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Healthy Zucchini Brownies (Gluten Free, Naturally Sweetened, Dairy Free)

These double chocolate zucchini brownies are filled with zucchini and are naturally sweetened yet have a decadent flavor that you’re going to love! The zucchini gives the brownies a super moist and fudgy texture (but you can’t taste it at all). Cacao powder and chocolate chips lend richness, and a 2-ingredient frosting takes the brownies over the top. You can use regular all-purpose flour OR a gluten-free flour blend in this recipe. Almond flour keeps these brownies super tender. For a dairy free version, use nut milk in the frosting.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy brownie recipe, zucchini brownie recipe, zucchini brownies
Servings: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray or coconut oil for pan

Brownies

  • 1 8- ounce zucchini (about 8 inches long), trimmed and coarsely chopped (2 scant cups when cut into 1-inch dice)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (100g) gluten free 1-to-1 flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill or Cup 4 Cup, Bob’s Red Mill) OR ¾ cup (90g) regular all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (30g) almond flour
  • ½ cup (47g) raw cacao powder or good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Frosting

  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons milk or nut milk

Instructions

Make the brownies

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray, or rub it with oil. Line the pan crosswise with parchment paper, leaving an overhang (this will make it easier to pull the brownies out later, but it's optional).
  • In a food processor (or Vitamix), combine the zucchini, vegetable oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Process until smooth (you’ll still see flecks of green). Add the flour, almond flour, cacao powder, baking powder and salt. Pulse just until incorporated (don’t over-mix). Scrape the sides. Add the chocolate chips and pulse to combine.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Bake until the top is matte and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with damp crumbs, 25-30 minutes. Place the pan on a rack and let the brownies cool for 10 minutes. Using the parchment paper as handles, remove the brownies from the pan (you can skip this step and serve the brownies straight out of the pan if you prefer!). Let cool completely (the sides will shrink in slightly as it cools).

Make the frosting

  • Combine the chocolate chips and milk in a small microwave safe bowl or double boiler. If microwaving, cook on high in 15 second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted and shiny. If using a double boiler, cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and shiny.
  • Spread the warm frosting over the brownies. Let the brownies sit until the frosting is set (you can pop them in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill faster… and if you can’t wait that long and need to sneak a bite when the frosting is still melty and gooey, I get it). Slice the brownies and serve!

Notes

Storage: Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Tips:
  • This brownie batter gets made right in a food processor! You could also use a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. (Check out my first book, The Food Processor Family Cookbook, for other recipes that use the food processor!)
  • You’ll need 8-ounces of zucchini, which is about one 8-inch zucchini (it’s the equivalent of 2 scant cups of diced zucchini). 
  • To make the brownies gluten free, use a gluten free all-purpose flour blend. I tested these brownies with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Cup 4 Cup. 
  • The brownies also incorporate almond flour, which gives them a more tender texture. 
  • I suggest using dark chocolate chips in this recipe for a rich, chocolaty flavor (I use Guittard 63% chocolate chips).
  • Using whole milk will give you the shiniest frosting, but you can use nut milk for a dairy free version.