My plan was to make these gluten-free, Vegan Flourless Zucchini Brownies, serve them to my family and feel good knowing I had just given them something healthy to eat – and keep a little secret to myself.
The secret is the main ingredient – zucchini!
I know…it sounds pretty weird, but I’ve actually made wonderful dips with zucchini like Field of Green Zucchini Hummus, Raw Zucchini Hummus and even a cheesecake like this Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake and you’d never know.
So that was my plan for the brownies. Until my son saw the recipe I had printed laying on the kitchen counter.
Son: “What are you making mother?”
Me: “Some brownies”
Son (looking at the recipe suspiciously): “Zucchini brownies?!? Oh, ~please~ don’t put zucchini in the brownies!”
After hearing that for about 10 minutes over and over, I think I was pretty sure he didn’t want zucchini in his brownies! lol
But, I just couldn’t pass up brownies that didn’t require flour, so I proceeded and am so glad I did.
These were a little bit of an experiment because I made a few changes to make them vegan, but they turned out really well.
Do they taste like zucchini? I ~might~ have tasted a tiny hint of vegetable right when they came out of the oven, but it was only because I knew the zucchini was in there and was actually ~trying~ to see if I could detect it. The next day, though, I didn’t really notice any vegetable taste at all. I really think it was just when they were hot out of the oven.
And the melted chocolate chips took them over the top!
Here are some typical ingredients in a traditional brownie recipe and a store-bought boxed version:
S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) Traditional Homemade Brownie Ingredients:
Ingredients: 3/4 cups cocoa, 2/3 cup butter, 2 cups white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/3 cup flour, 12 oz pkg chocolate chips (with GMO soy), 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vanilla extract
S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) Pillsbury Brownie Classics Traditional Fudge Brownie Mix:
Ingredients: Sugar, Flour Enriched Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin Vitamin B3, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Riboflavin B2, Folic Acid Vitamix B9), Soybeans Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Cottonseed Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Cocoa, Corn Starch, Salt, Flavors Natural and Artificial Baking Soda, Milk Non-Fat, Soy Lecithin
The store-bought version contains bleached flour, refined/processed sugar and salt and GMO’s (dairy, soybeans, and cornstarch).
And, the homemade recipes aren’t much better…lots of dairy and white flour plus refined sugar and salt.
This healthier version is vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, paleo-friendly and contains no refined sugars!
Want some more healthy dessert recipes? Check out Match Green Tea Chocolate Chip Brownies, Gluten-Free Vegan Walnut and Oat Brownies, Raw Vegan Cinnamon Brownies, or my Clean Eating Cookbook with an entire chapter of 20 healthy and clean eating Bars and Squares recipes just like this one that you will love!
5 Fast Facts About Zucchini:*
- low-calorie food – 94% water
- high in manganese
- helps lower blood pressure
- helps lower cholesterol
5 Fast Facts About Almonds (Almond Butter):*
- helps to regulate cholesterol and blood pressure
- energy booster
- loaded with calcium and fiber
- 1/4 cup contains 8 grams of vegan protein
- high in anti-oxidants
5 Fast Facts About Maple Syrup:*
- contains manganese and zinc
- super high in anti-oxidants
- helps with inflammation
- 1/4 cup contains more calcium than the same amount of milk
- 1/4 cup contains more potassium than a banana
5 Fast Facts About Raw Cacao Powder:*
- contains over 300 compounds including protein, calcium, copper, zinc, and iron
- super high in anti-oxidants
- promotes cardiovascular health
- contains essential fats
- can help to decrease blood pressure
5 Fast Facts About Cinnamon:*
- contains anti-inflammatory properties
- helps to control blood sugar
- excellent source of manganese and iron
- can help to lower bad cholesterol
- aids in eliminating migraine headaches
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Tip #1: I’ve made them a couple of times and the first time I used a handheld microplane grater to finely grate the zucchini, so it added a coconut flake texture more than anything else. The second time, I put the peeled zucchini in my food processor and shredded it that way and it worked well too. Either way, just make sure you squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible or the brownies will be “soggy”.
Tip #2: I’ve made them with 1/3 cup of organic applesauce and also with a flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds + 3 tablespoons of water) and both work fine.
Tip #3: I’ve made these with both almond butter and peanut butter (not paleo) and both were really good.
Tip #4: This recipe can be made with homemade almond butter or homemade peanut butter using a Vitamix. For more recipes you can make with a Vitamix, visit my Vitamix Recipe Index page for more inspiration! I like to make my own homemade almond butter because I have control over the quality of almonds that are used (organic, raw, unpasteurized) and there are no added ingredients that might be found in store-bought brands.
Vegan Flourless Zucchini Brownies
Yield 16 brownies
Vegan / Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Egg-Free / Grain-Free / Flourless / Paleo-Friendly / No Refined Sugar
- 1 cup organic almond butter
- 1 1/2 cup organic zucchini (peeled and finely grated)
- 1/3 cup organic maple syrup
- 1/3 cup organic raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup Enjoy Life mini-chocolate chips
For the flax-egg:
*Another egg-free option: substitute with 1/3 cup organic applesauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the zucchini:
- Peel the zucchini then finely grate it or process it through a food processor. Take a handful of the grated zucchini at a time and squeeze it tightly to release as much water as possible. This is very important and will keep the brownies from getting soggy.
Prepare the flax egg:
Prepare the brownies:
- Add all the ingredients for the brownies (including the grated zucchini + flax egg) to a medium-sized bowl and stir until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or fork comes out clean.
- Allow the brownies to cool before slicing and serving.
- Store in an air-tight BPA-free container.
Recipe inspired by and slightly altered from: http://www.delightedmomma.com/2012/05/flourless-zucchini-brownies.html
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The recipe adaptations and photographs for "Vegan Flourless Zucchini Brownies" by Karielyn Tillman of The Healthy Family and Home website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License and cannot be used without my written permission.
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