If you know me, you know I have a passion for hiding ingredients in unexpected places. No, I don’t mean stashing a potato in your bed, although that was a running joke with my family for about a week. No one knew where or when the potato would strike again.
I’m referring to adding healthy ingredients like vegetables, beans, and whole grains to foods you wouldn’t expect for them to be in, so you can get more benefits, like increased fiber.
To be clear, while hidden vegetables are great, we don’t believe that desserts and other baked goodies need to have “hidden nutrition” to be enjoyed. Sometimes a piece of plain old chocolate cake is what you’ll want. But many of our recipes, including our mac & cheese, turkey burger and today’s highlighted chocolate zucchini cake recipe (download our recipe card below) include hidden veggies. I love that I don’t even notice many of the ingredients in this cake, it just seems like a plain chocolate cake. And it’s a great way to use up all the zucchini that’s available this time of year.
Baked goods, especially cake recipes, are a great vehicle for adding nutrient-dense ingredients. I purposely look for baked good recipes (or create my own recipes) that include ingredients such as:
- grated carrots
- grated zucchini or yellow squash
- pureed beans
- whole grain flours such as brown rice or quinoa flour
Beyond cake recipes, smoothies and frozen desserts are another place to sneak in super foods. One smoothie I like to make often contains:
- 1 cup frozen dark cherries
- 1 small frozen banana
- 1/2 cup cooked black or white beans
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoon maple syrup
Blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed. If the beans are pre-cooked and frozen and you use less milk, this will have the consistency of soft ice cream.