Summertime in August, no matter where you live in North America, should pretty much have a full harvest of locally grown foods - basically the best time of the year. The bittersweet offerings from the market like swiss chard, heirloom tomatoes and the never-ending sweet and tart cherries are overflowing here in Colorado.
Summer squashes like zucchini, is one of those vegetables that can be used in a whack load of meals. Contains 95% water and a lot, I mean a LOT of vitamin A, Potassium + Folate. Holy healthy! For maximum absorption - serve slightly steamed with a slab of butter or olive oil, sea salt + a squeeze of lemon.
Or if you're anything like me, you enjoy baking something sweet but healthy. This protein-packed, spiced zucchini + hemp loaf is a quick recipe you can interchange the squash depending on what's available. The addition of hemp powder gives it a huge nutritional boost of Calcium + Iron. Hemp powder is a complete protein, containing all the amino acids required for the body, it's great in smoothies, granola, oatmeal and soups. There's no better protein powder that I've seen yet. This is pure and doesn't give digestive issues like some other powders like brown rice or yikes soy!
No I didn't use brown sugar like most recipes call for. I like using coconut sugar in most of my baking, for many reasons but mainly because of it's lower GI rating. Especially better than the hyped-up agave nectar, which is a processed fructose and is not the same fructose as in fruits and vegetables (which is assimilated more effectively). Agave goes straight to the liver just like alcohol. It's inflammatory and increases body fat. Forget what I'm saying, just listen to Jenny over at The Nourished Kitchen, she knows what she's talking about. Like her, I favor more natural sweeteners, maple syrup, molasses for that deep earthy sweetness. Honey is great as well, be careful not to heat honey, in Ayurveda theory, it's shown to increase inflammation and heating can actually increase the GI rating. Booo! And to top it off, you're loosing so many natural nutrients available in the raw form. Save honey for your tongue and toast!
SUMMER SPICE ZUCCHINI LOAF WITH HEMP
Preheat oven: 350°F
3/4 cup coconut oil, softened
2 T maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 large zucchini, grated and patted with towel
1 1/2 cups organic unbleached whole wheat flour
2 T hemp powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves
3/4 t sea salt
Mix: dry ingredients
Beat: eggs and add sweeteners in a separate bowl
Add in: remaining wet ingredients except zucchini - stir
Fold in: zucchini into wet ingredients
Combine: dry ingredients into wet
Pour: into a greased loaf pan
Bake: for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean!