Chocolate Zucchini Brownies (100% whole grain, dairy-free)

The most gooey chocolate zucchini brownies ever! You’d never guess these are healthy and made with whole grains, zucchini and that applesauce takes the place of oil!

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - 100% whole grain, dairy-free, and have no added fat other than what is in the chocolate chips! So gooey and chocolatey, nobody will have a clue that these are almost fat free! |

Please note that this giveaway is now closed!

I am ridiculously excited about this post! First of all, Partnership for a Healthier America, All-Clad and a group of bloggers have gotten together to help spread awareness of childhood obesity. We’re all posting healthier back to school dishes today and giving away a 7 piece set from All-Clad + nine 11″ Nonstick French Skillets! You can enter the giveaway and find links to the other back to school goodies at the bottom of the post.

Second of all… these brownies. The chocolate brownies have no added fat (except what’s in the chocolate chips) and are full of zucchini and whole grains (but really do not taste like it!) so you can feel good about giving these to your children.

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - so gooey and chocolatey, nobody will have a clue that these are almost fat free! They are also 100% whole grain and dairy-free. |

Really, unless your kids watch you make these, there’s no way that they’ll be able to tell that these chocolate brownies have zucchini in them. Or that they’re whole wheat or whole spelt. The original recipe from The Baltic Maid used a little more sugar but I found these plenty sweet. And if you have portion control issues, these halve beautifully! Use a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and bake for only 14 minutes. I highly recommend not decreasing the amount of chocolate chips in the batter. You can definitely skip the ones on top but these zucchini brownies rely on the sweetness and flavor from the chocolate chips!

I’m not one to be afraid of a little coconut oil, olive oil or any of the “healthier” fats, but these do add calories to the final product. Calories which help contribute to weight gain. The obesity rate in elementary school children (ages 6-11) has quadrupled over the past four decades and a third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. And these kids are more likely to be obese as adults.

That’s why it’s important to instill healthy eating habits in our kids from the very beginning. Why set them up for failure?

The other bloggers and I are so excited to be working with Partnership for a Healthier America, which is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to end childhood obesity, to help bring awareness to this issue. So what healthy change are you going to make this school year? I don’t have kids yet but I’m going to do my best to keep bringing you healthier recipes! Less sugar, no processed junk, and whole grain or gluten / grain-free.

100% Whole Grain + Dairy-free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - nobody will have a clue that these are almost fat free! |

Now about the giveaway! All-Clad, known for their premium quality cookware, and Partnership for a Healthier America are generously sponsoring an amazing giveaway. The grand prize winner will receive one 7 piece All-Clad Stainless Steel Cookware Set valued at $489.99 and 9 winners (one winner selected from each participating blog!) will win one 11″ Nonstick French Skillet with Domed Lid valued at $139.99! All together, the prizes (of which you can “only” win one! ;)) are worth $1749.

100% Whole Grain + Dairy-free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - nobody will have a clue that these are almost fat free! |

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below. You only have one week to enter so be sure to do that now before you forget. ;) The giveaway ends on Monday, August 26 at 12:00pm EST. Sorry, but US only.

Click on here to enter the giveaway!

Be sure to check out the other back to school dishes!

Zucchini Chocolate Brownies (100% whole grain, dairy-free)

Rated 4.6 by 21 readers
Chocolate Zucchini Brownies (100% whole grain, dairy-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 16 brownies


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar or unrefined or granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup (125 grams) whole spelt or whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup (45 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (about 300 – 320 grams) peeled and grated zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + ½ cup mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (for dairy-free, use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) and line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper or spray with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, coconut sugar, and apple sauce and let this sit for 5 minutes to let the coconut sugar dissolve.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder (sifted if lumpy!), baking soda and salt. Make sure there are no clumps before going on to the next step.
  4. Add the dry mix to the wet, gently stir until combined. Be sure not to over mix!
  5. Then fold in the zucchini and 1 cup chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan and even the surface with a spatula.
  7. Sprinkle ½ cup mini chocolate chips on top.
  8. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes (14 minutes for the half batch) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle doesn't come out gooey. It might still be sticky - just not have raw batter on it.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to one week in the refrigerator. I recommend storing them in the refrigerator right from the beginning due to their high moisture content.

