Monthly Lego Build and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Secret Ingredient

Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?

*Quick note, I forgot to add earlier — after almost two years, I FINALLY figured out how to post my book, SOUP DAY, on the sidebar just days ago!  Yes, I’m kind of technically challenged (or intimidated, shall we say?)  Anyway, if you haven’t already, please check it out — I have almost reached my goal of selling enough copies for the sequel (another cooking related theme)– it’s a fun book for budding cooks! *

OK, back to the regular scheduled blog post:

Yesterday Jamie had a special play date with two friends.  I took the three of them into the city to visit the Lego store at Rockefeller Center where there is a monthly model build every first Tuesday.

Approaching Radio City Music Hall near Times Square. Such city kids.

Each month is a different theme, and each child gets to build the model and keep the original kit (while supplies last).  For the month of May, it was a tulip.

The staff there is incredibly nice and actually let the boys build their own construction using pieces in the bins for sale while waiting for the model build to begin!

Plants v.s. Zombies Zen Garden

If you are ever in the area, the Lego store is a fun visit. There are giant structures as well as fun miniature city scenes all built out of Lego, including Rockefeller Center.  I didn’t take any photos because I had to save our spot in the line.

I wanted to bring a portable snack for the boys to eat on the subway on route, so I made a Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread loaf beforehand.  I cut each slice into cubes and brought it in containers.

This bread is SO moist and full of chocolate flavor, you would never guess it is actually full of nutrients.  It’s also lower in sugar and fat than traditional zucchini bread, because I use applesauce in place of a lot of oil.

Can you guess the secret ingredient yet?  Yep, spinach.  The chocolate masks the flavor completely.  I’ve actually seen chocolate baked goods made with cooked kale, but I haven’t attempted this yet… Kale has a much stronger flavor than spinach, so I am a bit hesitant to try it out.  The spinach, however, works perfectly, I promise.

This bread is an excellent after school snack.  It’s actually good enough in my book to serve for breakfast. πŸ™‚

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (with special ingredient!)

Non-stick spray

1 Β½ cups flour

Β½ teaspoon baking soda

ΒΌ teaspoon baking powder

ΒΌ teaspoon salt

Β½  teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (23 g)

1 cup frozen spinach, or Β½ cup cooked spinach

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini or Β½ medium one)

1 ripe banana, mashed

Β½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

ΒΎ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with parchment and spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder until evenly mixed.
  3. Microwave frozen spinach for about 1 minute on high.  Squeeze out extra water and drain.  Process in a food processor with oil until finely pureed.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Into spinach mixture, add zucchini, banana, applesauce, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Then add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Then stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into lined loaf pan and dot the top with remaining ΒΌ cup chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick or skewer to see if done.  Let cool in pan on a rack for about 30 minutes.  Cut around edges with a knife and carefully lift out onto cooling rack (don’t invert or the chocolate chips will get smashed).
  7. Let cool, cut and serve.


Filed under Children, Desserts, Snack, Vegetables, Vegetarian

89 responses to “Monthly Lego Build and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Secret Ingredient

  1. OMG — look at this! Spinach and zucchini and bananas and applesauce. This is practically the daily requirement of vegetables in one loaf of quick bread.

  2. That looks really tasty!! I don’t eat chocolate, so I probably won’t make it any time soon, but it sure looks moist and delicious. Seems perfect for kiddos!

  3. Melissa, I was teasing Michael yesterday at Souplantation asking if he was going to have the brocolli and chocolate muffin πŸ™‚ He didn’t believe that you could sneak brocolli or spinach into something like that…hee hee! I have to try this! ~ farah aria

  4. Spinach AND zucchini? i am intrigued! I’ve never had zucchini baked anything, but it looks like a fantastically moist result…

  5. We all love chocolate and I find it amazing that you packed so many other healthy ingredients. I am sure this bread will please even the pickiest of eaters and I know kids can be very picky. Impressive creation and I think it is cool that legoland has the monthly build event. Hard to find good activities for the kids these days. Enjoy the afternoon!

  6. Julian would love to go there!!! He is a lego fanatic! Sounds like a fantastic play date. The zucchini bread looks really good. I have never had chocolate zucchini bread but I think I would like it better than the plain. πŸ™‚

  7. What a sneaky way to feed vegetables! Oh well if you can’t taste it, then doesn’t matter since all you would be tasting are the dense chocolatey flavours πŸ™‚

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. This sounds great! Chocolate is a perfect way to hide veggies! I have tried kale before, and yes, it is a bit more obvious.

