Oil-Free Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Muffins

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on August 6, 2012

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I never considered myself a big zucchini fan until this summer. Farmer’s market zucchini is what really sold me; before then, I could take it or leave it. I was used to buying small, shriveled up zucchini from the grocery store, so when I tried freshly picked zucchini it was a game changer. My favourite way to prepare it is to sauté green and yellow zucchini with patty pan squash in a bit of olive oil, Herbamare, and pepper. It’s so simple and incredibly tasty.

This morning I took advantage of our holiday Monday and made zucchini muffins for breakfast. I’ve had great luck in the past with oil-free zucchini bread and I hoped these muffins would follow suit. They are fairly low in sugar, completely oil-free, and have a nice dose of crunchy walnuts for healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These aren’t your typical heavy and dense muffins; they are light as a feather and almost cupcake-like in texture. I enjoy them with a pat of soy-free Earth Balance to add a bit of moisture and buttery flavour.

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From start to finish, they were ready in 30 minutes flat. Not too shabby!

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Oil-Free Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Muffins

Lightly sweet, whole wheat, and oil-free, these muffins make a special breakfast or take along snack. I love them with a pat of soy-free Earth balance to add a bit of moisture. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour works well in this recipe to create light muffins that are still 100% whole grain. You can also use all-purpose flour if that’s all you have on hand. I don’t recommend subbing the pastry flour for regular whole wheat flour as the muffins will likely turn out too dry and dense.

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Adapted from: Oil-Free Zucchini Bread.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins


  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 & 1/4 cup lightly packed shredded zucchini, skin left on
  • 1 & 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray muffin with oil or grease with Earth Balance.

2. Mix flax egg in a small bowl and set aside. Grate zucchini using a grater box (regular grate size). Set aside.

3. Mix almond milk and apple cider vinegar (or sub fresh lemon juice) in a small bowl and set aside. It will curdle, but this is the point as we’re making vegan buttermilk.

4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar).

5. Mix together the wet ingredients (flax egg, almond milk mixture, maple syrup, and vanilla) and then pour over dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and shredded zucchini.

6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin filling each tin 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes at 350F, or until muffins slowly spring back when touched. A toothpick should come out mostly clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. With a knife, loosen around the muffin edge and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool.

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Have a great Civic Day to those of you celebrating the long weekend! I’m off to enjoy the last couple hours of the afternoon by the water. Why does three days of weekend always seem to fly by just as fast?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

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Nicola March 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm

It’s zucchini-glut season here in NZ and I made these to use up a couple! I substituted gluten-free baking mix for the flour, left out the salt and cut down the baking powder. They are DIVINE!

Thanks so much for the recipe Angela – it’s definitely a keeper. Going to share with my tribe!



Helen March 10, 2016 at 12:24 am

Love them! Since changing our diet for health reasons (which has meant WFPB style) I have tried quite a few recipes that would suffice for giving kids when we feel like a baked treat. Sadly many recipes to date have not been successful (or they contain too much oil for our liking) until we found your blog and bought your cook book. In this recipe I used 85% chocolate and also supplemented some cacao powder with some carob powder, but followed everything else to the letter. They were so much lighter than other cake style recipes (even with whole wheat flour), and just the perfect amount of sweetness. Thank you for spending the time coming up with these yummy recipes. We’re eating your empowered two way noodle bowl tonight, and just finished making your almond milk recipe.


Angela Liddon March 10, 2016 at 8:44 am

Hi Helen, I’m so happy you’ve been enjoying the blog and cookbook. Thank you for taking the time to let me know! It’s always wonderful to hear my recipes are helping someone enjoy a satisfying transition to a more plant-based diet.


Wendy May 19, 2016 at 2:59 pm

This recipe calls for 2 Tbls baking powder but your cookbook only calls for 1-1/2 teaspoons. I went with the smaller amount. Eating one hot out of the oven and I think they are going to be dense. Will have to make a note in my cookbook.


Jewel August 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm

This enticing recipe in your “Oh She Glow’s” printed cookbook calls for 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Here / online, you call for 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda. What works best? I look forward to making it soon… Thank you!


Dee August 7, 2017 at 10:56 am

Please, oh please reply! Thank you, Angela!


Linda August 24, 2016 at 6:30 am

I make these muffins all the time but would like to make it in loaf form. Would this work? Would I need to make any adjustments? Thank you


Jessica S. September 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

I just found this recipe and I LOVE them. I’ve made them three batches in the past couple of weeks.


Christine Scott October 5, 2016 at 6:27 am

Made these for a luncheon at work and they were accepted and loved by all!
Keeping in mind 90% are not vegan ,vegetarian and certainly not oil free.
Thank you for all your great recipes,



Angela Liddon October 5, 2016 at 8:40 am

Glad to hear the muffins were a hit, Christine! :)


Danielle November 10, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Do you know if this could be made into a cake ?


Jen February 5, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Hi there- love these muffins! How are they for freezing?


Angela Liddon February 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm

So happy you enjoy the recipe, Jen! They freeze well in an airtight container, and thaw beautifully.


Hannah February 5, 2017 at 9:48 pm

How would you recommend that leftovers be stored? I’m not sure if I should leave them at room temperature of refrigerate them (or if refrigerating them would dry them out…)



Angela Liddon March 17, 2017 at 9:41 am

Hey Hannah, So sorry for the delay in getting back to you on this! I’d recommend storing the muffins in your fridge in a sealed, airtight container (that’ll help keep them from drying out). Hope this helps for next time. :)


Marisa August 20, 2017 at 9:40 am

I just made these from your book and they are DELICIOUS!!! My husband likes them too and we especially like that they are not too sweet.


Nicky August 31, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Hi! Any idea if these would work with a gluten free flour? I see lots of questions about gluten free but I’m not sure I see any responses!




Angela Liddon September 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Hi there Nicky, I’m sorry, I haven’t tried it myself! But I think a number of readers tested the muffins with an all-purpose gluten-free flour and had success with it. If you decide to give the swap a try, I’d love to hear how it goes for you, too!


Scholar Mama October 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe! My family, more importantly my kids, love it! I made a couple of minor adjustments for my little ones.

I added a link to your book and this recipe on my site.


Kimberly November 13, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Do you use plain cocoa powder or the “Dutch processed” kind?


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 14, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Hey Kimberly, I use Cusine Camino “Dutch-Processed” Cocoa Powder most often. Hope this helps!


Ellie April 14, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Almond allergies any alternatives
No gluten
Can I use Apple sauce instead of cane sugar?
Can flour be switched to Teff and how much?


SK May 14, 2018 at 8:46 am

We LOVE these. I omit the nuts in case I have people over with nut allergies, and add mashed bananas. Bake a few minutes more, and they are a hit, every time. I sneak in more chocolate too :) This recipe has never failed me – I make these 2 times a week, and I double the recipe. My kids take these to school for their daily snack. Great for freezing as well. Wait, they do not last that long!


Teri June 17, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Another excellent recipe! I had my friend Marisa over for coffee and she was delighted when I served the muffins. They were sooooo delicious!!! I did not see where I could give it a FIVE STAR rating!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2018 at 7:56 am

That’s so great to hear Teri, thank you! :)


Cali June 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

Could I make these wheat free?


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 19, 2018 at 10:31 am

Hey cali, Good question! I haven’t tested it with another flour yet. I would like to try light spelt flour at some point. :)


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