Zucchini Apple Muffins


The idea of putting zucchini/courgette into this recipe may initially seem a little strange. I was as surprised as you are to find how well it worked. But it really acts as a magic ingredients to make the squishiest, most moist and insanely delicious muffins I’ve eaten in a long time. You’d never even know it was there as the sweet flavour of the apples resonates much stronger in every bite, echoing against subtle hints of cinnamon and vanilla. This of course tastes delicious, however, it’s combination of this soft base against the crunchy oat, date and pecan topping that really makes these muffins very special. I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved the contrasting combination. Just unbelievable. They remind me a lot of banana bread, with the same gooey fruity taste and texture. Although they are a little less sweet, making them the perfect healthy muffin. They’re so healthy too bursting with protein from the nuts and nut milk, fibre from the apples, dates and oats and a huge array of different minerals and vitamins to keep you glowing inside and out. I promise you’ll adore these, they make for a really happy breakfast or afternoon snack. Yum.


Makes 10 muffins:

- 1 large zucchini (courgette)

- 4 apples

- 2 cups of ground almonds

- 1 cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour

- ¼ of a cup of almond milk

- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

- ½ a cup of raw agave syrup

- a handful of dates

- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the oaty topping

- 1 cup of oats

- 1 cup of pecans

- ½ a cup of almonds

- 2/3 of a cup of dates

- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

- 2 tablespoons of raw agave syrup

Start by pre-heating the oven to 200C. Next peel the apples, discard their cores and chop their flesh into small cubes. Then slice the ends of the zucchini and finely grate it using a cheese grater.

Place the almonds into a food processor and blend for a minute or so until a nutty flour forms. Add the apple cubes and grated zucchini into this flour along with all of the remaining ingredients (except for those used for the topping) and blend for a few minutes.

Once a smooth muffin mixture has formed spoon it evenly into muffin containers, then place them in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the muffins cook, make the oaty topping. Place all the necessary ingredients into a food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes until a sticky crumble-like mixture forms, this will taste delicious.

Remove the muffins from the oven after 10 minutes and evenly distribute the oat mixture on top of each one  before placing them back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes stick a knife into one to check it comes out clean, if it does then they are cooked. Allow them to cool for about 20 minutes before eating them as they will finish setting during this time. I think they taste best a few hours after cooking. Enjoy.


  • Pingback: my bucket list of baking | table for two

  • http://www.includingcake.com jo

    The texture of these muffins looks amazing…just my mind of ingredients too! :-)

  • http://fooddoodles.com Heidi @ Food Doodles

    Wow, these look great! I love that crumbly topping!

  • Pingback: Chocolate & pecan zucchini muffins: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free | Deliciously Ella

  • Pingback: My 10 Favourite Vegan Recipes | Deliciously Ella

  • Carrie

    How are they without the “oaty” topping? I’m allergic to oats, but the muffins themselves look good.

    • http://ellawoodward.wordpress.com Ella Woodward

      They’re so delicious without the oaty topping, it’s not essential at all – you’ll still love them!

  • Jodi

    This looks great. I have a significant amount of food allergies and was wondering about some substitutions: extra virgin olive oil instead of coconut oil, no agave syrup, and a replacement for the dates? I can’t have gluten, dairy, eggs, yeast, sugar, corn, buckwheat, oats, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, pineapple or coconut (to name just a few :)) but the recipe looks so good. I’m trying your quinoa pizza crust tonight!

    • http://ellawoodward.wordpress.com Ella Woodward

      Hi Jodi. I’m sorry to hear about all your allergies! For these muffins extra virgin olive oil instead or coconut oil will work great, as will omitting the agave but unfortunately the dates are a really big part of the recipe so I don’t know if you can replace them. You could try substituting them with two or three really ripe bananas, but I’m not sure they’d taste exactly the same but they should work fine. Hope that helps and that you enjoyed the quinoa pizza! :_

  • Marisa

    Can’t wait to make these! I have fresh zucchini from my garden. Could I use that? Thanks!!

    • ellawoodward

      Yes absolutely, garden zucchini will be amazing! Hope you love them!