Adapted from Healthy Zucchini Brownies – The Baltic Maid

Recipe by  |

I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions expressed are my own. This giveaway has been sponsored by Partnership for a Healthier America and All-Clad (thank you so much!) For further information, please read my disclosure statement.

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198 comments on “Chocolate Zucchini Brownies (100% whole grain, dairy-free)” — Add one!

  • Lily
    April 9, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

    I was really excited about this recipe! I substituted coconut oil for applesauce since we didn’t have any at home. Perhaps that really messed with the outcome, but I’m not so sure.

    I just pulled these out of the oven, and I am, sadly, disappointed with these brownies.

    First of all, if you add a cup of chocolate chips to any recipe (and add more on top), it will taste great. Why bother with the zucchini and whole wheat/ spelt flour at all? The amount of chocolate chips totally negates any real progress in nutrition.

    I left out the chocolate chips and the resulting flavor was bland and “earthy” tasting, definitely not like a brownie. Almost like a piece of brown bread, actually.

    I would rather just eat 1 cup of chocolate chips from the bag!


    • Erin replies to Lily
      April 10, 2014 @ 8:20 am

      I’m sorry you didn’t like them. I’ve just made it clear in the post that you need the chocolate chips. I do have to disagree with you on the pointlessness of using zucchini and whole grains here. Just because there are a lot of chocolate chips doesn’t mean I need to use all-purpose flour, refined sugar (although sugar is sugar) and butter instead of applesauce. That’s like saying why eat salad if you’re going to use salad dressing? At least in my opinion. :) I’m all about making healthier desserts and not healthy desserts. There will always be some kind of sweetener in my desserts (and therefore never be classified as “healthy”) but I won’t stop making other healthier changes just because of the negative contribution sweeteners (or in this case, chocolate chips) make to the nutritional profile.

      • Lily
        replies to Erin
        April 12, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

        Hey Erin,
        First of all, I am so sorry to have left a negative post! It might seem silly, but I really have been thinking about it and just wish I had tried the recipe as you suggested and THEN reviewed. So sorry about that.

        Now, to the reason I’m posting again: I made them a second time exactly as you directed in the recipe and they were REALLY really good. Also, even though I ate like 10, I didn’t feel gross afterwards at all.

        Thanks for a great recipe, and I apologize again for my first review and totally admit it was 100% error! This recipe will be my new go-to from now on :)


        • Erin replies to Lily
          April 12, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

          Hi Lily! Thanks a bunch for this comment. I really appreciate that you came back to re-review them after making them with the chocolate chips! I’m also happy that you enjoyed them. Yucky brownies are one of the saddest things ever, right? ;) And so awesome that they’ll be your go-to brownie from now on! Thanks again. :)

  • Trudy says
    March 12, 2014 @ 12:53 am

    Wondering if one could use Quinoa floor rather than the whole wheat or spelt for these zucchini brownies. If so what would the portion amount be

    • Erin replies to Trudy
      March 12, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

      I’m afraid not. :( Quinoa flour doesn’t have the gluten in it to hold these brownies together. If you need them to be gluten-free, you could try a gluten-free baking mix but I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure.

  • mary says
    January 12, 2014 @ 12:58 am

    I have a baking question. When you use baking soda as the leavener there is usually something acidic in the recipe, otherwise the leavening agent is usually baking powder. Is the zucchini acidic enough to need baking powder?

    • Erin replies to mary
      January 12, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

      Good question! I have to be honest and say that I’m not really sure, even after doing a little research. If you prefer to use baking powder, give it a try. These are incredibly dense brownies so I don’t think it’d end in disaster, even if baking powder was the wrong call.

    • Danielle replies to mary
      February 16, 2014 @ 5:33 am

      the cocoa is

  • Keni says
    October 30, 2013 @ 12:21 am

    Can I use baking stivia or Splenda for a diabetic treat?

    • Erin replies to Keni
      October 30, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

      I haven’t tried it myself. I’m thinking there might be a Stevia aftertaste but if you’re used to that, then I think it’d be okay. :)

      • Lauren B. replies to Erin
        November 25, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

        Hi, Erin! Stevia and Splenda by themselves do not sweeten chocolate sufficiently. The brownies would taste very bitter using one of those substitutes. Just piping up because I run a sugar-free blog and have worked with sweeteners quite a bit. ;) Have enjoyed browsing your recipes so much! I’m going to try my hand at a few of the grain free ones, and of course give you credit if I post ‘em.

