Vegan zucchini bread

Vegan zucchini bread

vegan zucchini bread

This past week has seen me making (and eating 🙂 🙁 ) A LOT of cakes and processing about a ton of apples. Our newly acquired (it’s our first summer in the new house) apple tree has surprised us with an unusually early and abundant apple crop, so I had no choice but to learn one thing I swore to myself I would never bother with when I grow up – the art of canning. What’s happened to me?

Despite giving some apples away, storing the unblemished ones in the salad compartment of my fridge, freezing as much apple sauce as I could fit in my tiny (and already full) freezer and canning tens of jars, I still ended up with lots of apples that had nowhere to go, so I developed a new apple cake recipe and it’s a real winner, but I shall share it with you when the summer fruit is truly over and apples take more of a centre stage. Watch this space.

Don’t be bummed though, as I do have a cake recipe today. It uses one of the summer’s most prolific and versatile vegetables, the almighty zucchini (or courgette for those of you who live in the UK). While I heard people complain of its propensity for blandness, I personally think that its super mild flavour is one of the zucchini’s super powers. It escapes being vegetable typecasted 😉 . It belongs just as well in salad, a summer pasta or these Greek-inspired zucchini fritters as it does in a cake. I swear!

To prove my point, I made a moist zucchini and pistachio cake fragrant with zesty lime, which simply screams summer. Not only do I love its handsome greenish hue, but its nutty and sweet and tangy lime flavour had me at my first test bake, even though the first attempt was far from perfect. It took a few more goes to get the ratios spot on and here it is: zesty zucchini and pistachio cake topped with an optional, but recommended, cashew cream icing for a more luxurious summer treat.

If you cannot be bothered making icing, use a tub of thick vegan coconut yoghurt instead. I tried to cater for a lot of preferences in this recipe so this cake is entirely sweetened with maple syrup. It can also be made without oil and gluten-free too, if you so wish. It works well as a loaf cake and as individual muffins too. I tested them all so take your pick from the options outlined below. Enjoy! x

vegan zucchini bread batter

vegan zucchini bread icing

vegan zucchini bread whole

2 lb / 1 kg
35 min
55 min
2 lb / 1 kg
35 min
55 min


  • 180 ml / ¾ cup maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 50 g / ¼ cup refined coconut oil, melted but cooled or 60 g / ¼ cup smooth almond butter
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup lime juice
  • 240 g / ½ lb / packed 1½ cup, coarsely grated zucchini


  • 190 g / 1½ cups all purpose flour or GF all purpose flour mix (I use this one)
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1¾ tsp baking powder
  • zest of 3 limes
  • 100 g / 1 lightly packed cup finely ground pistachios / pistachio meal*

CASHEW FROSTING (makes 1½ cups)

  • 30-45 ml / 2-3 tbsp coconut milk (I use this brand) or thin plant milk
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup, adjust to taste
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 195 g / 1½ cups raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • chopped nuts, for decoration


  1. Set the oven to 180° C / 355° C. Grease a 1kg / 2lb cake tin with a bit of oil or line it with a piece of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the wet ingredients (apart from the grated zucchini) together.
  3. Next, mix in the grated zucchini.
  4. Place a sieve over the bowl with wet ingredients and sift the first three dry ingredients in. Fold them into the wet ones using a spatula and a gentle clockwise folding motion until no flour pockets remain.
  5. Finally fold in lime zest and ground pistachios until you get a uniform, thick cake batter.
  6. Transfer the batter into a baking tin. Bake for 55 mins (depending on your oven). It’s done when a toothpick comes out fairly clean. Let it cool down completely before removing from the tin and icing.
  7. Once cool, remove from the tin and decorate with chilled frosting and chopped nuts.

CASHEW FROSTING (I recommend making a day ahead!)

  1. Place all the liquids at the bottom of your blender. Start off with 2 tbsp of coconut milk, add the 3rd one later (if needed).
  2. Add about half of the drained and rinsed cashews. Blend until smooth, adding more cashews as the mixture gets thicker and thicker.
  3. At some point, the mixture will become very thick and heavy and your blender may struggle to turn. To remedy this, start making circles on the surface of your mixture (in the direction of the turning blades) with a spatula to prevent air pockets forming under the mixture’s surface. Be careful not to dip the spatula in too deep as you don’t want to accidentally touch the turning blades. If you follow the technique I’ve described above, there is enough moisture in this recipe not to have to use any more liquid, which means you’ll end up with a smooth, creamy and thick frosting.
  4. Place the mixture in the refrigerator (or freezer for 30 mins or so if in a rush) for a few hours to firm up.

