Food

Zucchini Muffins for Back-to-School Breakfasts

Zucchini Muffins for Back-to-School Breakfasts

It’s back-to-school time, which means early alarms and packing lunches and sprinting to the bus stop and reminding the kids to eat-your-breakfast-brush-your-teeth-pack-your-bag-tie-your-shoes and, well, we miss August. To solve at least one piece of the morning puzzle, we enlisted Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen

“The only thing saving me right now is having breakfasts already made,” says Sara. “The kind the kids can grab while I am getting ready: hard-boiled eggs, bananas, healthy muffins. I leave everything on the bottom shelf of the fridge so they can help themselves and we’re all out the door on time.”

We love the idea of grab-and-go breakfasts and asked her to share one of her kids’ favorites: these zucchini muffins, packed with vegetables plus healthy fats and fiber. Best of all, you can make them ahead of time and they freeze beautifully.

Zucchini Muffins for Back-to-School Breakfasts

Zucchini Muffins
Recipe by Sara Forte for Sprouted Kitchen

These are on the low end of the sweet scale, so if you want them to be more like a treat, add a few more tablespoons of sugar. If you’d like to turn it into a loaf, you can bake the batter in a greased loaf pan for closer to 45 minutes, sticking a toothpick in the center to make sure it isn’t too wet.

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium/large)
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil (or avocado oil or coconut oil)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or superfine rice flour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks
turbinado sugar, to finish, optional

Start by grating the zucchini. Put them in a fine mesh sieve and press out excess water. Preheat the oven to 360°F and grease a muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla, vinegar and buttermilk or yogurt, until well combined. Add the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar; and stir until combined. Add the zucchini and chocolate and fold it all in.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full (they don’t rise much) and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top, if using. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until golden around the edge and a little tap on the center bounces back at you.

Remove to cool completely. Keep covered at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge or freezer any longer than that.

A split and toasted muffin is the best muffin, but straight out of the hand is delicious, too.

Thank you Sara. We feel calmer already! (We also love your muffin cup frittatasberry overnight oats and Cooking Club.)

P.S. Back-to-school rituals and quick family dinners.

(Photos by Hugh Forte for Sprouted Kitchen.)

  1. Ellie says...

    Can you use plain Greek yogurt or does it need to be regular yogurt?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m sure that would be fine!

  2. April says...

    I made these this afternoon, they were a hit w my crew! two notes though — I didn’t adjust the sugar and it was more than enough. Sweet like a regular muffin/cake. I would not want to put any additional in. and second, I would skip the chocolate chips next time. many of them sank to the bottom of these very tender cakes, making them difficult to remove and such that big chunks of the muffins were left behind.

  3. These look great! Definitely a good idea to pack in some nutrition and vitamins into something that feels like a dessert.

    Dee

  4. Madhura says...

    This looks delish! Going to attempt it later this weekend. A question though- can I swap out the cane sugar with honey/ maple syrup? If yes, would it still be 1/2 cup of honey/ maple syrup? Got tons of delicious maple syrup from Vermont sitting in the fridge m.

  5. Holly says...

    Just made them – these are GOOD! I didn’t have almond flour so I just used 1.5 cups of all-purpose and it was fine. My kids didn’t even notice the zucchini and basically acted like I was giving them cake for breakfast. Next time I’ll do more zucchini and fewer chocolate chips… I mean I’m glad they liked them but I didn’t need THAT much enthusiasm ;-)

  6. Amanda says...

    My mom made muffins almost identical to these when I was growing up, and I still know EXACTLY how they taste <3 the best!

  7. Oh my, those look SO good! I definitely would eat these for breakfast, well, actually, I would eat those anytime!

  8. Allison says...

    I made these right away – so delicious! One of my kids gobbled it up, while the other (shockingly) refused because of the chocolate chips?? never mind the fact that she eats chocolate chips by the HANDFUL. Kids……
    Thanks also for an awesome (and healthy!) gluten free baked good – my daughter has celiac, and I’m always on the hunt for healthy baked goods to send to school for lunches and snacks.

