Beyond banana bread

Our guide to fruit and veggie-packed quickbreads.
Published May 28, 2020

Have you ever wondered about the world of quick bread — beyond banana bread? This primer on all things quick bread-related, specifically recipes which call for added fruits and veggies, will inspire you to take a look through the fruit bowl or crisper next time you’re craving some homemade baking. 


What is a quick bread?


In addition to loaf breads, the quick bread category also includes muffins, coffee cakes, scones, cookies, and soda breads. Unlike yeast breads, quick breads use a chemical leavening agent, such as baking powder and baking soda, to produce a rise. 

Quick breads, fruits and veggies: a match made in heaven

Fruits and vegetables play an important role in many quick bread recipes. With banana bread, bananas are an essential ingredient because they contribute flavour, natural sweetness, moisture, and texture. Other fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, apples, and pumpkin, can be used in quick bread recipes to achieve similar results. Depending on the recipe, these ingredients are typically pureed, grated or mashed.

  • Pureed: apples, pears, pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash, and plums or prunes
  • Grated: apples, zucchini, carrots, pears (choose a firm variety), potatoes, and yellow summer squash
  • Mashed: bananas and ripe berries
  • Other options include leftover juice pulp, leftover roasted sweet potatoes, freeze-dried fruit, pureed baby food (homemade or store bought), and thawed frozen fruit.


Quick bread add-ins


Depending on the recipe, fruits and vegetables are used to add moisture without any kind of distinctive flavour (like with grated zucchini) or they’re the key ingredient in terms of taste (such as with apple.) Have fun experimenting with quick breads and add-ins, it’s a great way to revamp an older recipe without drastically changing the method.

  • Dried fruit: currants, cranberries, diced apricots, banana chips, raisins, apples, and pears
  • Citrus zest (fresh or candied): lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and tangerine
  • Chocolate: cocoa powder, chocolate chips, baker’s chocolate
  • Nuts and seeds: cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds
  • Miscellaneous: dried coconut, candied ginger, and finely diced fresh fruit


Quick tips for better quick bread


  • Don’t overmix the wet and dry ingredients, an overworked quick bread batter will yield dense results. If you have a tendency to overmix during this step, try combining the wet and dry ingredients using only 10 strokes of the spatula. 
  • To reduce mixing time, combine prepared fruits and vegetables to wet ingredients before mixing with the dry ingredients.
  • Grated apple, zucchini, yellow summer squash, pear or potato should be squeezed of excess moisture before using. Roll the grated ingredient up in a clean kitchen towel and wring out several times until dry (some ingredients, such as potatoes, release a large amount of liquid.)
  • Substitute half of the oil in a quick bread recipe with pureed fruit for a lower-fat version of a favourite treat. Because extra fruit has the tendency to add extra moisture, quick breads that have been prepared using this method may require 10 to 15 minutes of extra baking time.
  • The added sugar from fruit can cause quick breads to brown before the baking time has finished. Check quick bread periodically and cover with foil if you notice any premature browning. 
  • Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the quick bread to test for doneness — a clean skewer means the quick bread is done!
  • Store quick bread in the refrigerator for up to one week wrapped in plastic wrap or reusable beeswax wrap. Whole or pre-sliced quick bread can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months in a resealable freezer bag

Quick bread recipes with added fruits and vegetables:

These WW-friendly quick bread recipes make use of fruits and vegetables with delicious results. Thanks to ingredients such as grated zucchini and mashed sweet potato, these recipes yield perfectly moist and flavour-packed loaves, muffins, and snack breads.