buckwheat apple zucchini bread


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’d be aware that my mother has an apple tree at the rear of her garden. It’s an espalier of sorts, trained to grow parallel to the back fence of her city apartment’s courtyard. Despite the confines of a garden bed, it produces a beautiful glut of organic fruit every year; plump, knobbly and subtly sweet under a crisp green skin.

Funnily enough, my mother purchased the plant with the intention of growing a Manjimup ‘Pink Lady‘, a tribute to John Cripps and our home state. However, the green apples never developed their trademark blush of pink and we figure the variety is a ‘Golden Delicious’ with nursery mislabelling.

Whatever the variety, it always feels like a privilege to participate in the growth and harvest of homegrown fruit each year. When I was at home, I used to regularly mulch, water and thin out the apple blossoms, but these days my job mostly consists of picking the high-growing fruit. And eating them, of course.

lokiapple leafflat

So back to the annual apple harvest: this time each year, I start jotting down ideas for making buttery pies and glossy tarte tatins. Occasionally I’ll follow through, but more often than not the apples become crisp salads, coleslaws and the occasional moist apple cake with cream.

This year was no different. After a few weeks of waiting for this year’s apples, I had a list of potential recipes including a rustic galette and sugar-dusted jalousie. But after squirrelling them home, I ate one, dipping the crisp, juicy wedges dipped into homemade cinnamon almond butter. Accompanied by a mug of rooibos tea, there didn’t seem to be need for much else.


Since that first day, I’ve done a little more ‘proper cooking’ with the apple harvest. I’ve sliced one into julienne, tossing it into a salad with radishes, soft herbs and mustard vinaigrette. I also stewed one for breakfast with some soft local figs and a vanilla pod, adorning it with thick coconut cream (skimmed from the top of a chilled can of coconut milk) and toasted walnuts.

Today, I made this gluten-free loaf full of buckwheat and ground almonds, gently mixed with some grated apples, mashed bananas and a zucchini that was languishing in the vegetable crisper. It tastes glorious; dense, moist and incredibly filling due to the inclusion of buckwheat protein, almond meal and pounded flax. I’ve eaten two doorstop slices at various points in the day, both toasted under the grill until browned before being topped with melted Nuttelex. They’ve accelerated my Monday happiness ten-fold.

So I’m making a bold statement: if you have a tendency towards three-thirty-itis or the dreaded lunchtime ‘hangry‘ face, this loaf is for you. Buckwheat zucchini bread, healing workplace relationships since 2016.



This buckwheat loaf is completely gluten-free, egg-free, vegan and refined sugar free, though you can easily sub rice malt syrup for honey and flaxseed for an egg or two if you fancy. The latter seems to even qualify as a ‘paleo’ loaf (buckwheat = pseudograin according to paleo authorities) though as a non-paleo eater, feel free to argue the point.

Next on my apple recipe list: some sort of shaved apple salad with blue cheese, walnuts, watercress and a sticky pomegranate dressing (I made my own pomegranate molasses this morning, using this recipe by Sarah Hobbs). Perhaps served with these delicious crackers and a poached egg for Aaron.

If I don’t eat all the apples with almond butter first. Watch this space.


Buckwheat Apple Zucchini Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1.5 cups organic buckwheat flour
  • 1.5 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk, however you can sub dairy, oat, soy or rice milk here)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (equivalent to 1 cup mashed fruit)
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large or 2 medium apples, cored (I used Golden Delicious)
  • 1/4 cup rice bran syrup (substitute maple syrup or coconut nectar)
  • 3 tbsp flaxseed flakes (pounded flax; you can also use ground flaxseed)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • optional: add in some raisins or toasted walnuts if you feel like it!

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C (300 degrees f). Line a 4 cup loaf tin with baking paper, then set aside.

Using the grater attachment on your food processor, finely grate the zucchini and apples with all the skins intact (you should end up with about 1.5 cups of grated zucchini and apple together). Add in the mashed banana and pulse again until well-combined (the mix should still have some texture and flecks of green from the zucchini and apple skins).


