Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Muffins (Paleo / Vegan / Sugar-Free)

When I first transitioned over to eating a healthier diet a few years ago, I became obsessed with baking healthy treats. I have always had a sweet tooth, and I probably always will. When I changed my diet, I was in college, and I was surrounded by people who ate cookies and muffins and cupcakes and ice cream all the time without thinking about it. At first, I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore because of my food intolerances. Then, I turned to the Internet, and I discovered a whole new world.

I spent hours on food blogs and Pinterest, and I quickly discovered millions of recipes for “healthier” sweet treats. I made mile-long lists of all of the gluten-free desserts I could find, determined to prove to myself and others that I wouldn’t have to miss out on anything just because I couldn’t eat gluten or dairy anymore.

That is what started my baking obsession, and it hasn’t left me since. Anyways, I started baking every gluten-free/dairy-free recipe I could find, and I made my roommates taste test it all to see what they liked, too. I was determined to find recipes that other college kids would love as well, just to prove that eating healthy wasn’t boring or lame. Oh, young Christina.

At first my roommates loved the free baked goods, but I think after awhile they started to get irritated with all of my baking. The table was constantly piled with cookies, breads, and muffins, and the apartment was 500* from the perpetual oven use. One day I found a recipe for gluten-free coconut zucchini muffins, and I decided to try them out. History was made.

I was shocked at the response to those muffins, because they didn’t sound like anything that special before I actually made them. They were the biggest hit. I made multiple batches that week because everyone who ate one asked me for more. When I brought them to my club meeting, the girls all asked for seconds and wondered where I bought them. I gave a few to my friend in the dorms, and she asked me to make her a full batch so she could have them for breakfast the rest of the week. My roommates were bummed that everyone else was eating them because they wanted them for themselves, and they asked me to make more. One of my roommates begged me to make her her own batch for her birthday instead of a cake. I was floored. And extremely satisfied with my success.

I think part of the appeal of these is that they have zucchini in them. People love that there’s a sneaky vegetable inside, but they still taste like a dream. That’s the thing I’ve learned – a lot of people will resist healthy treats and say that they don’t taste good until they find the one they love. When that happens, they hop on the bandwagon faster than the wind.

With the immediate success of these muffins among my peers, I decided to use them to debut my newfound baking skills and healthy diet to my family. I knew my family didn’t really understand “what I was eating now” and thought I ate “weird food.” I was desperate to prove them wrong.

The reason this recipe holds a special place in my heart is because a version of these was the first Christina-made gluten-free baked good I shared with my family, and it was the first one that was a true hit with all of my friends. I have so many memories associated with these muffins. My college friends still talk about them, always asking me to make another batch.

Since then, I have played with the ingredients a lot. The original was gluten-free, but it wasn’t paleo. It was also really high in sugar, even though it was still “healthier” sugar. I finally perfected the recipe for a low-sugar, paleo version just a few weeks ago, so I brought in my taste testers again to check for their approval.

I actually created two versions of these chocolate chip coconut zucchini muffins. The “regular” version is still low in sugar, but it does contain some maple syrup. The second is completely sugar-free – perfect for anyone on a sugar detox, Candida diet, keto diet, or any other type of healing diet. Or anyone who just doesn’t want extra sugar!

I tested these out on all of the OG taste-testers. My old roommate, who was the very first person to taste the original version of these back in the day, approved of both the low-sugar and no-sugar variations of the updated muffins. If they’re Meghana approved, then that’s all I need. I took it a step further, though, and brought them home to my family. My parents, sister, sister’s fiancee, uncles, and family friends all tried them out. I was pleasantly surprised – they were fighting over who got to eat the extras.

When my family and family friends enjoy my food, I know it’s a solid recipe because their taste buds haven’t “adjusted” to healthy ingredients yet. That being said, I’m BRIMMING with joy that I have finally perfected this. I was also extra impressed because I gave a batch to my friend, and she shared them with her roommates and Uber driver. She said they all loved them. Success.

I still get a major kick out of the fact that her Uber driver wanted a muffin.

So, the Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Muffins have officially arrived. If you think this combination sounds random, it’s really not. I promise. Give it a chance, and you’ll fall in love. Zucchini is the type of vegetable that doesn’t really have a taste. Well, it does, but it’s a chameleon. It blends in with the tastes around it, which is why it’s so great for baked goods. The zucchini helps to keep these extremely moist – I hate dry muffins! Chocolate and coconut always pair well together, and I think we all know that chocolate and zucchini (chocolate zucchini bread, anyone?) are an epic duo.

These Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini muffins are moist, delicious, and completely divine. They’re not the texture of your average muffin – they’re sort of… creamy. Dense. Once you try them, I know you’ll fall in love. If you love chocolate or coconut, these will definitely hit the spot. I love to heat up leftovers and smear some coconut butter on top as well – so divine.

Like I said, there are two versions of these. Because I love these muffins so much, I wanted to make sure this recipe would work for as many people as possible. The muffins are paleo and vegan, so if you don’t eat eggs, you can still have these! If you don’t do flax, you can replace the flax eggs with chia eggs or regular eggs.

The difference between the versions, though, is the sugar content. One is completely sugar-free. I love sugar-free recipes, because I want to show people that they don’t need to turn to any sugar replacements at all if they don’t want to. All you need to do is allow the natural sweetness of real food shine through! Like I mentioned, this version is perfect for anybody following a no-sugar diet – the Candida diet, keto, a sugar detox, or anything else. You don’t really need a reason, though. They’re just really delicious. Especially if, like me, your taste buds have changed so much that almost anything with cacao or coconut butter tastes sweet to you!

The regular version contains organic maple syrup, but it’s still really low in sugar. 1/2 cup of maple syrup spread over 12 muffins is really hardly anything. Organic maple syrup is not a refined sweetener and actually does contain some health benefits, so it’s the sweetener I tend to gravitate towards most. This is the version I make for my friends who eat a typical SAD diet. In other words, everybody will love them.

These Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini muffins are paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free, completely sugar-free depending on what version you make, and nut-free if you don’t consider coconut a nut. That topic is debatable… HA. (You could also turn these into a bread, if you toy with the baking time!) Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Muffins (Paleo / Vegan / Sugar-Free)

Makes: 12 muffins

Total Time: 35 minutes

Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Muffins (Paleo / Vegan / Sugar-Free)

Regular Version Ingredients:

*** To make one flax egg, mix one tbsp flax with 3 tbsp filtered water. Leave in the fridge for at least 5 minutes to gel up. Can also replace with one regular egg.

Sugar-Free Version Ingredients:


  1. Preheat your oven to 350* F and grease a muffin pan with coconut oil, or fill all 12 spots with muffin/cupcake liners.
  2. Prepare your flax eggs if you haven’t already, and place them in the fridge.
  3. Add all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl, and mix together. Then add in all of the wet ingredients, including the zucchini and flax eggs, and mix it all together again. Make sure everything is well incorporated!
  4. Pack the dough together into balls and portion it out into each of the muffin cups.
  5. Once the muffin cups are filled, place the muffin tray in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the edges at the top turn golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Remove from your muffin tray and enjoy!





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