  9. Jessica Camerata says...

    Well these look absolutely delicious! Love a good muffin with some healthy foods in it!

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

  10. Jenna C says...

    I’m so happy to see SK on here, it’s been my favorite alongside Smitten Kitchen for almost 7 years…

  11. Ludmila says...

    Looks amazing. Don’t you think about measurements in grams? For the zucchini it will be big help. Thank you

  12. Abesha1 says...

    Oat flour is wonderful in muffins (in place of any of the flours here, whichever might not work for you) and can help you cut the sugar further because it’s naturally sweeter. Then you can add dried cranberries!!! I even prefer them to chocolate!

  13. Jaclyn says...

    Sara is amazing! Since joining Cooking Club (a year ago!!) we’ve had easy, healthy and delicious meals every week – keeps us out of rut, gives us lots of options and have kept waste to a minimum! Have always been an SK fan and love cooking club!!

    • Shannon says...

      Another SK Cooking Club stan here! It has saved my life while working full time and going to grad school.

  14. liz says...

    Another recipe my nut/egg allergy kid can’t eat. :( Breakfasts are the hardest. Would love some tips!

    • Carole says...

      I hear you Liz!! I am severely allergic to eggs and dairy… so breakfast is basically non existent for me too!! However with these muffins I feel like you could sub a flax egg (1 TBSP Flax meal and 3 TBSP water mixed together) or maybe 1/2 cup of apple sauce and I think it would work great! I feel like muffins are more forgiving! Hope this helps :)

    • Jkn says...

      Try making it with all purpose flour (for the almond flour) and flax eggs! We have a lot of food stuff to work around in my family. The more you experiment with substitutes the more comfortable you get with what might work. Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes not but this recipe seems pretty amenable to substitutions. 💜

    • Lizzie says...

      Cold cereal? Hot cereal? Fruit? Cottage cheese?Yogurt? Toast? English muffins? Scrambled tofu? Grits, quinoa, polenta? Sausage, veggie sausage?

    • Erin says...

      You can use flax eggs or applesauce, and all regular flour and I’m sure these turn out fine. You could probably even use greek yogurt if you want to make up some of the protein from the nuts!

    • Danielle Firth says...

      I made these today and used coconut flour instead of almond flour and my kids loved them.

    • Danielle says...

      Not sure if this is available in the US, but I use the Deliciously Ella app for vegan breakfasts. She has loads of options and most of the nuts are easily removed. Lots of breakfast bars and muffins!

    • Erica says...

      Sunflower seed flower is also a great sub for almond flour (it has the right density and fat content). The baking soda in this recipe will turn it bright green (because of the chlorophyll in the seeds) – which you can either lean into or counteract with cream of tartar. And flax eggs are a perfect baking sub for real eggs.

    • Erica says...

      *sunflower seed flour

  15. I love that you featured Sara and Sprouted Kitchen! I’ve been following her for years (proud member of the Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club, too!) and her recipes seriously never disappoint.

    • Beth says...

      EXACTLY.❤️ seriously. the best ever.

  16. Yay Sara! She’s so great at healthy, flavorful, no fuss food. Love her stuff!

    • Elisheva says...

      I love sprouted kitchen so much! Has totally changed my life.

  17. Season says...

    Like everyone else is sharing, I LOVE it! It brings some much-needed variety to our weekly meal planning, and I trust Sara’s food choices. Plus the cost is low, so if I don’t fully use all the ideas, I don’t mind!

  18. Jessica says...

    Oh my goodness, I cannot wait to try these! They look delicious. I don’t have kids, but I am a college student. Having ready to go breakfast is a must for when I’m running late or don’t want to get up early in the morning to make breakfast. I also think my roommate would love these as well.

  19. Laura C. says...

    If only I had an OVEN 😩, I have a ton of zucchini from my cottage!

