Healthier Zucchini Brownies

healthier zucchini brownies

It’s not often that I find myself literallyΒ eating the recipe that I’m writing about. More often that not, I’ve taken the actual pictures of the featured recipe a few days, or even weeks, prior to posting it. Not today! I’m noshing away on a zucchini brownie as I speak type to you. Etienne is going to give me the stink eye later for the crumbs/smears that will likely end up all over this keyboard, but…. SO WORTH IT!!

Growing up, zucchini was one of the few vegetables I would actually tolerate in a dessert. Carrot cake? No way. Hard to believe considering that carrot cake is now my FAVOURITE cake – what was wrong with me!?

My Mom used to make her signature chocolate zucchini loaf, and it would be inhaled within a few days. Everyone loved it! You couldn’t even tell zucchini was the secret ingredient, let alone that it was the reason that loaf was so moist and delicious.

Healthier Zucchini Brownies

Since then, my tastes have undoubtedly matured, and I now happily insert all sorts of fruits and vegetables into my baked goods. Double chocolate beet cupcakes – I’m looking at you!

Now, I know that “healthy” brownies are nothing new, but there’s a reason they’re so popular. You can make a delicious treat better for you by using avocado, black beans, pumpkin – or – ZUCCHINI! I made black bean brownies ONCE and unfortunately, I will never make them again. It was a few years ago, and while the end result turned out fantastic, I ended up with the stomach flu that night and let’s just say, I can’t evenΒ think about a black bean brownie again. What foods make your stomach turn??

These healthier brownies are called brownies due to their chocolately factor – but they’re chalk full of really good things for you! Zucchini (duh), honey, whole wheat flour, unsweetened applesauce, and almond butter. You’re basically doing your body a favour by making them. Sold yet? Here’s another picture πŸ™‚

Healthier Zucchini Brownies

 

The ingredients in these guys are so simple, you likely have everything in your kitchen already. Need a zucchini? I’ll send you one. I’ve got 7 in my fridge right now, not even joking.

Like most brownie recipes, you’ll want to start by whisking together your liquid ingredients, including the almond butter. Combine the dry into another bowl, and then gently incorporate the two. The shredded zucchini and mini chocolate chips (don’t leave them out) come last. Unlike my zucchini pizza crust, you don’t need to squeeze the heck out of your zucchini. I do like to give it a little squeeze to get the excess moisture out, but the moisture from the zucchini is what makes these brownies soooo fudgy and moist!

Oh, and do you like my spoon? That’s Oscar’s “piggy poon” haha.

I like to bake these brownies in an 8×8 baking pan, but they do get pretty tall, as you can see from the picture. If you prefer a thinner, more traditional brownie, use a 9×13 pan and follow the baking times in my recipe notes below.

Now, what’s a brownie without frosting? Not a brownie, in my opinion. I tried to keep the frosting with the “healthier” theme here by using chocolate chips, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla. You’ll need to heat the first 3 ingredients together until everything is melted and melded, then add the vanilla and allow the mixture to cool in the fridge a bit to thicken up.

The end result? A thick, fudgy, moist, chocolatey, HEALTHIER brownie that you won’t be able to stop eating. I guess that’s why we make healthier desserts, right? So you can eat twice (slash three) times as much as you usually can….

Phew, post is out, fingers are licked…I guess I need to clean up the keyboard now – but first, a glass of milk!

Healthier Zucchini Brownies

Healthier Zucchini Brownies

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 16 brownies

Moist, fudgy, healthier brownies made possible with shredded zucchini! You won't be able to stop at just 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, slightly squeezed of excess moisture

Frosting

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup milk (any milk - I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease an 8x8 baking pan or line it with parchment paper (for 9x13 pan see notes)*.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, almond butter, eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, gently stirring until just incorporated. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the baking pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting.Β 
  5. Frosting:Β  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips, milk and coconut oil together, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and allow the frosting to cool in the fridge, stirring every 5-10 minutes or until it has thickened enough to spread onto the brownies.Β 

Brownies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days, and in the fridge for a week. Brownies can also be frozen, iced, for up to 2 months.