You can also bake these as muffins, divide between 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes at 180° C / 355° F.

*If you cannot get pistachio flour in shops, grind them up finely in a coffee grinder or a food processor. Take care not to overprocess as natural oils will release and the flour will start turning into a nut butter.

I used a 2 lb / 900 g cake tin of the following dimensions: 18.5cm x 8cm x 6cm (like this). It holds 8 cups / 2000 ml liquid (to the brim), but the batter should fill no more than 2/3 – 3/4 of the 2lb cake tin or else the cake may not raise.

18 g
16 g
6 g
6 g
39 g
*per serving
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5 reviews, 13 comments
I brought this zucchini bread to a weekend retreat and it was such a hit! The different notes of pistachio and maple syrup came through very tastefully. I'm very satisfied with my overall experience of baking this considering I had never baked a zucchini bread before! This recipe was very easy to follow and make. The only thing I got stuck on was the quantity of limes needed for one batch when including the icing. It can be tricky to figure out how much juice you'll be getting but I was able to make it work perfectly with 3 limes. For some reason, I ended up needing to add 5-6tbsp of coconut milk for the icing and it also made ALOT. Like more than enough for 3 breads :) Fully recommend this recipe!! ❤❤
    I'm so happy to hear that it worked out so well, Veronique and that you had no trouble. Yes, juice content of limes can vary a lot, depending on size and how fresh they are too. If they are hard (not soft when squeezed) they will be relatively dry inside and not juicy. My tip is to roll a whole lime on a counter putting a lot of pressure on it with your palm - this loosens up the flesh inside and makes them release more juice. Finally, when it comes to the frosting, it very much depends on your blender and if you are willing to use my somewhat unorthodox tip I describe in step 3 - it minimises the need for more liquid while keeping the frosting super smooth. x Ania
Hi Ania,
This recipe looks amazing and I'll be trying it this week but I just noticed the quantity of total lime juice 3tbsp + 1/4 cup (I need to make 3 batches). Did you use all fresh lime juice? or the concentrate?
Thank you :) Looking forward to try this!
    Hi Veronique,
    I used fresh limes for both the cake and the icing and I've never used a concentrate but it should work too - just be aware that it's probably more intense. I hope you'll enjoy this cake. Ania
    Also, this is a new version of it in case you prefer.
      Okay great thank you very much Ania! I ended up using fresh, they provided more juice than I expected :) 3 limes per batch for both zest and juice worked out perfectly (including the icing). Currently baking in oven at the moment!
      (This "older" version seems more appealing to me (personally) for sugar source and ingredient choice, but thank you for the reference!)
      You have great recipes!
        Great to hear and I hope you'll enjoy the end result. Ania
I have made this a number of times and it's always perfect. It's now my go-to for any birthday baking, and that icing is out of this world!!!
    Thanks so much, Rosie! I am delighted to hear that you enjoy this recipe so much and that it has become your go-to for your special occasions. And thank you so much for taking the time to review, I really appreciate. x Ania

    PS: I did another zucchini/courgette cake recipe lately and I think I like that one even more. Oh and a chocolate zucchini bread if that's your jam.
This cake has a fresh-nutty taste. I love it! You definetly have to try the recipe💗
    Thank you so much, I am so happy that you enjoyed this cake. x Ania
Do you have any suggestions for substituting the pistachio meal? Do you think sunflower seeds would work?
    Hi Yvonne,
    Any other finely ground nuts (almonds, walnuts) or desiccated coconut ground up. Sunflower seeds should work too but you need to make sure they are very finely ground. Ania
Can I use normal granulated sugar and olive oil to make this.
    Yes, I am pretty sure that would work well. The sugar may not fully dissolve (caster sugar is superfine) but that's not a problem, it will add a little bit of nice texture. Hope you'll enjoy the cake. Ania
Love, love, love this recipe!!!! I needed some new recipes due to an abundance of zucchini's growing in our garden and found this. Made the cake zucchini bread for home (didn't last too long as so tasty) then made it again 2 days later, but this time made it into muffins for my work colleagues.....again lots of happy people. Thank you
    Thank you, Marnie! I am so chuffed to hear that you and your loved ones enjoyed this recipe. And thanks so much for taking the time to let me know - much appreciated! x Ania
The zucchini bread was an absolute hit at a tea party today! No one could believe it was dairy and egg free. There was none left!! The icing is delicious and works perfectly. I took your advice and made it the day before. I will definitely make this again and have already shared the link with 2 people. Thank you so very much for sharing your inspiration.
    I am delighted to hear that, Holly! Thank you so much! xx Ania
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