  20. Sarah says...

    I was just telling my husband how my grandmother would give me these for breakfast and I would have to google the recipe for my toddler. I’m pretty sure she added a few chocolate chips to make them extra enticing :) They tasted great when they were warmed up!

  21. K says...

    Not the point of this post, but wouldn’t it be nice if school wasn’t so early and overbearing and harried and K-12* students could leisurely have a morning to themselves and calmly get to their classes?

    *Or from I notice, junior high and high school students. Most pre-puberty/ elementary school kids without too demanding a workload seem to have all the energy in the world to wake up early and play.

    • Starla says...

      Yes! I wish school started at 9am.

    • Anne says...

      Our elementary school starts at 9:25AM – it’s still a hustle. (Kids!!!)

    • laetitia says...

      In theory, I would like that too, but as a working mom, later start time would be really challenging…

    • Hilary says...

      Our local middle schools do a 9 AM start, but that’s largely for bussing logistics. In general, late starts are challenging for working parents and often interfere with after school activities like sports. Our middle schools do not do school sports teams because the school day doesn’t end til 4. My school does late start days once a month, and the students are still just as rushed because they sleep in later and have the same amount of time to get ready in the morning. The teacher in me would looove later starts because 10 years in, I still hate waking up at 5:30 am!

      *Side note: I feel kids are way overscheduled in sports and other extracurriculars in general, but that’s a post for another day…

  22. Amy says...

    Oh nice! Thank you for the option of rice flour. I’ve never heard of it! I’ve got some diet challenges (hopefully temporary!) and I think if I sub out the buttermilk for almond milk this is do-able for me. Yay! Off to check out the Sprouted Kitchen website….

    • Kara says...

      Is it’s a dietary option for you, consider using coconut yogurt instead of almond milk. It’s still dairy free but I’ve had more luck subbing it for things like this since it has more body.

    • Amy says...

      Thank you, Kara! I will do that! xo

  23. Jessica says...

    Quick comment on rice flour. Recently, arsenic levels in rice has become a real concern (it’s a natural biproduct of cultivation due to how rice is grown in water, so switching to organic, or something doesn’t matter). In small amounts, probably not a big concern, but since arsenic is a poison in larger amounts, it’s probably best to limit your wee ones consumption.

    • These muffins are great! They have more recipes like this in the Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club and would recommend it! They do a great job with healthy, reasonable to cook, tasty food.

  24. Audrey says...

    these sound great for a quick kiddo breakfast! Question: Can *only* almond flour be used to make them gluten-free?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      You can swap, but Sara recommends replacing the 3/4 cup of almond flour with 1/2 cup all-purpose. From Sara: “AP is much more absorbent than almond meal. I don’t think it would make a huge deal if you used the same amount, they would just be a bit drier.”

    • Audrey says...

      thank you!!!

  25. Beatrice says...

    Can I replace the almond flour with all purpose?

  26. Stef says...

    Do I need to use almond flour or can I use all-purpose flour instead?

  27. KL says...

    Love the idea. My kids are almost great eaters but this would be a HARD NO from my kids :(

    • ANDREA says...

      Have you tried zucchini bread? You can’t taste the squash. You just taste delightfulness, and cinnamon.

    • Hilary says...

      Cookie and Kate has carrot muffins that might be appealing! Her blog also has apple muffins and some other great choices that are whole grain and naturally sweetened. Ambitious Kitchen has my favorite pumpkin and banana muffins (and with a few strategically placed chocolate chips on top maybe the kids would go for them?). You’re doing great mama!

    • Rebecca says...

      I peel the zucchini so my kids can’t spot the green

    • K says...

      you guys are BRILLIANT with these suggestions. Thank you.

  28. Hilary says...

    These look delicious! I’m fully onboard with breakfast being an easy meal, so I like to keep the freezer stocked. Ambitious Kitchen’s blog has my fave recipes; super healthy muffins and quick breads that are naturally sweetened, whole grain, etc. My little one is a toddler, but I give her the same breakfast every morning until she tires of it and we switch. I figure she gets enough variety the rest of the day and I want to minimize the morning chaos. Other secrets? Prep snacks/lunches the night before (or I prefer to do several days at a time). Lay out clothes the night before (or even Sunday for the whole week!) and a drop zone where we keep our bags/lunch boxes/shoes, etc. so we can just head out the door and don’t have to hunt for our socks and such.

