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!

Some other bloggers and I are posting healthier dishes today and taking a minute to help spread awareness on childhood obesity. Now brownies don’t exactly help with the issue but if you’re going to have dessert, why not make it healthier if you really can’t taste a difference? :)

These chocolate zucchini 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 - 100% whole grain (can also be made with all-purpose flour), 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 made healthier

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.

100% Whole Grain (can also be made with all-purpose flour) + Dairy-free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - nobody will have a clue that these are made healthier

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.

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

Here are some of my other favorite vegan + whole grain treats!

  • Once you try these 100% whole wheat vegan graham crackers, you’ll never go back to store-bought! (please click through to the recipe to see the dietary-friendly options)
  • Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes (please click through to the recipe to see the dietary-friendly options)
  • These no-bake peanut butter chocolate chip cookies only take a few minutes to put together and are naturally gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and 100% whole grain! (please click through to the recipe to see the dietary-friendly options)
  • A layer of raspberries and chocolate is sandwiched between a streusel-like crust and topping in these vegan, 100% whole grain and dairy-free chocolate raspberry oat bars! Can also be made with all-purpose flour and butter (please click through to the recipe to see the dietary-friendly options)

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

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Rated 4.9 by 46 readers
Chocolate Zucchini Brownies (100% whole grain, dairy-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or unrefined sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup (125 grams) whole wheat flour or whole spelt flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder (using regular cocoa powder may result in cakey brownies)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (about 300 – 320 grams) peeled and grated zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (for dairy-free, use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)

Directions

  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 1/2 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  | www.texanerin.com

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

  • Mimi says
    July 29, 2016 @ 3:55 pm

    Do you have nutrition facts for these?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mimi
      July 29, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

      I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)

      Reply
  • Barbra says
    July 29, 2016 @ 8:45 am

    If i don’t want to use cocoa powder can i substitute with lets say 1/4 cup of melted dark chocolate? And maybe reduce the sugar?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Barbra
      July 29, 2016 @ 11:29 am

      I’m sorry but I really don’t think that that’ll work! You can read more about why here. I recommend just getting some cocoa powder. :) I’d hate for you to waste your ingredients by experimenting with chocolate!

      Reply
  • Lera says
    July 21, 2016 @ 8:44 pm

    Could I use teff flour for these?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lera
      July 21, 2016 @ 8:52 pm

      I’ve had good luck with teff in brownies but can’t guarantee it’d work here since I haven’t tried it. I do have a teff brownie recipe here. :)

      Reply
      • Lera replies to Erin
        July 21, 2016 @ 8:55 pm

        Yep, and I’ve made that one twice and its delicious! Was just curious since I have the teff flour laying around. I may just use the 1-1 GF baking flour just to be safe.

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Lera
          July 21, 2016 @ 9:04 pm

          I think that’s a good idea! I’d hate for you to waste your flour on experimenting. I’m planning on trying an oat flour version of this soon so at least there’ll be 1 GF option soon. :) And I’m happy you enjoyed the other brownies!

  • Lauren says
    July 15, 2016 @ 8:08 pm

    Just made these, they’re AMAZING! So delicious!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lauren
      July 16, 2016 @ 12:07 am

      Yay! So happy that you liked them. Thanks for your comment. :)

      Reply
  • Yana says
    June 29, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

    Hi,do you think I could use liquid sweetener instead of sugar, would it make any difference in the texture?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Yana
      June 29, 2016 @ 10:33 pm

      Hi there! If you add liquid to the recipe then you need to reduce the other liquids in the recipe. Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t have any milk or anything that you can really reduce so I wouldn’t recommend it.

      Reply
      • Yana replies to Erin
        June 30, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

        Oh okay, and what if I exclude the sugar from the recipe/use a smaller amount ?

