Zucchini Brownies {Whole Wheat, Naturally Sweetened}

Though I might malign zucchini for its propensity to overtake every possible kitchen surface, I must commend any vegetable that can produce a dessert as intensely chocolaty and gratifying as these whole wheat zucchini brownies.

These ultra moist zucchini brownies are made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and are naturally sweetened with maple syrup. The best healthy brownie recipe!

Let us give respect where respect is due. These fudgy squares of hidden-veggie magic are downright delectable.

This zucchini brownie recipe came to be when my hankering for chocolate intersected with my perpetual, internal guilt over allowing produce of any kind to go bad, including excessively abundant squash. Our zucchini were just about to slip into the no-zone, when I remembered a pan of zucchini brownies that I made for Ben and myself a few summers ago. They were terrible.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil and naturally sweetened with maple syrup

Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, made with whole wheat flour

A recipe that turned out badly might sound like odd motivation, but I was convinced that zucchini brownies could and should be delicious. I loved this Chocolate Chip Paleo Zucchini Bread after all, so surely zucchini brownies had potential. I began to fantasize over my ideal zucchini brownie. Totally normal.

Best Ever Zucchini Brownies

My zucchini brownies were to be fudgy but not too fudgy to resolve the household conflict between the fudgy brownie loyals (me) and the cakey brownie devotees (Ben). They needed To be quick and easy to make, as I don’t like anything standing between me and my brownie, least of all extra prep time. Finally, to properly honor the reality that we are, in fact, putting vegetables in a dessert, I wanted my zucchini brownies to be reasonably healthy…without actually tasting healthy. A few recipe tests later, and we have a victory on all accounts. Zucchini brownies, I knew I liked you.

Whole wheat and naturally sweetened Zucchini Brownies made with coconut oil. I couldn't believe that these are healthy!

These brownies are 100% whole wheat, sweetened with maple syrup, and boast two full cups of shredded zucchini. They pack double the chocolate—cocoa powder or dark chocolate alone did not seem sufficient, so I used both—and are ultra moist, thanks to a combo of coconut oil and the moisture from the zucchini itself. And, just in case you were worried, they don’t taste vegetables. At all.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Brownies made with coconut oil and naturally sweetened with maple syrup

This recipe was my starting point, and after a few rounds of tweaking, I arrived with what I consider to be my ideal zucchini brownie. I added a bit of nutmeg, replaced the original olive oil with coconut oil, and, because I found the taste of the honey used in the original recipe to be a bit off-putting with the chocolate, my final version uses maple syrup instead. It gives a more classic brownie flavor and is a nicer pairing with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Two additional tips: First, be sure that you don’t completely press the zucchini dry after grating—you want most of its moisture to make the brownies nice and moist too. A light pat should do. Second, these brownies are not ultra sweet, so if you aren’t a fan of especially bittersweet chocolate flavor we can’t be friends choose a semi-sweet (around 55% or 60%) chocolate, versus a more intense 70%.

Zucchini brownies, redeemed!

Public service announcement: I’ll be cooking LIVE on Evine TV’s The Sizzle this Sunday, around 9:25 a.m. CST, demoing this pan. If you’d like to tune in (and watch me try not to burn fish tacos), you can find a channel guide here or watch live here.

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Zucchini Brownies

Moist dark chocolate zucchini brownies made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and maple syrup. So decadent, you'll never suspect they're healthy!


Yield: 16 brownies (1 8x8-inch pan)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups zucchini, grated

  • 1/2 cup melted and cooled coconut oil (or very light olive oil or canola oil)

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (use the real deal! I prefer Grade B, which has a richer flavor.)

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate or 1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips (55% to 60% dark for a classic brownie taste; 70% dark for an intense, bittersweet chocolate taste)


Directions:


  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper so that you have a little hanging over the sides. Grease parchment paper a second time. Set aside.

  2. Grate the zucchini, then lightly pat a paper towel to remove some excess moisture. Do not dry the zucchini out completely.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add zucchini.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.

  5. Add dry mixture to the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips.

  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.

  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean but with a few crumbs still clinging too it. Let cool completely before removing from pan with the parchment paper handles…or take your chances.


Adapted from A Dass of Sass


// All images and text ©/Well Plated.

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

54 comments

  1. Love tha these are naturally sweetened and OBSESSED with the photos on this post! :) That shot of the mixing bowl!

  2. I’m loving your photos from this shoot…They look too pretty to eat! However, I never turn down chocolate! :) 

  3. Zucchini + chocolate is just the best. These brownies sound so good – I’ll take one for breakfast please! Have a great weekend Erin!