        Great job with those photos by the way. So drool-worthy!

        • Whitney
          replies to Lauren B.
          January 22, 2014 @ 8:06 am

          Could u use honey instead of sugar? And if so do you need to add more or something else to balance it back out?

        • Erin replies to Whitney
          January 24, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

          Sorry for the slow reply! I use a lot of honey in place of sugar and haven’t found an exact rule. If I were you, I’d try half and half and see what happens. I hope it worked out if you already tried it!

  • Katy Lee says
    October 29, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    Made these yesterday, and they turned out fantastically!! I’m on a diet before my wedding but needed something sweet and gooey as a treat and they were perfect! Thanks so much for this recipe!! Even better than regular brownies!

    • Erin replies to Katy Lee
      October 29, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

      Better than regular brownies – woohoo! Thanks for that. ;) So happy that you like the brownies! I hope you have a wonderful wedding and good luck with the diet. :) Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Tess
    October 19, 2013 @ 4:30 am

    I made these the other night and they were FANTASTIC! I have been trying to find a healthy dessert that is delicious and that my fiancee would eat (happily). And he loved them too. I’m literally making them right now.

    • Erin replies to Tess
      October 19, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

      So happy that you and your fiancee like them! :) I have the same issue with my guy not liking healthy desserts (even though they don’t taste healthy!) Thanks so much for the feedback and the rating. :)

  • Daniella says
    October 9, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

    Coarsely or finely grated?

    • Erin replies to Daniella
      October 9, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

      I used a medium grater! I’d go for coarse if you don’t have a medium one. Hope you’ll like them. :)

  • Holly says
    September 25, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

    Will these be okay without the 1 c of choc chips inside them?? They look SO GOOD but we are out of choc chips :(

    • Erin replies to Holly
      September 26, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

      I guess that they’d be okay but they won’t be nearly as good! There’s not that much sugar in them so you need the chocolate chips for sweetness and gooey-ness. ;) I hope you’ll like them!

  • Kristin says
    September 23, 2013 @ 2:29 am

    Is coconut sugar the same as coconut palm sugar?

    • Erin replies to Kristin
      September 24, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

      Yup! It’s the same. :)

  • Jane says
    September 23, 2013 @ 2:03 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I got married to a non-vegetable-lover, and I spend a LOT of time figuring out how to get veggies into him – whether he knows about it or not. He loves dessert, and I don’t care about it, so he should have been suspicious when I made him a pan of these the other night, but he had NO CLUE. And I’m impressed – two cups of zucchini is not easy to hide in anything. The zucchini really keeps them moist. I didn’t have any cocoa powder when I thought I did, so I improvised and added ‘sipping chocolate” powder I had in the pantry. THANK YOU!

    • Erin replies to Jane
      September 24, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

      Wow, that’s awesome! I’m also a veggie hater so I can sympathize with your husband. ;) So funny that he had no clue that these had zucchini in them. Woohoo! I’m happy to hear that the sipping chocolate powder worked out. :) Thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Nicole says
    September 13, 2013 @ 6:02 am

    I just made these and they are delish…..You would never know that there is zucchini in them. I’m not even going to tell the kids or hubby. Thank you for the great recipe.

  • Monica says
    September 7, 2013 @ 1:42 am

    We finally got around to making these, soooo good! My girls thought it was funny that we put a zucchini in brownies. We gobbled them up in no time! Thank you!!

    • Erin replies to Monica
      September 8, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

      I’m so happy that you all liked them, Monica! And awesome that your girls thought it was funny about the zucchini (rather than gross!) Thanks so much for letting me know that they came out well. :)

  • Regina says
    August 28, 2013 @ 2:25 am

    These brownies look ridiculously gooey! I want to plant my face in them :D

    • Erin replies to Regina
      September 1, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

      Hehe. Me too! Soo gooey. ;)

  • Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen says
    August 27, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

    YES!!! Healthy brownies are the best. :)

  • Wild Child says
    August 26, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    Healthier weekend treats, and maybe a little less ice cream….lol


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