Notes

  1. Gluten-free flour may be substituted to make a gluten-free brownie.
  2. I use regular cocoa powder, not Dutch-processed. Using Dutch-processed cocoa powder will make the brownies less dense and "cake-like".
  3. For a thinner, more traditional-sized brownie, use a 9x13 pan and reduce bake time to about 30 minutes, checking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Healthier Zucchini Brownies

Today’s Recipe Tools

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Moist, fudgy, healthier brownies made with shredded zucchini and almond butter! You won't be able to stop at just 1!
 

37 Comments

  1. I would want these nice and this just like this! Zucchini is the best in sweets

  2. These brownies are loaded with good-for-you ingredients and still so moist and fudgy. Coconut oil ganache?? This recipe is going down this week in our home. Hope your week is going great Kathy:)

  3. these would be great to take to work and I feel less guilty about it! ha ha, i’d be a little indulgent if i was eating the food i was currently writing about – it’s 9.30am and i’m about to do a post on salted caramel vanilla bean ice cream!

  4. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen

    I’m totally with you on frosting brownies. Frosting is always a good idea :). What is it about zucchini that makes it such a perfect addition to anything chocolate? These brownies look seriously to die for. So moist and fudgy!

  5. I love these healthier brownies. I haven’t done much baking with zucchini myself but these look to die for. They look so rich and fudgy!! Pinned. Take care.

  6. Hi Katherine! Your Zucchini Brownies look wicked!! Guilt-free desserts like this are the best! If only all desserts could be this healthy! πŸ˜‰

  7. i can’t get over how chocolatey these look!! mmm. and if you’re still eating these and the post is live (i’m a habitual pre-maker of blog content as well lol), it must mean that these are incredible (;

  8. marcie@flavorthemoments

    I’ve got a mad chocolate craving right now and these aren’t helping! I wish these were in front of me right now — they look so chocolatey and delicious and I love that they’re healthier!

  9. I’ve never had chocolate with zucchini, but I’ve always been super curious! I love zucchini so I bet it tastes delicious. Sadly, I’m allergic to cocoa, so I’m never going to find out… womp womp. BUT, my husband is a chocoholic, so I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to sneak some veggies in there. So these sky high beauties absolutely NEED to happen for him! These look insane, girl! Love it! Cheers!

    • You poor girl! I forgot that you had a cocoa allergy – you certainly know how to make up for that with all of your delicious chocolate-free creations. This is a great way to sneak in veggies to your guy’s treats – I promise he won’t detect a thing!! Thanks Chey! #stillsummer πŸ˜‰

  10. I love to pair zucchini with chocolate, so these brownies are right up my alley. They look incredibly fudgy and delicious!! You make healthier look so good, Katherine!

  11. I adore healthy chocolate sweets because it means I can eat as much as I want. Aren’t we supposed to have 6 cups of veggies a day? I’ll have to eat 3 pans of these brownies, but if that’s what I have to do it be healthy, then so be it. I have a huge zucchini in my refrig now so guess I’m making these over the weekend. Need Oscar’s pig spoon too! Too cute πŸ™‚

  12. These look amazingly fudgy and so full of good things! Healthy brownies are my fav thing fir breakfast and you will often find them in my freezer so I’m gonna put this one in circulation! PS – how could you not like carrot cake!!!! πŸ˜›

  13. I love how chocolate-y and chewy these are! Perfect dessert!! πŸ™‚

  14. These are the most delicious looking brownies I have ever seen. I love the frosting. Definitely want to try these. Nearly the beginning of Spring here in South Africa and the zucchini will be ready to be harvested from my garden. Guess what I am going to use it on first…not in a salad but these amazingly beautiful brownies.
    Have a great weekend Katherine πŸ˜ƒ

  15. These look decadent delicious! I bet the zucchini gives them an incredibly moist (please can we find a different word πŸ˜‰ ), but really they have the perfect texture!

  16. Love that these are so much healthier Katherine, yet they still look so decadent!

  17. I love fudgy brownies! And love them more when they are healthy :D! Seriously, healthy makes me feel less guilty for piling on these! They really look so decadent Kathy!!

  18. Yessss send me some zucchini so I can makes these yummy brownies!! I’m dying over the chocolate frosting too. Mmmmmm πŸ™‚ xoxo

  19. Oh my gosh these sound aamazing!!! Love the wholesome ingredients <3

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