My name is Jaclyn and I’m a wannabe vegan.
Sigh…it’s true. Sometimes, I flirt with veganism. In fact, just last night, R* and I had a conversation about it. It went a little something like this:
Me: I think I’m going to become a vegan.
R: Oh no, not again…(rolls eyes)…why on earth would you want to do that?
Me: Oh, I think it would be good for me. And the environment.
R: So you wouldn’t eat any dairy, eggs, meat, or fish? Wouldn’t that be difficult?
Me: Well, I’m not supposed to eat dairy, so that’s one less thing to give up. How hard could it be?
R: True. But what about bacon and butter?
Me: Good point. Can I still be considered a vegan if I eat bacon and butter?
R: No. That doesn’t count. If you eat those things you’re not a true vegan.
Me: Hmm. Fine. Guess I’ll be a wannabe vegan then.
*True story; names have been changed to protect the innocent.
In all seriousness, I do think that I could adapt to a vegan diet, or a mostly vegan diet with the occasional slice of double-smoked bacon and smear of fresh creamery butter, of course. It would be an adjustment, but not an impossible one.
However, as you may have picked up on by now, I love to bake. I’ve been unsure about how to adapt many of my favourite recipes and create new ones that don’t include eggs or dairy and are still mouth-watering good. There are many vegan substitutes for dairy (soymilk, almond milk, and the like), but eggs? That’s a whole different animal. Literally, I suppose.
However, I am never one to back down from a challenge. I am also never one to allow a 69-cent zucchini perish in my fridge, so I did some experimenting and here’s what I came up with. Wannabe vegan with me?
Oh good, I was hoping you’d say yes! Here’s what we’ll be playing with today:
Flour (I’m using all-purpose and whole-wheat spelt), baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ground flax-seed, buttermilk, coconut oil, applesauce, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, zucchini, winter squash (optional), walnuts or pecans (optional).
In my extensive research on vegan baking over the years, I’ve found that many sources recommend using a “flax egg”. Essentially, ground flaxseed is mixed with warm water and left to sit for 10 minutes or so until it becomes gelatinous.
Easy enough, right?
I dutifully ground up my flaxseed, using my trusty Magic Bullet. I used to use my coffee grinder, but after a few rather nutty cups of Pike Place I learned my lesson.
However, I’m a wannabe vegan, not a full-blown one. I am, however, full-blown Scottish, so I wasn’t going to let the buttermilk in my fridge go bad while I used (gasp!) water.
Buttermilk flax egg? Don’t mind if I do.
I whirled up 3 T of ground flaxseed meal with 9T of buttermilk (that’s 1/2 c + 1T, in case you’re wondering), and began to doubt whether or not I should quickly run to the store for eggs while the oven was pre-heating.
(Side note: maybe this bread should be called “I’m too lazy to run to the store since its raining and too frugal to let my buttermilk go bad and what on earth am I going to do with this zucchini that is knocking on death’s door? bread”. I think that has a nice ring to it, don’t you?)
One look at my fuzzy slippers and sweats and the decision was easy. I left the buttermilk and the flax-seed to its own devices, and got started on the dry ingredients. With fingers crossed, of course. And toes.
Sorry, true vegans. I promise the rest of the recipe doesn’t contain any more dairy, eggs, or bacon. At least, not this round. Can’t make any promises for (Wannabe Vegan) Zucchini Bread 2.0.
Since I like to complicate things, I figured since I was making something practically vegan, I might as well also make it almost healthy. So, I used a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
I’m trying to deplete my 13 types of flour, can you tell?
In the mix:
1.5 c AP flour
1.5 c whole wheat or spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
Give it a stir and set it aside.
Next, the wet ingredients!
Grab yourself some coconut oil and melt it down – 1/3 of a cup or so. If you’d prefer, you can use a neutral flavoured oil instead. If you’re feeling particularly rebellious, you can use melted butter. Off the record, of course.
Add the oil to a bowl, and then dump in the rest of the wet ingredients:
If you’re thinking that’s not a lot of oil, you’re right – I wannabe healthy, after all! Besides, I had exactly ⅔ c of homemade (cinnamon) applesauce in my fridge that didn’t want to be left out, so I figured I could cut the oil down considerably from a typical quick bread. I also wanted to be mindful of the sugar, as many quick breads are deliciously sweet but sometimes more cake than breakfast material. I ended up adding 2/3 c each of brown and white sugar, and found the bread perfectly sweetened for my (terribly jaded) taste buds. Throw the buttermilk-flax (wannabe) egg in with this, and you’re good to go.
Oh yes, and I also added the about 2 t vanilla. Obviously. Everything is better with vanilla.
Before I introduced the wet and dry ingredients to each other, I grated up my zucchini – all 69-cents of it.
Houston, we have a problem: apparently I needed $1.38 worth of zucchini, as I could only get 1 c worth and I knew just by looking at it that I probably needed double the amount for the amount of batter I was making.
Kabocha squash (aka Japanese Pumpkin) to the rescue!
I chose this because it’s sweet and mild, and I figured it would blend into the bread well. And also because it was sitting on the counter and the thought of another bowl of squash soup is about as appealing as going for a 10km run in a torrential downpour.
Just a heads up: the next recipe you’ll see on here will probably be for squash soup. Consider yourself warned.
However, if you like leaving your house more than me, you could use grated zucchini (2 c total), or a combo of zucchini, butternut, kabocha, or pumpkin. I won’t judge.
Time for the magic to happen.
Love at first sight?
Not quite; still shy.
Everybody play nice now…just because the eggs didn’t show up doesn’t mean you have to rebel.
Ahh, that’s better.
(I’m not going to lie, I was completely nervous at this point. Embarrassing but true. Had I made a mistake by not running out to the store to get more eggs????)
After about 50 minutes at 350-degrees, I would soon find out.
Hmm….smells delicious and looks promising, but how will they hold up once they’re out of their pans?
Dare I say I’m impressed?!?!
The bread rose just fine, and held together beautifully. It is perfectly moist with really nice warm spice undertones. Wannabe vegan or not, this sure is a winner in my books.
Wannabe healthy? Try this bread for breakfast or a quick snack instead of an oil and sugar laden bakery muffin or quick bread.
Wannabe frugal? Experiment with what you have on hand instead of buying more.
Wannabe vegan? Yes please!