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Courgette, pistachio and yoghurt loaf with a lemon honey glaze

October 19, 2017

Courgette pistachio and yoghurt loaf with lemon and honey glazeLadles of goodness, with a nod to a lemon drizzle, this green pistachio-flecked, spelt and yoghurt loaf is light, moist, moreish and perfect with a cup of tea. And it’s another idea for using courgettes (enough said).  I’m as susceptible as the next woman for something that’s called bread and stuffed full of vegetables, so you could legitimately eat it for breakfast even though it tastes rather like cake.

Leafing through recipes (aka Googling on my phone) reveals that there are a mind-boggling amount of ‘healthy’ courgette bread ideas out there, from plain spiced to those darkly moist with cocoa and chocolate chips. My beef is the sugar content in a lot of these which seems at odds with the low-fat or dairy-free milk, raw nuts and wholewheat or gluten-free flour that is specified (I also have a beef with ‘free-from’ ingredients being automatically labelled ‘healthy’, but that’s another conversation!).

Reducing your free sugar intake

Make no mistake, it doesn’t matter whether the sweetener is white caster, agave syrup, maple syrup, dark brown unrefined, jaggery, date molasses or coconut blossom lovingly hand-extracted by men in loin cloths from the palm bud stem in remote tropical groves, it’s all added or free sugar (rather than naturally occurring). This is where most of us should cut down – whether combined with hidden veg or not.

I’ve used raw honey in this recipe as it gives a gentle warmth rather than a sugary hit. We’ve all got used to sweeter tastes as sugar is added to savoury foods, and even fruit varieties e.g. Pink Lady apples are bred to appeal to our demand from our sweet-tooths. Dialing it down gradually retrains our palettes – I’m going to try reducing it even further next time I make this recipe or even substituting some of the honey with ripe banana.

How to bake with raw honey

Raw honey is the stuff that is taken straight from the hive – and if you thought all honey was like this you are in for a shock. Most commercial honey is heat-treated, flash-pasteurized and micro-filtered which removes the pollen. This is nothing to do with safety or taste but about appearance and shelf-life. These processes transform it from a substance which is packed with over 200 enzymes and nutrients which are beneficial to our health to little more than a honey-flavoured syrup. Most or all of the goodness is destroyed. Some even have sugar syrups added to bulk them out.  I was aghast when I first heard this a couple of years ago as, like most people, I though that all honey was ‘natural’.

The process of cooking applies heat so will also reduce the amount of healthy goodness in your raw honey, generally removing about two-thirds of the antioxidants for instance. General advice when baking with honey is:

  • Use at least half the amount of honey to replace sugar in your recipe.
  • Reduce the liquid in a recipe, this can be a bit of trial and error so perhaps start with recipes that use an alternative liquid sweetener (e.g. sub honey for maple syrup).
  • Reduce cooking temp by 10-20 C as honey will make your baked goods brown more easily.
  • Add a little extra baking powder (about 1/4 of a teaspoon).

So why have I used raw honey in this recipe? As raw honey is naturally a bit sweeter than sugar it cuts the amount of sugar in half. Also to get some health benefits (rather than none at all) from my sweetener and for the more complex, nuanced, delicious taste.  The glaze at the end adds a little more oomph and real raw honey goodness too.

What to do with all those courgettes?

With the start of Farmers’ Market , courgettes are going to be a constant in my kitchen throughout the season – if you want a bit more inspiration right now, find all my courgette recipes here. I have many more to share over the coming months.

The delicious raw honey I use is available from Balqees at the market, some of the farmers also sell local (quite strong-tasting) raw Sidr honey too.

This recipe looks long but it couldn’t be simpler.

Courgette, pistachio and yoghurt spelt loaf with a lemon, raw honey glaze

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A healthy loaf that's moist from the hidden courgettes with a tang from the lemon and yoghurt. Great for breakfast or a snack at any time with a cup of tea


  • 1 large free range egg
  • 80ml coconut oil*
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 120ml full-fat Greek-style yoghurt
  • 100ml raw honey*
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g spelt flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 small courgettes, washed and grated coarsely (about 160g)
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated finely
  • 100g pistachios, chopped coarsely