  9. Sounds like a fantastic outing for the boys, Melissa! I love sneaking vegetables in my cooking but I haven’t tried it much in baking. I can’t WAIT to try your recipe – I know Bebe E and Nene are both going to love it. Me too, for all the chocolaty goodness. πŸ™‚ They’ll never know all the good stuff is hidden in there! Perfect!

  10. Love the addition of the spinach to this! You would never notice with the zucchini. This looks delicious and I love that it has extra nutritional goodness :)!

  11. I love finding recipes that bulk up on veggies – especially if I can have chocolate with them too!

  12. Belinda Yamagishi

    These have been a favourite at our house recently as we get an organic bag with lots of beetroot in it.

    Chocolate Beetroot Cake and Beetroot Seed cake. Find the recipes on the pages

    You can fool the children with the first one but the second one is more for adults. Takeshi and I love it. I will definitely try your enhanced chocolate cake. Sounds and looks brilliant.

    Please come back to London sometime soon and we can all go to Legoland.

    • SOOO great to hear from you, Belinda!! I will have to look at those recipes. I saw one yesterday that was like a Red Velvet Cake, but instead of food coloring, they used beets, so maybe it is similar. Denis hates beets, so I would have to do this all in secret somehow and make him try it before telling him.

      We would love to see you again in London — we have such fond memories of that time. Yes, Legoland in England would be amazing!!!! πŸ™‚
      Hugs to all of you!

  13. Spinach is a great idea. I must try your version soon. Congratulations on top 9 today. πŸ™‚

  14. What a great looking bread. I love all the healthy stuff going on here. I am a sucker for anything with chocolate chips on top. We are a big lego family here. Not just my two boys, my husband and I are also big lego fans. : )

  15. kat

    sounds and looks amazing! I may have to give this a try!

  16. Thanks a million for the recipe! I will be trying this over the weekend! I just love baked goods (especially chocolate stuff) with a healthy kick in it!

  17. What a great idea. Eat your veggies. No one will know there’s spinach. Great post and photos!

  18. Great sounding recipe! What could I use to replace the banana – banana and chocolate are not my favorite combination.

  19. Great sounding recipe! What could I replace the banana with as banana and chocolate are not my favorite combination? thanks

    • You could replace the banana with more zucchini. And just omit the chocolate, but maybe add more spices — more cinnamon, and maybe some allspice and nutmeg. Then it would be more like traditional zucchini bread.

  20. Yummmm. I’m so glad you made the top 9 so that I was able to find this! This is totally my kind of recipe. Secret ingredients are my thing πŸ™‚

  21. This recipe seems too healthy to be true! Zucchini, spinach, banana, and applesauce! Gee it’s like a chocolate covered salad πŸ˜› Congratz on making the top 9

  22. DB

    I might give this a try. Always looking for ways to get my toddler to eat her veggies. Congratulations on making Foodbuzz Top 9!

  23. This looks great — I can’t wait to try it πŸ™‚

  24. Wow! you made me so happy with this recipe… If it wasn’t already midnight I would start making it right away…
    Love it!!

  25. Spinach in bread? Never thought I’d see the day! However this recipe sounds & looks amazing. You are one clever baker!

  26. Becky

    I’m new here and was wondering do you know the calorie exct. count ?

    • You know what, I was planning on doing this, but I lost the paper I wrote the final weight of the whole loaf on! Grrr. I hate when I do that. But I can calculate it based on the ingredients, and then divide it by the number of slices of the loaf. It’s not as exact as calculating by ounce or gram though. I use for the ingredient nutritional information.

      I am actually making this bread again on Tuesday for a cooking project I’m involved in, and I’ll weigh it then and give you the exact amount then.

      • Becky

        THANK YOU! that is so sweet, WOW!

      • Hi again,
        I made the loaf yesterday and this time I weighed it — it’s quite dense at 32.4 ounces — a little over 2 lbs.! So when calculating the calorie counts, I came up with 1 oz. = 58 calories, 2.3 g fat, 1.5 g protein, 29 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, .9 g fiber, and 7 g sugar.
        This pretty much equals what I said about a 1/2 ” slice, which would be around 2 oz., so double the amounts. A thin slice equals the above. Hope this helps!