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Yana
          June 30, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

          You can reduce it a bit but if you reduce it too much, then the texture and taste will be negatively affected. Excluding all the sugar would be a disaster and I don’t recommend it. ;)

  • Regina
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    June 23, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

    These are amazing! The recipe turned out perfect!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Regina
      June 23, 2016 @ 10:47 pm

      I’m happy to hear that! Thanks so much for your comment. :)

      Reply
  • Lisa says
    June 17, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

    Can you use cacao powder instead of Dutch cocoa?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lisa
      June 18, 2016 @ 10:04 pm

      I wasn’t sure so I googled it and still don’t have a good answer. I’m sure it’ll taste fine but you’ll probably end up with cakey brownies rather than gooey like in the pictures. Let us know how it works if you try it out! Enjoy. :)

      Reply
  • Sheila Wright says
    June 15, 2016 @ 11:28 pm

    Made these a few weeks ago and like lots of people have said before, it was more like a moist cake…. so, I put a thin layer of cool whip on the top and called it zucchini cake… it was loved by all our kids and family at our cookout! I will replace my regular chocolate cake recipe with this one for now on. It’s our new family favorite! ! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sheila Wright
      June 16, 2016 @ 11:39 am

      Did you use Dutch-process cocoa powder or the regular Hershey’s kind? I think the commenter below you has figured out why they’re coming out cakey for some people but not cakey for others! And I’m so happy you still enjoyed it and turned it into a cake. :) Thanks so much for your comment!

      Reply
  • Irene says
    June 10, 2016 @ 1:43 am

    I’m not sure if the mystery of the “cakey” brownies has been solved but I’m quite sure it has to do with Dutch-processed cocoa vs natural cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa has a nutral pH which means the recipe needs baking powder to have any leavening occur, which is not what you use in your recipe hence yours are dense and moist. If someone substitutes natural cocoa it will react with the baking soda and cause a cake-like texture. The two cocoa’s are not interchangeable.
    Hope this is helpful :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Irene
      June 10, 2016 @ 10:23 pm

      Wow, thanks so much for your comment! I just updated the recipe stating that Dutch-process cocoa powder must be used. That’s what I originally had listed but then several people told me that they had used natural cocoa powder with success so I listed that as an option. I’m going to go through my other brownie recipes and add a note to them, as well. Really, thanks so much for taking the time to leave this comment! It’s a huge help. :)

      Reply
      • Irene Whitehead replies to Erin
        June 14, 2016 @ 7:10 pm

        No problem, glad to be of help. My head is full of random baking facts, I’m glad they can be useful :)

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Irene Whitehead
          June 16, 2016 @ 11:34 am

          Haha. Better than a bunch of random film trivia, like mine. ;) Thanks again!

  • Machelle
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    says
    June 7, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

    I made these last night. I will make them again but i will tweak the recipe. i used a tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and these had a very strong taste of liquor. So i will cut that back quite a bit. The brownies were more like cake but I may have stirred them too much or baked them too long, according to your comments. But over all I will be making these again. Thank you for sharing this is a keeper.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Machelle
      June 8, 2016 @ 5:07 pm

      I’m happy you enjoyed them! And good call on being careful with the overstirring. I hope next time they’ll come out as gooey as they should be! Thanks a bunch for your comment. :)

      Reply
  • Rachel says
    June 3, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

    Oh my! These are so decadent! Delicious and easy. I skipped the chips on top.

    Reply
    • Rachel
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      replies to Rachel
      June 3, 2016 @ 12:41 pm

      Oops, forgot to add a 5 star rating!