For the glaze

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey


  • Bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Slightly warm the coconut oil if it is not already liquid. Lightly grease a 23 x 13 cm loaf tin (9 x 5 inches) and line with baking parchment.
  • In a large measuring jug (or similar) beat the egg lightly and add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, yoghurt and honey, stirring to combine.
  • Put the remaining dry ingredients (flours, baking powders, salt, grated courgette, lemon zest and nuts) into a mixing bowl. Pour in the liquid ingredients and fold in with a spatula until just combined; do not overmix.
  • Scoop the mixture into the loaf tin and put in the centre of an oven preheated to 170C. Check if it’s cooked after 40 minutes by inserting a skewer into the centre, the loaf is done if it comes out clean or with a crumb clinging to the surface. If it needs further baking, return to the oven for up to 10 minutes more, covering the top with baking paper or tin foil if the top is starting to get too dark.
  • When done, remove from the oven. While still warm prepare and apply the glaze (as below).
  • For the glaze: stir the lemon juice and raw honey together in a small bowl to make a runny glaze. If your honey is very thick you can put the bowl in the microwave or over a pan of hot water for a few seconds to change the consistency but do not warm it (to preserve the goodness of the raw honey). Make a few holes in the top of the loaf with a fine skewer or toothpick and use a pastry brush to apply the glaze evenly over the entire upper surface.
  • Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before slicing. Store in an air-tight tin.

*Alternative ingredients and suggestions. Use melted butter or a different oil instead of the coconut oil (but I like the flavour) – I used a vanilla scented coconut oil from Earth’s Finest. Swap raw honey for another liquid sweetener such a maple syrup (although the taste will be different). Don’t use sugar-free liquid sweeteners though (for taste and dietary reasons). You can use all plain flour instead of part spelt. Goat’s curd can be used instead of yoghurt.

Courgette pistachio and yoghurt loaf with lemon and honey glaze

Pin this for later

If you heard Dubai Eye you’ll know this is great slathered with goats cheese and topped with a bit more raw honey. Trust me. Listen to that Dubai Today episode here.

If you’re interested healthy cakes and desserts which contain veg you might like a new cookbook by UK blogger Katherine Hackworthy of Veggie Desserts. I haven’t got my hands on a copy just yet but it sounds very appealing.

Veg in cakes – all wrong or your favourite thing? And honey – did you know that it’s the fourth most adulterated foodstuff in the world? Shocking eh? Let me know what you think.Save





  1. glamorous glutton permalink
    October 20, 2017 3:15 am

    This sounds great. I need to search out raw honey. I get honey from my neighbour but it isn’t raw. I think here in the uk it’s quite difficult to supply raw honey. Cause of strict food standards laws. Much like those issues with delicious unpasteurised cheese. Definitely going to search it out though. GG

  2. October 20, 2017 11:00 am

    Yes yes yes on Free From automatically being labelled healthy — for sure it’s healthier for you if you have a genuine allergy or intolerance to the ingredient replaced, but most are just food fadding! And it’s true that there’s often an assumption that adding lots of one healthy ingredient somehow negates the effect of the other ingredients. Likewise, if there’s a lot of sugar (even if it’s unrefined or in the form of honey, agavy, maple, fruit molasses…) it’s still going to be high calorie and potentially contribute to various issues that come with consuming too much sugar. You are right that all honey is not the same, and I love tasting local honeys, especially where they haven’t been heated / pasteurised. Also, loaf looks bloody marvellous!

  3. October 20, 2017 5:06 pm

    That sounds like a completely delicious flavour combination! I can’t wait to give this a try

  4. October 20, 2017 5:12 pm

    Good lord, that sounds fantastic! I wonder if that would work with coconut flour or gluten free flour?

  5. anniesnomsblog permalink
    October 20, 2017 5:13 pm

    I’ve been making a point to try and lower my sugar recently. I’ve noticed big changes in how I feel just from cutting down a little bit; it’s pretty amazing and makes me want to continue. I’m glad I don’t have to give up cake though because this looks delicious! Wonderful flavours going on and I love the sound of a lemon honey glaze!

  6. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy permalink
    October 20, 2017 6:00 pm

    I love courgette bread and I love pistachios, but I have never put them together. Great idea and lovely photos too.

  7. October 20, 2017 6:20 pm

    I am equally susceptible to the lure of a bread with vegetable that tastes like cake. This looks splendid!

  8. Beth permalink
    October 20, 2017 7:11 pm

    I love substituting banana for some of the sugar too! That really cuts down on the sugar! I just love zucchini breads and this one looks delicious!

  9. October 21, 2017 8:26 am

    I really can’t wait to start cooking with less sugar. And I love courgette in bread!

  10. October 23, 2017 11:59 am

    This would absolutely be my kind of breakfast. Love both yoghurt and courgette in any cake.

  11. October 27, 2017 12:20 pm

    what a gorgeous recipe, and such heavenly images! I also (as you would suspect) completely agree with you about cutting back on sugar generally, and not labelling something that has natural ingredients or is for a special diet as intrinsically healthy. Context is everything. Great facts from you on honey that I’m sure your readers will find very useful. Maple syrup tends to be less messed about with, but it lacks the lovely enzymes and minerals that raw honey has. I use both! But not very much. Oh, and as an American by birth, it is in my DNA to want to bake with vegetables, especially at this time of year 🙂

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