  • Jackie

    I attempted to make these beautiful muffins today but to my dismay they came out nothing like your pictures! And tasted terrible to boot. The muffin part was GREY! And extremely dense; not very fluffed up and stuck to the wrapper. Also, there was enough liquid batter to make 24 muffins! Do you know what I possibly could have done wrong? I swear I followed the recipe to a T… :(

    • ellawoodward

      That’s so strange, I’m really nut sure at all what happened – I’m sorry not to be more helpful. I haven’t made them in a few months but everytime I made them before they came out so well. I will revisit the recipe and let you know!

  • Sarah

    I just tried to make these delightful looking muffins… But my top just burned and the muffin didn’t cook much at all… What am I doing wrong?? I followed all the directions with no substitutions… Maybe its my oven…

    • ellawoodward

      I’m honestly not totally sure, my guess would be that your oven is slightly different to mine so the base needed to be cooked for longer before the top was added?

    • Laura

      Me too I wasted all these ingredients because the inside wouldn’t cook (even after 50mins or so) and the topping burnt. I had to scrape it off half way through and try and cook the muffins a bit more. The dough seems too moist. Should we squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini or anything? Thanks a lot, Laura

      • ellawoodward

        Hi Laura,

        I’m sorry you have had trouble with these. The recipes are tested before I publish them and we didn’t have a problem!

        Ella x

  • http://deliciouslyella.com/vegan-zucchini-apple-muffins-gluten-dairy-and-sugar-free/ Connie

    Hi Ella,
    Just wondered how much a large zucchini measures out to be.

  • http://suikerwijzer.nl Anna

    Hi! Great recipes! My son has an almond intolerance. Almonds are often used in vegan baking, do you know if there’s a good replacement?

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Anna. So glad that you love the recipe! Is your son allergic to all nuts or just almonds? If it’s just almonds then other ground nuts work perfectly as a replacement, pecans and hazelnuts are especially nice in baking too. Hope that helps!

  • Sonia

    Hi Ella!

    Absolutely in love with your blog and all of your inspiring recipes! Just wondering with this particular recipe (and others) if soy milk would make a significant difference or do you think it would be a suitable substitute?

    Thank you!

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Sonia. So glad that you love the blog, thank you! In answer to your question about soy milk I honestly don’t know as I don’t use soy milk so don’t know much about it’s consistency etc, I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work but don’t want to promise it will incase it doesn’t! Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

      • http://Www.positivegoals.co.uk Jenny

        Hi Ella and Sonia, made this recipe using soya milk and it worked well. I haven’t made it using almond milk so I don’t know how it is different but the muffins are tasty :-)

        • ellawoodward

          That’s awesome, so great to know that – thanks for sharing!

  • http://Www.positivegoals.co.uk Jenny

    This is the second recipe I have made from your blog Ella and it has turned out well. I forgot to add the dates to most of them, and so made a couple with dates in. I ended up making 12 in normal muffin sized tin (I didn’t make the topping though) the ones without dates taste good, so do the ones with dates. Also, I used marrow instead of courgette as that is what I had- I did squeeze some of the juice out of the grated marrow. Result is a nice moist muffin. Husband test next ;-)

  • http://Www.positivegoals.co.uk Jenny

    Also, I didn’t have a super smooth batter as I couldn’t get it all in the processor, but it is still very tasty and has a nice texture :-)

  • http://drtgoesvegan.com Talita

    Hi Ella

    I’m going on holiday next week and want to try this recipe. Just want to know, do you mean 2 cups of whole almonds which you then process into a flour or do you mean 2 cups of ready ground almond flour? I know that 2 cups of ready ground almonds would use more nuts than 2 cups of whole almonds….

    Thanks in advance

    PS: made your sweet potato brownies last week and nearly DIED! They are soon good! Love the flavour and texture:)

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Talita. Sorry for any confusion, I mean 2 cups of whole almonds which you then grind, so about a cup and a half of ground almonds. So glad that you loved the brownies so much!

  • Ana

    Hi Ella. Love your recopies! :) Just one thought though: I have seen you use a lot of agave syrup in your recipes, but I read a lot of bad things about it. By the time the agave plant becomes the fluid sweet liquid, it is a highly concentrated and refined sweetener, some say its even worse than white sugar. I have also seen a lot of people stop using it because of that. It surprised me when I found out about it and I was wondering if you are familiar with this..

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Ana, yes I’ve been reading about these things too which is why all my recent recipes use pure maple syrup, I just haven’t been able to go through and change everything else yet. Agave is good for blood sugar stabilisation though as it’s low GI so it’s not all bad!