  4. This sounds simply delightful!

  5. Just any kind of maple syrup? Is there a brand that you prefer?

  6. Hi Erin – I’m with you when it comes to throwing away good food, though it’s tough to keep up with zucchini since it grows like weeds. Your brownies are definitely a nice change from zucchini bread!

  7. Praise you for making brownies that aren’t loaded with extra sugar and butter!

  8. I’ve never had zucchini in brownies before. I’m glad yours turned out better this time! I’ll definitely have to give these a try. Gorgeous pics!

  9. Healthy +  zucchini = YUM. These look pretty tasty and  can’t wait to try them! 

  10. Zucchini + brownies, definitely go perfectly together. Such a delicious treat! Pinning!

  11. I love this Zucchini + chocolate combo. It is so good! These brownies looks absolutely delicious.  so good!! Have a great weekend Erin!

  12. Looks great! Any thoughts on a gluten-free substitute for the whole wheat flour?

  13. Zucchini in any dessert is *two thumbs up* in my book. And these look heavenly!!! 

  14. I saw the comment above about making them GF. Oat flour labeled GF (Bob’s Red Mill) works really well in brownie recipes.
    These look amazing. I don’t know if I could live with a cakey brownie devotee, so you have my utmost respect, Erin. These are a great way to make everyone happy!

  15. These look fantastic!!! I’ve been looking for a healthy brownie recipe for my kids. Very excited to make these!

  16. I need to make these immediately. Tell the truth, can you taste the coconut if you use coconut oil?

  17. Oh yum! I have a large zucchini that I’d love to turn into brownies!

  18. Yum! Zucchini brownies! I’ve made SO much baked goods with zucchini before but never thought to make them into brownies. These are wonderful, Erin!

  19. Made these last night for my picky and skeptical eater with full disclosure about the zucchini.  Verdict was that they were good.  High praise for anything involving squash from him, trust me. I think they turned out great.  Loved the trick with the parchment paper.  Made cleanup a breeze.  We have a winner,   Thanks, Erin.  

  20. Can agave be used instead of syrup?

  21. So do you use the nutmeg in the ingredient list??

  22. Hi Erin, I stumbled on your blog and was awed by all the healthy yet fabulous looking recipes :) wondering if you use a fan oven or conventional oven? Want to take care not to over-bake these brownies!

    Cheers,
    Cheryl

  23. Is another word for the flour “00” (double zero)?? Not self raising?

  24. Can these be frozen?

  25. Do you have nutritional content for these brownies?

    • Hi Tamara! Regarding nutritional info, this is something that I’ve actually started adding to all of my new recipes, effective January 2016 (you’ll see it in the recipe box at the bottom). Unfortunately, it’s pretty time consuming, so I’m unable to go back and add it to past recipes. If you’d like the nutritional info for any of my older recipes (or really any other recipe or food), you can actually calculate it yourself for free at myfitnesspal.com (this is how I calculate the new recipes on my blog). I’m sorry I can’t give you the information for this exact recipe, but I hope that My Fitness Pal will be a helpful resource for you.

  26. Thanks. I will try that. The brownies were very good!

  27. I am eating one of these right now. I didn’t change the recipe at all and they are so fudgy and GOOD!! I used maple syrup from my back yard-bonus!

  28. Just made these and they were amazing!  We put the ingredients into myfitnesspal, and came up with 208 calories, 10 grams of fat per brownie.  Thanks for your blog.

  29. Australian cooks beware – the oven temp is in Fahrenheit not Celsius! I ruined mine but hopefully next time they turn out better :)

  30. I made these for a friend who swore he would never eat zucchini again. He said he would have eaten zucchini all along if it had been in treats this good! Then I turned around and substituted freshly roasted pumpkin for the zucchini and that got rave reviews also. This is my new favorite brownie recipe. Thank you so much!

    • Ruth, I am so happy to hear this! Nothing like a brownie to convert zucchini skeptics :) That’s great to know that the recipe works well with pumpkin too. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Hi!
    Super excited to make these,
    I don’t think we have pastry flour in the UK, is there anything I can use as a substitute ?

  32. I’m not a huge fan of cocoa powder. Any substitute suggestions?

  33. Could you add nuts to the recipe? What would one have to do differently to accommodate for them?

    • Hi Steph! You don’t need to do anything differently. I’d chop and toast the nuts first for maximum flavor, then just fold them in right along with the chocolate chips. About 1/2 cup of nuts should be perfect.

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