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Zucchini pancake donuts [nut free, refined sugar free]

Zucchini donuts on a wooden platter.

Sometimes repeating your tried and tested recipes is the best. Sometimes repeating old recipes can become a little boring. Sometimes both of those things is true – so what do you do then? Come up with a little twist on the same reliable recipe which feels new and exciting, that’s what. A great example of such transformation are these zucchini pancake donuts.

It’s pretty much the same recipe as my fluffy zucchini pancakes but I’ve substituted the hazelnut meal for some seed meal (made from pepitas and sunflower seeds blitzed in a food processor), slightly increased the maple syrup (because you won’t drizzle these with syrup before eating) and also added some fruit. This now makes them nut free and perfect for kids’ school lunchboxes. And because everything is better when in donut form, I’ve used my Wilton mini donut pan (always a good idea!).

Zucchini donuts on a wooden platter.

What’s in these zucchini pancake donuts?

Well, all good things, obviously. As you know from my other zucchini posts, we’ve been blessed with a wonderful zucchini crop this summer and we’ve been using zucchini in everything. It’s at a point at the moment where the kids ask: “Mum, why do we eat zucchini at every meal?” Because it’s organic, delicious and nutritious, obviously.

Other than a cup of shredded zucchini, you will need:

  • wholemeal flour or wholemeal spelt flour
  • seed meal (I just blitz together about equal amounts of pepitas and sunflower seeds)
  • tapioca powder
  • baking powder
  • speculaas spices or cinnamon
  • salt
  • eggs
  • macadamia oil (or substitute MCT oil or sunflower oil)
  • vanilla extract
  • milk (non-dairy can be substituted)
  • maple syrup
  • cherries, berries or other fruit
Zucchini donuts on a wooden platter.

Life lately (not zucchini related)

But enough about zucchini. What have you been up to? What are you watching, reading, listening to? What activities have you done with your kids that have been great experiences?

Lately, I’ve been listening to the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. It’s a recent discovery for me but one that I’ve enjoyed a lot (I even have a brand spanking new shortcut on my iPhone which starts playing the podcast as soon as I get into my car in the morning!). If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I’ve already put together my “20 for 2020” list, a list of 20 concrete goals for 2020 (rather than New Year resolutions, which I think is a great idea as I can absolutely see how being specific about what you want to achieve this year makes it easier to reach). If you’re interested, I’ve included things like:

  • read 20 books (on track – the last one I read was a cracker and I really couldn’t put it down. I think I read it in about three days which is really fast for a mumma who works full time, has two little ones and a blog. Check it out for yourself here.)
  • start learning a new language (I love languages. My kids have just started learning Italian in kindergarten so I’m thinking this is a great opportunity to learn it with them. I am a big fan of the Pimsleur language method and have already learnt Japanese and French with this course. So intuitive and it works well for me.)
  • take a photography course (this is still outstanding. I am always keen to learn new photo techniques but just cannot find enough time in a day. Can anyone recommend a good one?)
  • plan at least 6 adventures with kids (I have only planned our long holiday so far, for September/October this year, which allowed me to check off another item on my list. When I wrote this down, I was thinking about a number of different things like a spontaneous road trip, a zoo visit, maybe a weekend at the coast. Since then, we’ve had bushfires, floods and now Coronavirus so it’s not looking great for travelling with kids. I’ll have to keep thinking about this one.)
  • catch up at least three times with at least five friends (definitely on track with this one. I love seeing my friends but, like everyone, our lives sometimes get busy, or you just feel exhausted at the end of a long week, so cancelling becomes a very tempting option. I love that this goal motivates me to stay in touch and doesn’t bind me to any particular way of catching up – lunches, dinner, movie dates, it all counts.)

Have you made a list like this, or do you have any New Year’s resolutions? How are you going with it/them?

Zucchini donuts on a wooden platter.
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5 from 10 votes

Zucchini pancake donuts [nut free, refined sugar free]

Author Katerina | Once a Foodie


Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour or wholemeal flour  (I have used either in this recipe and both work fine)
  • 1/2 cup seed meal (I used a mix of pepitas and sunflower seeds)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp tapioca
  • 1.5 tsp speculaas spices (or substitute cinnamon)
  • pinch of salt

Wet ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp MCT oil, or a combination of MCT oil and sunflower oil (or use macadamia oil if you do not need the donuts to be nut free)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini  (no need to squeeze it out)
  • 155 g fresh (not frozen) cherries or berries or other fruits (I've used cherries, blueberries and chocolate chips in different recipes – they all work)


  • Blitz 1/2 cup of pepitas seeds and 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds in a food processor. (You may end up with a little more than the 1/2 cup required.) Alternatively, you can deliberately blitz more of each (like I do) and store the remainder in a glass jar at room temperature. It will keep for a while.
  • Pre-heat the over to 180C.
  • Remove stones from the cherries, if using. Cut cherries in halves or quarters.
  • Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Whisk together all the wet ingredients (except for zucchini) in a large measuring cup or a bowl.
  • Pour all the wet ingredients into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined.
  • Mix in the shredded zucchini until well combined.
  • Gently mix in the cherries, or berries, or other fruit/chocolate chips.
  • The mixture will be quite runny but that's ok.
  • Pour into a 12-hole mini donut pan (you will have a little extra – use them to make a couple of small cakes, or mini muffins).
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until set.
  • Cool and enjoy!


This recipe makes 12 mini donuts and two mini cakes.
You have found this delightful recipe on Once a Foodie – It was lovely to see you. Please come visit again.
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Zucchini donuts on a wooden platter.

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