      • Becky

        Thank you for taking the time to do this. It is low in calls and I’m going to the kitchen to BAKE! My husband will love this and it is healthy. Thanks again ;~)

  27. Jessica

    I will try this next week. It looks so good and my 4 year old is obsessed over my pumpkin bread it would be nice to have something else healthy she will eat. Do you know how many calories are in a slice? Thanks!

    • I will do it and write you back (see reply to “Becky”). Have to make dinner at the moment!

    • It depends on the slice, but the slices are a little over 1/2″ thick, it comes to 118 calories, 4.7 g fat, 1.4 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 59 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 14 g sugar.

      If you want to reduce the carbs and sugar, I would omit or lessen the amount of chocolate chips — that adds a lot! However, it makes it really tasty and gooey and chocolate-y on top — more like a cake than a “bread”. Also you could use baking Splenda, but I prefer to use natural ingredients, and have not tried it before…

    • I redid the counts by weight and this is what I came up with:
      1 oz. = 58 calories, 2.3 g fat, 1.5 g protein, 29 mg sodium, 13 g carbs, .9 g fiber, and 7 g sugar.
      This pretty much equals what I said about a 1/2 ” slice, which would be around 2 oz., so double the amounts. A thin slice equals the above. Hope this helps!

  28. Kerre Gadoury

    Do you know how many weight watcher points????
    Thanks!!! Looks delicious! Fun for all ages!

    • Sorry, I don’t know how to calculate Weight Watcher points!

      But if you wanted to make it less caloric, you could omit the chocolate chips (that adds a lot of calories without much nutrients) or reduce the amount. Also, you could use baking Splenda in place of the granulated sugar — I’ve never used it, but I have seen it in low carb recipes.

    • A commenter, Rivkie, said it is 3 points if you divide into 16 slices and only use 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

  29. I’m learning that spinach is a great sneaky ingredient in just about everything! Lovely recipe, darling πŸ™‚

    And the tulip is awesome!

  30. Wow, this is indeed a very nutritious bread recipe which I will definitely try. πŸ˜‰

  31. Jenny

    I am making this tonight… and while making it I noticed whoever typed it up forgot to add some ingrediants in the recipe taht are listed… i mean they obviously go in but i was like ummm i have things left to put in lol… cant wait to try it soon πŸ™‚ thanks

  32. Rivkie

    Do you think this will come out good in individual muffins?

  33. Rivkie

    Weight watcher points plus = 3 points if you divide into 16 pieces and only use 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

  34. Munapua

    LOVED it……… Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  35. vintagesugarcube

    Oh my! Genius. I’ve made bread with Spinacy and zucchini and banana, but never all together. Looks sooooo darn good. I’m officially on a diet, so I will have to try sooooon. πŸ™‚

  36. Carol

    Thanks for this delicious looking recipe. With all the summer fruits starting to come in, I”m looking for ways to cook it and store it as well as provide it to foods that can be made quickly and I came across your blog from another cite where someone tried to change your recipe (but I can do without the tofu and speciality sugars and stick with the basic recipe you have here and doctor it up myself). I’m gonna make this tonight and add walnuts in mine since they’re great for your health as well. This seems so healthy and decadent at the same time especially with deep, dark chocolate. I’m also going to try it with the stronger, leafy greens like kale, collards and broccoli. I’m sure the addition of spices can mask the flavor especially if using a fruit like cherries, strawberries or raspberries which have a stronger flavor than banana and compliment dark chocolate unlike any other berries.

    • Let me know how it goes with the berries instead of banana and the kale and collards instead of spinach!

      Also — can you send me the link of the other site that had it with tofu? I’m curious. Thanks!

  37. Kathy E.

    I found your recipe on Pinterest and was seriously interested! I made it today and even though I was skeptical as I poured the GREEN batter into the pan, I kept an open mind. OMGoodness, when this was barely cool enough to eat, we fell in love! NO ONE here guessed what was inside and since the bread turned a delicious shade of deep chocolate, I didn’t have to fess up at all! Way to go on creating an awesome recipe! We will enjoy this many, many times.

  38. Pingback: Double Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake | Microns Tech

  39. Thanks for finally writing about >Monthly Lego Build and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Secret
    Ingredient | The Hungry Artist <Loved it!

  40. Germaine

    I have been making this recipe for years – thank you for sharing it! I love it.

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