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Rachel
        June 3, 2016 @ 6:51 pm

        And thanks for leaving another comment just to leave a rating. Much appreciated! :)

        Reply
    • Erin replies to Rachel
      June 3, 2016 @ 6:51 pm

      I’m so happy you liked them! Thanks for your comment. :)

      Reply
  • Jackie says
    June 1, 2016 @ 10:43 pm

    If I am in the mood for a healthy desert and don’t have zucchini could I substitute it for a banana? (I’m not familiar with substitutions just trying to eat healthier) LOL any advice would help! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jackie
      June 2, 2016 @ 4:13 pm

      I’ve never tried subbing a banana for zucchini so I’m sorry to say I have no idea if that’d work. I’m guessing not, though. 2 cups is a lot of zucchini to omit / sub! These brownies have a lot more sugar in them but there’s no zucchini to worry about. :)

      Reply
  • Madhavi says
    May 29, 2016 @ 6:22 pm

    It is splendid to come across your recipe for healthy brownies. Just a thought to help out those who found their brownies turning out cakey could be the baking time….I experiment a lot with mixed Millet/buckwheat flours in brownies and I think it helps to get the brownies out soon as they are at a stage where a few crumbs stick to the tester/sticky as you mention in the procedure. Timing is key when it comes to making fudgy multi-grain brownies.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Madhavi
      May 30, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

      Exactly! I suppose the few people who said these are cakey might be overbaking them (if they didn’t make any subs) because these just aren’t cakey. I hope you’ll enjoy the brownies if you try them out! Thanks for your comment. :)

      Reply
  • Andrea Hooper says
    May 12, 2016 @ 2:49 am

    Do you think these would be 21 day fix approved?! PLEASE SAY YES!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Andrea Hooper
      May 12, 2016 @ 9:50 pm

      I’m sorry but I’m not at all familiar with that program! Do they have guidelines anywhere?

      Reply
      • Andrea Hooper replies to Erin
        May 12, 2016 @ 10:13 pm

        Yes they do! I think I would basically need to substitute the sugar for maple syrup or agave. http://www.daystofitness.com/21-day-fix-eating-plan/

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Andrea Hooper
          May 13, 2016 @ 9:22 pm

          Hmm. I can’t find any mentions of sweeteners (maple, agave, or sugar) in that post, though I didn’t read the comments! The problem with using a liquid sweetener is that you’ll be adding quite a bit of liquid, which I think will make the brownies cakey.

  • Lisa
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    says
    May 9, 2016 @ 11:41 pm

    Holy Toledo! The most moist delicious brownie!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lisa
      May 11, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

      Yay! So happy you liked them. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Lucia says
    May 8, 2016 @ 6:56 pm

    I just made these and they are amazing!!! I left out the chocolate chips (I didn’t have any on hand) and it still came out delicious!! I used me own mix of gluten free flours (instead of the whole wheat flour. Yes these brownies are a bit more ‘cake like’ but they are super light and moist. A total winner! Thank you for sharing!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lucia
      May 8, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

      I’m happy your GF mix worked out well here! Which flours did you use? I’m thinking of trying these with buckwheat. I’m pretty sure they’d come out gooey and fudgy like the whole wheat version with that. :) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      Reply
      • Leila replies to Erin
        June 8, 2016 @ 5:34 pm

        Hi,

        For a buckwheat flour substitution how would I change the measurements? Or is it a 1:1?

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Leila
          June 8, 2016 @ 11:36 pm

          Hello! I’d do a 1:1 sub but since I haven’t tried it yet, I can’t say if it’d actually work. I hope you’ll enjoy them if you give it a go. :)

  • Kelly
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    says
    April 25, 2016 @ 12:52 am

    I love to bake but up until today everything I’ve baked has been super unhealthy (albeit delicous). I’m looking to make some healthier changes but I could never cut out sweets! I tried this recipe today and I have to say, these are by FAR the best brownies I’ve ever had. These will be my go-to from here on out. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kelly
      April 25, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

      I’m with you! I want to eat a little more healthfully but sweets aren’t going anywhere. ;) I’m so happy that you enjoyed the brownies and your first healthier sweets! Thanks a bunch for your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Jane says
    February 20, 2016 @ 9:10 pm

    I followed the recipe, but mine turned out to be more of a cake consistency than brownie… What are your thoughts? Still delicious though!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jane
      February 20, 2016 @ 9:22 pm

      Did you make any subs at all? Or did you perhaps mix a little too much? Or did you maybe use a black or very dark colored pan? They definitely shouldn’t be cake-like but I’m happy they were still tasty!

