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

About These Rich and Fudgy 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.

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.

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.

Zucchini brownies, redeemed!

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

Chocolate Brownie 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%.

More Delicious Dessert Bars with Fruit and Vegetables

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

 

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.

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!

Zucchini Brownies

5 from 4 votes
Moist dark chocolate zucchini brownies made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil, and maple syrup. So decadent, you'll never suspect they're healthy!

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins

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

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups zucchini grated
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled, 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • Grate the zucchini, then lightly pat a paper towel to remove some excess moisture. Do not dry the zucchini out completely.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add zucchini.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
  • Add dry mixture to the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • 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.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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72 Comments

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  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!

    1. Great question Tami (and I added notes to the ingredients!) ALWAYS pure maple syrup, and when I can find it, I prefer Grade B, because it has a richer flavor. If you live near a Trader Joe’s they make a great big Grade B bottle that I love, and it’s a good value too.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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!

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

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

  10. 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!

      1. Hi Maria, they’ll keep a few days in the fridge. You can also freeze them tightly wrapped in plastic for 1 to 2 months!

  11. 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.  

    1. Great question Rebecca! The texture of the brownies will turn out just fine with agave, but they will be more bittersweet. Maple syrup was the taste I preferred, but if you enjoy especially bittersweet flavors, then go for the agave!

  12. 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

    1. Cheryl, welcome!! I’m so happy your found my blog. I write all of my recipes for a conventional oven. If you want to use a convection (fan) oven, then I recommend referring to your manufacturer’s directions for how to adjust the temperature/baking time. I hope you love the recipes you try!

        1. Tracey, the recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour, as listed in the ingredients. I included a link so that you can see the product in the ingredient list too. It’s neither double zero flour, nor self rising flour. If you can’t find it, simply swap all purpose flour. I hope that helps!

    1. 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.

  13. 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!

    1. Kim, I am so happy to hear you loved these so much. I bet that maple syrup is OUTSTANDING. Thanks for trying the recipe and leaving your review!

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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!

    1. 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!

  17. 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 ?

    1. 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.

  18. My coconut oil is organic and makes everything taste like coconut :P. Would that still taste good with the cinnamon and nutmeg?
    Also, can I use rice flour instead of all purpose flour?

    1. Hi Miriam, it’s really up to your personal preference whether you’d like a coconut taste in the brownies! To be safe, you can use canola oil or another more neutral-tasting oil instead. I have never tried rice flour in this recipe, and since it behaves very differently than wheat flour, that swap would be a major experiment. I think a 1:1 gluten-free baking blend should work, but I’m not sure how rice flour would turn out.

  19. Hi Erin,

    I was very excited to try this recipe, looks great. However my brownies taste a little bitter (and not the bitter chocolate way) and very little sweet. I normally don’t like too much sweetness in my desserts but this is just not sweet enough. I have used honey because I didn’t have maple syrup, maybe that’s why? Anyways, do you have any thoughts how to salvage them? I can’t serve these to anyone. Thanks

    1. Lucy, I am sorry you didn’t enjoy these! What % chocolate did you use? Also, I did find that the honey has an off flavor with chocolate and could be why you aren’t enjoying the taste. I’ve made them both ways and do prefer the maple syrup. Now that the brownies are baked, I’m afraid you can’t do too much. Maybe try serving them with something sweet like vanilla ice cream and/or a chocolate sauce?

  20. I absolutely loved this recipe! It took me a while to figure out how to shred zucchini, and my honey (I was subbing 1/4 cup of honey + 1/4 cup of syrup because my mom said that 1/2 cup was too much syrup) didn’t wanna come out of the bottle, but whew boy! The effort was worth it! I messed with the oil a bit, using 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup applesauce instead of 1/2 cup oil. The result was slightly sweeter because of the applesauce, but I think I trimmed out some of those pesky calories, and it was still delicious! Totally worth all the effort! I really enjoyed your recipe and everyone that I fed one to didn’t even notice the zucchini flavor! It just adds a lovely texture into the brownies!5 stars

  21. Thank you for this recipe – SO AWESOME!
    I used spelt flour instead of whole wheat, subbed date syrup for maple syrup and used 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup mashed banana in lieu of the coconut oil.
    The zucchini strands were quite noticeable – i think i should have grated them more finely, but it didn’t bother me since the chocolate flavour and rich texture of the brownie more than made up for that.5 stars

    1. Hi Vivian! Since almond flour and regular flour behave very differently in baking, I wouldn’t recommend this swap. You could try these Avocado Brownies instead, which already use almond flour.

    1. Hi Mary! I preferred the taste of maple syrup with the chocolate here, but another reader has reported success with using honey. You’re welcome to experiment with it. I hope you enjoy the brownies!

  22. These brownies are fantastic! I appreciate that it makes an 8 x 8 pan (compared with a 9 x 13) of brownies – much more realistic to eat when I don’t have a family. A great use for all the zucchini in my garden now!5 stars