    • Maggie says...

      I used to love cooking from SK! These days I’ve gravitated towards NYT cooking recipes. Thanks for the heads up on the cooking club – I just signed up!

  29. celeste says...

    If anyone’s tried Cooking Club, please post about it! Thanks.

    • Riley says...

      I made a few batches of these to freeze for the postpartum period, and they were the BEST middle of the night snack. I microwaved them for about 20 seconds and they were warm with little pockets of gooey chocolate.

    • Jena Miller says...

      Hi Celeste!

      I started the Cooking Club around week 20 (we are at week 53 now) and have since gone back and purchased all previous weeks because it’s truly THAT good. Hands down the best money I’ve ever spent on recipes (compared to cookbooks, NYT, etc.). I love that the week recipes frequently build on each other so I choose to meal prep if I want but they are also quick enough that if I’ve done no prep I can get dinner on the table after work without too much pain. Wide variety of foods served and I LOVE how Sara offers swaps or suggestions on how to repurpose leftovers for lunch the next day.

      It’s become a running joke in our household that my husband can pick out which meals came from “that cooking blog” because they are his favorites each week.

      If you do decide to join, a few of our favorite meals that we make a least twice a month are:
      – Salmon Tacos
      – Breakfast Tacos for Dinner (amazing weeknight dinner that comes together in 15 minutes flat but also served it buffet style a couple of weeks ago when friends came over and it was a huge hit)
      – Loaded Greek Fries (OMG)
      – Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (always make a double batch of the filling and freeze half so dinner in the future comes together in less than 10 minutes)
      – Mexican Stuffed Peppers
      – Broiled Banana Splits w/ coconut caramel sauce
      – Grilled Summer Skewers w/ peach & cilantro mint sauce

      Happy cooking!

    • Katie says...

      Sprouted kitchen cooking club is a game changer! I love that Sarah offers healthy, delicious and flavorful recipes each week. I’ve preached the gospel of the cooking club to many of my family members and a bunch of us are hooked- my sister-in-law and I chat about which recipes we’ve made that week! I really love that the recipes are so versatile/adaptable.

    • Jamey says...

      I love everything from Spouted kitchen. I have made her zucchini muffins and they are delicious. I have been cooking exclusively from her cooking club since it started a year ago. It is a life saver! Fresh, healthy, creative recipes in my inbox with a shopping list each week. The recipes are always fantastic with suggestions for changes for dietary restrictions, ideas to make them kid friendly. It makes cooking dinner more enjoyable and takes away the dread of planning what we should eat week to week. I highly recommend.

    • Lindsey says...

      Cooking Club is the best!! I don’t have kids, or have eating restrictions, but she makes tons of suggestions for making things kid-friendly, dairy-free, etc. She’s very, very accommodating in that way. I love it because even though I LOVE meal planning, sometimes I don’t have the energy or time, but then I have one hour until work is done, and have no idea what to make for dinner. I go to cooking club, pick something from that week (or from a previous week; all former recipes since you became a member are forever in your archives to access), print off her PRE-MADE grocery list and the recipe and I can swing by the store on the way home. I always reach for Sara’s food because it’s healthy, filling, easy, and SO delicious. She is the queen of sauces and interesting combinations. It’s just so nice to have someone plan half your meals for you (there’s three main meals and either a dessert or breakfast bake, sometimes a special drink), give you the grocery list, and all you have to do is go to the store and not think and not get trapped in a rut of spaghetti and meatballs or frozen dinners. Highly, highly recommend. I tell literally everyone about it.

    • Charlotte says...