      Reply
    • Kristi Moyer replies to Jane
      April 21, 2016 @ 4:40 am

      I totally agree, this was very cakey, not what I was expecting. Good, very good, but it was a chocolate cake with chocolate chips.

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Kristi Moyer
        April 21, 2016 @ 4:32 pm

        If these brownies came out cakey, I’m pretty sure something must have gone wrong. Or did you make any subs at all? Or make any changes to the recipe? Or perhaps overmix the batter? If you overmix, that can lead to more cakey brownies. I’m happy you still enjoyed them!

        Reply
  • Tracy Harp says
    January 11, 2016 @ 9:28 pm

    We went plant based last January and this brownie has become our occasional treat! Instead of eggs I have used flax eggs (1 Tbsp ground flax with 3 Tbsp water per egg) and last time tried an aqua faba substitute (the liquid that drains off of chick peas). Both work fabulously!! These brownies are rich and moist. Our favorite way to eat them is topped with fresh strawberries.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tracy Harp
      January 15, 2016 @ 9:43 am

      How awesome that your vegan subs worked out well! Thanks for sharing your tips with us. :)

      Reply
  • Kelly says
    January 6, 2016 @ 1:34 am

    I made these tonight and they are delicious! I was making them on a whim from my pantry and only had granulted sugar so I used that. I also only had a bag of mixed chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and let me just tell you… I don’t regret using that combo! In the future I’m going to try to pare down the refined sugar even more and use the coconut sugar and maybe a different kind of chocolate chip, but for now I’m enjoying these and feeling pretty satisfied with myself that they are pretty healthy!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kelly
      January 7, 2016 @ 9:52 am

      Mixed chocolate and peanut butter chips sounds amazing! I’ll definitely have to try that. :) I’m happy that they came out well for you. Thanks a bunch for your feedback and let me know how the different chocolate chip versions go!

      Reply
  • Char says
    December 29, 2015 @ 10:33 am

    Hi, do you think we can sub applesauce for the eggs and still get a good result? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Char
      December 30, 2015 @ 2:48 am

      Hi, there! I haven’t tried that sub so I’m not sure if it’d work out. I’m pretty sure it’d make the brownies a bit more cakey and a lot less fudgy, though. Sorry I don’t have a more definite answer for you!

      Reply
  • Sarah says
    November 4, 2015 @ 3:04 am

    How many calories are in each brownie and can you substitute whole wheat flour for almond flour?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sarah
      November 4, 2015 @ 3:37 pm

      I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here and it’ll give you what you’re looking for. :) Almond flour isn’t interchangeable with wheat. If you need these to be gluten-free, I’d recommend oat flour (though I haven’t tried it myself).

      Reply
      • Michelle replies to Erin
        May 30, 2016 @ 8:32 am

        could you use coconut flour?

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Michelle
          May 30, 2016 @ 10:52 am

          No, sorry. Coconut flour also isn’t interchangeable with wheat flour (or any other flour for that matter!). If you want to make these gluten-free, I recommend using a GF baking mix that’s a 1-to-1 sub for all-purpose flour.

  • Shae says
    October 14, 2015 @ 2:57 am

    THESE ARE THE BEST BROWNIES I’VE EVER MADE! I was looking for alternative ways to make desserts and cam across this recipe i tried it and they were perfect, i have made them multiple time since. One time i used half chocolate chips and half butterscoth for a party everyone was in awe….Tonight i made them and substituted the applesauce for pumpkin puree and added nutmeg and cinnamon to turn them into delicious fall brownies….MY FAVORITE RECIPE! thank you so much ive had so many people ask me for the recipe.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Shae
      October 14, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

      Wow! I’m so happy that you’ve been enjoying them so much. And I love your experimenting! The pumpkin puree version sounds like something I need to try. :) Thanks a ton for your feedback and for sharing your variations!

      Reply

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