Tip into a medium bowl and mix in the milk, vanilla bean paste, rice bran syrup and flax. Set aside for 5-10 minutes for the flax to thicken the mix (as an egg substitute).

bowl bowl2

Sift the buckwheat flour into a large bowl. Add in the almond meal, cinnamon and baking powder. Make a well in the centre, then tip in the wet ingredients. Mix well and spoon into your prepared loaf tin.

Tap the tin on a sturdy surface to expel any bubbles, then transfer to your preheated oven to bake.


Bake for 50-60 minutes or until your loaf is well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

This loaf is beautiful served thickly sliced and toasted with dairy butter or Nuttelex. I would also attempt it with mashed avocado (due to that miraculous sweet-savoury lean that avocado has) or toasted til brown with a dollop of mascarpone (or ricotta), runny honey and a smattering of toasted almonds.

Cook’s note: I’ve also made this bread successfully without zucchini, just 4 bananas and 1 reasonably large apple. As long as you’ve got around 2.5 cups of mashed/pureed fruit and vegetables you’ll be fine. I’d love to know if you come up with any adaptations!


48 responses

  1. This looks perfect for me! I am definitely a 3:30itis sufferer and a slice of this with a little almond butter would be just what the doctor ordered! I love that your Mum grows apples even in her inner city home! I need to get some fruit trees in my life (or Mum and Dad’s need to grow faster!). I can’t wait to try this out Laura!

    • Thanks so much Amy! Me too, I love the drive towards biophilia and growing food in urban areas. Mum has such green fingers, she’s got citrus trees plus the apple, blueberry, tomatoes and quite a few other bits and pieces. I’ve attempted to grow plants myself but I haven’t had much luck in pots so far. Hope that your parents’ trees grow quickly – I’m sending healthy ‘grow little plant!’ vibes! x

  2. Well, Laura, it’s just past 3:30 now– home from school and definitely looking for a snack to hold me over til dinner! Wish I had a loaf of this on the corner! And Larry loves buckwheat– when we are out for pancakes, he always gets the buckwheat variety. So I have a feeling he’d love this bread. And hooray for mom’s with apple trees! My grandma used to grow peaches and would wrap them in napkins in a shoe box and bring us each one when the crop was in. It tastes better from your family garden, right?

    • I love buckwheat too, it’s got such a lovely nutty flavour. I often use the buckwheat groats in my granola but it’s awesome to be able to eat it in baking too. How wonderful to have a grandma with a peach tree too, stone fruit is so expensive over here and it often doesn’t taste that great either (possibly as it’s picked early to avoid bruising). I definitely agree that things taste even better when they’re from a family garden :) xx

  3. Yum, yum… and yum. This looks dangerously sliceable… in a good way. I’ve just harvested our apples (though I’ve been picking and eating them off the trees for a couple of weeks… I’m a sucker for slightly under ripe, mouth-puckeringly sour apples) – as you said, such a joy to pick and eat food you’ve grown yourself. I’ve got a very retro upside-down caramel apple cake coming up on the blog, but I’m always looking for ways to add them to my cooking and baking as this time of the year. This recipe is definitely going on my to-bake list. It will also give me a reason to pick the bazillion baby zucchinis in my veggie garden before they become a squadron of zeppelins.

    • Thanks so much Jen! Oh, your garden must be going absolutely mad (I remember your zucchini glut from last year, haha!). I can imagine how you’d like the sour apples – I’m definitely more into sour, bitter, hot and ridiculously savoury flavours as my palate matures. I don’t even register sour warheads as being ‘sour’ anymore haha.
      The caramel apple cake sounds DIVINE. I will have to check that out for the rest of my apple stash. As for this loaf, I really really like it. So happy with it. Hope you will be too!

