidant and fibre content. You can read more about the roll of antioxidants and fibre in combating inflammation here.
- Chocolate chips: feel free to use dairy-free chocolate chips if you'd like to make these muffins allergy-friendly to those with dairy intolerances or allergy OR replace the chocolate chips with chopped nuts!
These double chocolate zucchini muffins are a must make healthy snack if you have an abundance of zucchini from your harvest this Fall!
- Combine the wet ingredients (oil, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, zucchini, apple sauce, and milk) in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
These double chocolate zucchini muffins are the perfect snack for a variety of occasions. Review the consideration below for how you might strategically pair the muffins to optimize the pre- or post-workout window or keep your blood sugars smooth and steady through the day or night!
- Pre-workout: if you have <60 minutes to digest (and you are hungry and in need of an energy boost!) it is ideal to have a snack that prioritizes carb with little protein or fat. Enjoying a muffin around 30-60 minutes before your workout will offer a burst of energy! You can read more about peri-workout nutrition here or listen to our podcast on pre-workout nutrition here!
- Post-workout: if you won't be able to enjoy a balanced meal within 2 hours of your workout it is ideal to fuel your body with a combination of protein and carb to facilitate recovery and prevent ravenous hunger when you do have access to a meal. Pair these muffins with a protein shake for a protein and carb combo that kick-starts muscle recovery and glycogen replenishment! You can read more about post-workout nutrition here .
- During the day: fibre, protein, and fat are key nutrients that keep our blood sugars (ie. our energy levels!) steady through the day. While the muffins have some fibre from the zucchini and apple sauce, you can create a trifecta of blood sugar supportive nutrients by adding in a fat and/or protein source. For example, adding some peanut butter to a muffin or pairing a muffin with a piece of cheese or a hard-boiled egg!
- Before bed: a bedtime snack can be supportive for many people to stabilize blood sugars during the night leading to an optimal release of the sleepy hormone called melatonin. Pairing a carb with a protein and/or fat choice is often sleep supportive for people who eat an early supper, are active in the evening, have high energy needs (eg. athletes, breastfeeding mama's, or pregnant women) or simply people who notice they sleep better with a bit of food in their stomach! These muffins are the perfect sweet-tooth fix and I (Courtney) find them especially enjoyable as an evening snack paired with nut butter!
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