      It is amazing! I have loved being a part since last fall. SKCC helps me to get out of my ruts and gets me excited about making dinner. My kitchen is being renovated right now and it’s KILLING ME not to be able to cook along with the cooking club!

    • Catie says...

      Celeste,
      I’ve been participating/subscribing to the Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club since day 1 and it’s absolutely worth the investment! Gone are the days of meal planning on Sundays, grocery lists, and Sara even makes prep suggestions for the week to make your life that much easier! I look forward to the new recipes every week and honestly, gift the subscription for weddings, birthdays, Christmases, etc. I would 100 percent give the subscription a chance if you’re thinking about it!

    • Amy says...

      I joined the Sprouted Kitchen cooking club when it began and am obsessed. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sara’s recipes on her blog and in her cookbooks, and she offers that same quality consistently to her cooking club. The recipes are healthy, manageable, and delicious, and you can find most of the ingredients at Trader Joe’s.

      I have a 5, 3, and 1 year old, and while they’re not exactly picky, they’d be happy to eat the standard kid-diet of chicken nuggets, pizza, and mac and cheese if I let them. Luckily, Sara offers suggestions for adapting her meals to accommodate children, with successful results in my experience.

      I am SO glad I signed up, as a lot of these recipes have become staples – tandoori wraps, spaghetti squash bake, various turkey burgers and tacos, kale salads. It’s worth it just to have access to her sauce recipes alone! Highly, highly recommended.

    • Mj says...

      Love SKCC!!! I’ve been a member since week 1. We have three children (one an infant) and the recipes are seriously enjoyed by all of us. It’s funny, if I make something new and my husband loves it he will ask, “from sprouted kitchen?” And the answer is “yes!!” :)

    • I LOVE the Cooking Club! I love how easy it is (the shopping list is a godsend!), I love being exposed to new things and adding them to my repertoire. Sara has a unique perspective on healthy, delicious and must importantly satisfying food I want to eat again and again.
      I feel like Cooking Club offers just the right amount of recipes to help my week but not overwhelm me. It’s such a great way to learn and try new recipes that’s not intimidating. Totally recommend it!!

    • Paige says...

      Truly the best. I trust Sara more than any other food blogger on the internet. Her flavors are sophisticated and delicious, but they truly are easy to make. One thousand times over, do it.

    • Hannah G says...

      Just like everyone else says, do it! I loooove meal planning, but if things get extra busy or if I’m feeling stuck in a cooking rut, I subscribe for a month or two or three. My whole family loves the food and I have grown as a cooking as I’ve gone through it.

    • Jen says...

      I love her cooking club! The recipes are delicious and the instructions are crisp and clear. She even provides a shopping list with a feature that allows you to deselect any ingredients you already have on hand. Plus, she offers great swaps and modifications for kids, vegetarians, etc.

      Would absolutely recommend!

    • Shannon says...

      Celeste, it has really saved me while I’ve been working full time and in grad school on top of that. I love that I don’t get recipe fatigue, don’t have to spend time planning what to eat, and the ingredients are easy to find and prioritize veggies and other in-season produce. I was considering signing up for a blue apron type subscription but my boyfriend was (rightfully!) wary about all the plastic. This allows us to shop ourselves and we only buy what we need for the recipes so there is less food waste, too.

    • Melissa Blackwelder says...

      Have been a member of sprouted kitchens cooking club since day 1 and cannot say enough great things about it! Love to cook but also as a busy mama sometimes the meal planning portion of that becomes stressful. SKCC has made that so easy and Sara always gives helpful swaps or additions for different dietary needs. Her recipes always come out SO good and it was hands down the best monthly gift I gifted our family over a year ago!

    • Ro says...

      Can I ask as well (to those of you who have tried Cooking Club), do many of the recipes involve the oven? We live in the pacific northwest (no air conditioning) in an apartment and using the oven makes our apartment soooooo hot from about May-September. I rarely turn it on during these months. I joined a similar service previously, but found I quit using it in the summer because it kept requiring the oven to go on and my whole apartment would turn into a furnace. Thanks!