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 actully ~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) 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 (source)
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
The store-bought version is full of 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 cups 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 hand held 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: For a low-sugar alternative, I’ve made them with organic raw coconut crystals, non-GMO xylitol and stevia (10 tiny scoops from the spoon included in the container), as well as reduced the chocolate chips from 1 cup to 1/2 cup.
Tip #4: I’ve made these with both almond butter (paleo) and peanut butter and both were really good.
Tip #5: 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.
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