      P.S is it bad that I actually want to see a squadron of tiny zucch zeppelins exiting your yard? xx

  4. God, those apples are absolutely gorgeous! And I can just smell the scent of the orchard and the drying apple leaves from here… I love following along the adventures of your mum’s apples in your kitchen :) xx

    • Thanks so much lovely. The leaves are my fave part of the apples, I just wanted to take a zillion photos of them (I restrained myself, I already had a whole lot from last year haha). Yay for homegrown food xx

    • Thanks Sarah! It’s such a great loaf, I was really happy with the texture and flavour (it’s definitely dense, but I like it that way!). I do like making buckwheat pancakes but this was another great way to use the flour for something healthy and similarly ‘breakfasty’ :) Thanks so much xx

  5. A lovely looking loaf Laura (pardon the alliteration). Please also pardon my absence from the blog. I have been tied up by life and have barely had time to post myself. Good to be back.

    • Oh don’t even think about it Conor, I’m pretty sure all of us have an assumed understanding that we won’t get to every post written by followers and friends. I definitely fail on that count myself (this blogger life/hobby/side project is quite the commitment, no matter how much you try to find a balance!). I admire the frequency of your personal posts, never mind everything else. That said, so nice to hear from you! I appreciate the comment and hope that life is settling back into a slightly less frenetic pace. Take care Conor!

    • Hi Laura! I often use flax instead of chia as an egg substitute, it’s really similar in method and a bit cheaper. For either as an egg replacement, grind the seeds and then measure a ratio of 1:3 (1 tablespoon ground flax or chia added to 3 tablespoons of water, let stand for 5-10 minutes or until thickened). However, in this particular loaf (as there’s lots of moisture) I don’t bother making a ‘flax egg’, I just add the ground/flaked flax into the wet mix and let it stand for a few minutes as I prepare the dry ingredients. It’s worked really well each time I’ve baked the mix. Hope that helps, thanks lovely xx

  6. I love Loki’s little head peeking at the apples. We used to have a beagle that ate the apples off of the tree and would leave the cores hanging there. My mother was convinced it was one of us (she actually blamed the boys, because they were more inclined to do something like that), until she looked out her bedroom window and saw our furbaby munching on an apple and looking around to make sure no one saw her (these were dwarf trees–wait–can you call them that anymore?? Anyway…). It was hilarious when we finally solved the apple core mystery. haha But maybe Loki likes apples as much as our beagles always have. Love this bread. Hope you have a good rest of your week. xx

    • What an awesome story… haha, I definitely think that Loki would do the same thing if he could reach the apples (he’s too small, poor wee thing!). Hope that the rest of your week goes well too xx

  7. Laura, this bread looks wonderful! I really need to find some buckwheat flour, because I know have three recipes I’d like to make using it. Yours, some buckwheat blini, and the pizzoccheri noodles I had on my blog last week. You are so fortunate that you have great access to your mothers Apple tree! That is a wonderful gift.

    • Oh, buckwheat blini are wonderful! I’ve made those before with beet relish, some smoked trout, dill and sour cream. It’s quite a dense flour but I do love the nutty flavour. Thanks David! And yes, I’m thankful for both the apple tree and the mum who tends it (if only I inherited her green thumb!)

  8. Pingback: pomegranate molasses. and loki. « Laura's Mess

  9. Pingback: Apple & Zucchini Buckwheat Loaf

  10. Hi Laura! I love the sound of this bread for breakfast but I have an aversion towards bananas to put it nicely. Do i need to substitute it for anything?

    • Sorry for the late reply Lyf! If you want to make this bread without the bananas, that’s totally fine. I’d just suggest that you increase the zucchini or apples to a total of 2.5 cups mashed/grated fruit and vegetables. I might increase the flax a little bit as well as the water content in both of those fruit/veg is a little higher than the banana. If you give it a go, please let me know your results! Thanks lovely x

  11. Wow! I love this recipe…something different from what I tried! The buckwheat and almond meal sound like a good addition…lovely photography too btw!

    • Oh thank you lovely! I appreciate the kind words. And the photography component is so much fun, I really enjoy doing it (food is beautiful with all of its nobbly ‘blemished’ bits! Reminds me of your notes on beauty!) x

  12. It was my first time for a savory one as well, Laura, but I ll definitely be making it again. I m thinking some wilted greens with garlic in amongst the veggies next time, perhaps.

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