  • http://health.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    I cant have buckwheat or the rice flour… what else could i use, anything?

    • ellawoodward

      Any flour should work, I would go with oat maybe?

  • Amy

    Ella, your blog is AMAZING. I am in love with all of your recipes, and I’m totally on board with your style of eating! THANK YOU for making it easy for others to find really healthy recipes! I know you know now that agave is now thought to be not-so-healthy… so would you recommend substituting maple syrup for it in this recipe? If so, is it a 1-1 substitution?
    Thanks so much for all the health and joy you are spreading!

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Amy. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the blog so much, thank you! Yes for substituting maple for agave its 1-1 x

  • Joyce

    Hi Ella! I want to try making these in advance and bring one with my for packed lunch every day, do you think they’ll be good for that? (monday till friday) Can I keep them in the fridge for this many days? They look amazing! You can try anything with this, with grated carrots, banana, etc. Love it!
    Thanks again for your inspiration (: x

    • ellawoodward

      Yes these should be great to make in advance. I would store them at room temperature in an air-tight container x

      • Joyce

        Thank you! (:

  • Lauren

    Hi Ella! What type of apples do you find best for this recipe? Thanks Lauren.

    • ellawoodward

      I’ve used all kinds of different ones, which have all been great – red ones generally work better than green though as they’re sweeter!

  • Becky

    Hi Ella! I really want to try these but I am allergic to nuts. Could I replace the ground almonds with something else? Or would it not work without them? Thanks! X

    • ellawoodward


      My Philosophy page has some information on substituting nuts in different recipes which you might find helpful.

      Ella x


    Hi Ella,

    I love your blog! :) would it be possible to turn these muffins into a cake? will the outcome be the same? i don’t have a muffin tin and want to try them out! thank you!

    • ellawoodward

      I’ve never tried but I would imagine it would work fine but that the cooking time may just be slightly different.

  • Regina

    Made this muffins for the second time today. Added some cacao power because I was craving something with chocolate. They taste so amazing. Love all of your recipes!! Looking forward to the launch of your book. I hope it will be available in Austria too, I would definitely buy it !! <3


    • ellawoodward

      Sounds delicious! The book is available from Amazon and I am sure they will deliver to Austria too! I hope you love it when it comes out! x

  • Natalie

    Hi Ella,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m so eager to try it! May I know if you can use the batter and make a cake instead of muffins?

    Thank you!

  • Amelia

    Hi Ella,

    I was having trouble with the top of the muffins burning while the insides remained uncooked. Is there anything that I could do differently? Should I have drained some juice from the zucchini? Also should I be using ‘Bake’ or ‘Convection Bake’?


    • ellawoodward

      Hi Amelia,
      I use a fan oven. Perhaps try cooking on a slightly lower temperature. Some oven temperatures vary.
      Ella x

  • Melina

    Hi Ella,

    I just discovered your blog by chance and tried a few recipes which are simply awesome. I really never thought vegan food could be so tasty, so good and above all so varied, even though I am not a vegan myself.

    These muffins are really good, I was just wondering if you ever thought about a recipe of salty muffins? If yes, what ingredients would you recommend to replace almonds, dates, agave syrup… which makes the base of the muffin but which are too sweet for a salty muffin?

    I hope I have been clear enough and again thank you for your delicious work!

  • ellawoodward

    I’m so sorry to hear that. It sounds like there was too much moisture so perhaps a bit too much apple and zucchini. Next time you could cook at a lower temperature to be safe

  • ellawoodward

    I haven’t tried to freeze them so not sure if the topping would freeze well but the muffins definitely should!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Lyndsay,

    I think you are probably right! It will never have the exact same consistency but hopefully it still tastes good!

  • Alexis Carter

    Hey Ella,
    I baked these amazing muffins over the weekend and I’m surprised there are still any left, they’re so nice I wanted to eat them all in one :D I read the comments beforehand and to fix the ‘burnt top/raw inside’ issue I squeezed all of the moisture out of the zucchini before adding it to the mix and I also cooked it at gas mark 4 (180C) for the same amount of time listed in your recipe. They turned out perfect and I will definitely be making these again!! Thanks for the amazing recipe :)

    • ellawoodward

      I’m so pleased they turned out well! x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Ana,
    I man really sorry but I don’t know off the top of my head but I just use a standard sized coffee mug.
    Ella x