If you know a dietitian personally, you’ve probably witnessed her (or him) using her food knowledge to justify whatever she’s eating. You may have heard her say, “Oatmeal helps prevent colon cancer, so I should probably eat these oatmeal cookies.” Or maybe she’s said, “Red grapes contain resveratrol, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant. So yes, I’d like another glass of wine.” Or you’ve heard the weakest, but probably most commonly used, justification — “Chocolate contains antioxidants!” So for those of you who like to have your cake and justify it too, here is the perfect dessert: Zucchini Brownies!
These zucchini brownies…
- Are vegan and gluten-free
- Contain no processed oil or refined sugars (except in the chocolate chips, if you add them)
- Are a great source of fiber due to the oat flour, flax, and zucchini
- Are a source of calcium and healthful fats, thanks to the addition of almond butter
- Contain antioxidants from the cacao
- Have a freakin’ VEGETABLE in them
- Are damn delicious
Need I say more?
I love all kinds of baked goods using zucchini, especially in the summer when my garden is growing them like crazy. But no zucchini bread can ever beat the gooey, cakey, chocolatey goodness that is a warm brownie. Top it with a sprinkle of sea salt flakes, and you have a decadent treat.
Decadent, but nutritious! Don’t forget about the nutritious part . . .
I wish you could smell these through your computer screen! Chocolate heaven.
These zucchini brownies are also very easy to make. I keep my pantry stocked since I’m constantly cooking, so I already had all of these ingredients. You may not have milled flax seeds or oat flour on hand, but you can make your own with a spice grinder or food processor if you have oats or whole flax seeds. If you’re going to buy flax just for this recipe, I recommend buying a small amount from the bulk section of your grocery store, although I encourage sprinkling flax in smoothies and oatmeal to benefit from its heart-healthy lignans.
Don’t forget to check out some of my other zucchini recipes!
- 2 T. milled flax
- ¼ cup natural almond butter
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup grated zucchini
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 T. cacao (or 4 T. cocoa)
- ¾ cup oat flour*
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅓-1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips, walnuts, etc.
- Optional: coarse sea salt flakes (NOT rocks!) for sprinkling on top of brownies
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl or cup, add 6 T. warm water to the 2 T. flax, stir, and let sit about 5 minutes to gel (flax eggs!).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, zucchini, and vanilla extract. Add the cacao powder and taste; add more if needed. Stir in the flax eggs.
- Stir together the oat flour, baking soda, and salt in a measuring cup, then gradually add to the wet mixture while whisking to eliminate clumps. When the mixture gets too thick, switch from the whisk to a spatula and fold in the rest of the flour.
- Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into baking pan, smoothing out the top of the batter with the spatula. Sprinkle top with more chocolate chips, if desired.
- Bake for 34-36 mins, or until center of brownies springs back when pressed lightly with your finger. Allow to cool in pan at least 20 mins.
- Crumble a large pinch of coarse sea salt flakes in the palm of your hand and sprinkle lightly over the top of the brownies. Cut into 12 squares and serve!
These brownies keep just like other brownies -- at room temp. in an air-tight container 4-5 days (if they last that long!).
I promise you’ll love these zucchini brownies! Nobody will guess that they’re nutritious, and they’re a great way to sneak some veggies into your kids’ diets.
And even though I listed lots of reasons why you should make (and eat) these brownies, the main reason is that they’re delicious. No more justification is needed!