by Olena

Healthy Zucchini Brownies

by Olena

4.9 from 19 reviews

Zucchini Brownies made healthy with sneaky veggies and whole wheat flour. No one will complain! Trust me.

If and when I bake, I make mostly healthy desserts. Black bean brownies and healthy zucchini bread are at the top of the list because kids love them!

3 zucchini brownies stacked on top of each other

Zucchini Brownies

These zucchini brownies are pure delight! Fudgy, healthy and easy. They do taste like real brownies while made with whole foods. And let’s be honest. Because zucchini is a seasonal item, I make zucchini brownies during summer months. In winter, you can find me cooking batches of Instant Pot black beans and making these brownies.

Everyone in my household was particularly excited for the re-do of healthy brownies with zucchini. Kids want to eat zucchini. Pinch me.

Let’s dive in!

Ingredients

  • Zucchini
  • Coconut oil
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Egg
  • Cacao powder
  • Whole wheat or spelt flour

Please read further about zucchini as it’s important.

How to make healthy brownies step by step

Substitutions

I will go over most commonly asked questions.

  • Flour – You can use only whole wheat or spelt flour. Any gluten free flour will not work because it doesn’t have gluten in it. This zucchini brownie recipe relies on gluten in dough to rise. All purpose flour acts differently than whole wheat flour too. So please stay the course for successful healthy brownies.:)
  • Maple syrup – You can replace only with liquid sweetener like honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc. Baking is a science and the ratio of dry : liquid is important and can’t be offset. Can’t use sugar.
  • Coconut oil – You can use any mild tasting oil like avocado oil. Or basically any oil you like the taste of. Oil is oil. One thing though. Because coconut oil is solid, zucchini brownies will be a tad more fudgy as it cools down and becomes solid again after baking. Haven’t tried applesauce either, so can’t tell.
  • Cacao powder – More common cocoa powder is OK. It’s just more processed where as cacao powder is considered a healthy choice with more antioxidants and nutrients.

Do I Have to Squeeze Zucchini?

Just a gentle mini squeeze.

We do not squeeze out zucchini completely. Just a gentle squeeze. Please read the recipe. Assume nothing. All zucchini brownies use different techniques. And baking is a science. We need the water contained in zucchini to make brownies moist and fudgy.

Grate zucchini on a medium size holes side of grater. Not large but not tiny holes. This helps with “nobody will be able to tell brownies contain sneaky veggies”.

Place zucchini in a colander while you are getting other ingredients ready. Do not overpack your measuring cup with zucchini because even extra 1/4 cup increases baking time.

chocolate zucchini brownies batter in a baking dish and sliced after baking

How Do I Know Brownies Are Ready?

  1. Bake for 28 minutes at 375 degrees F preheated oven.
  2. Remove zucchini brownies from the oven and let cool for about an hour in the pan. Baked zucchini brownies top should be soft and glossy and the centre not too jiggly.
  3. Do not over bake as brownies will have more of a cake consistency. A toothpick inserted has to come out somewhat not clean. If centre is too jiggly bake a bit more, ovens vary.
  4. Lift by the parchment paper flaps and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely. Cut into 16 squares.

Frosting?

No frosting, friends. No 1 cup of butter + 2 cups of icing sugar frosting. These are healthy brownies. Healthy.

We pack them with heart healthy monounsaturated fats from coconut oil to make fudgy and irresistible. They are absolutely satisfying a dessert craving without unhealthy frosting. You will be just fine.:)

healthy brownies on a platter

How to Store Brownies (Important)

Here is how I generally store these zucchini brownies.

Brownies become fudgier the next day, especially if stored cut up and separated or refrigerated. I leave them on a plate covered with kitchen towel on a counter overnight or for another night. Then in the fridge they go.

Since zucchini is a summer vegetable when many people make this zucchini brownie recipe. If it’s too hot outside I refrigerate brownies by the end of the day I baked them. And for up to a week.

Zucchini brownies taste even better the next day as they settle and cool off. That’s when brownies become really fudgy as coconut oil solidifies and settles. At first brownies might look like cake.

There is no such obvious crust on healthy brownies as with their butter and sugar counterpart. Obviously. However, if you cut and place brownies on a plate, their sides and edges will dry up a bit overnight.

Freezer Friendly?

Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 – 4 months.

More Yummy Healthy Summer Desserts

Print

Healthy Zucchini Brownies

4.9 from 19 reviews

Zucchini Brownies are easy, fudgy and healthy. Kids will eat them up. Taste even better next day.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minutes
  • Yield: 16 brownies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups zucchini, finely shredded (not tightly packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour

Instructions

  1. Place zucchini in a colander while you are getting other ingredients ready. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 8 x 8 baking dish with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, add egg, oil, maple syrup and pure vanilla extract; whisk to combine. Add cacao powder, baking soda and salt; whisk until well mixed.
  3. Give zucchini a gentle squeeze but do not ring out completely, add to a bowl and stir. Add flour and mix gently until combined.
  4. Transfer batter into prepared baking dish and level with spatula. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the centre is barely jiggly. Do not over bake as brownies will have more of a cake consistency. A toothpick inserted has to come out somewhat not clean. If centre is too jiggly bake a bit more – ovens vary.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour. Lift by the parchment paper flaps and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely. Cut into 16 squares.

Store: In a glass airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 days. If it’s hot outside, refrigerate for up to a week. Freeze for up to 3 – 4 months.

Notes

Brownies become fudgier the next day, especially if stored cut up and separated or refrigerated. I leave them on a plate covered with kitchen towel on a counter overnight.

Substitutions

  • Flour – You can use only whole wheat or spelt flour. Any gluten free flour will not work because it doesn’t have gluten in it. This zucchini brownie recipe relies on gluten in dough to rise. All purpose flour acts differently than whole wheat flour too. So please stay the course for successful healthy brownies.:)
  • Maple syrup – You can replace only with liquid sweetener like honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc. Baking is a science and the ratio of dry : liquid is important and can’t be offset.
  • Coconut oil – You can use any mild tasting oil like avocado oil. Or basically any oil you like the taste of. Oil is oil. One thing though. Because coconut oil is solid, zucchini brownies will be a tad more fudgy as it cools down and becomes solid again after baking.
  • Cacao powder – More common cocoa powder is OK. It’s just more processed where as cacao powder is considered a healthy choice with more antioxidants and nutrients.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

97 comments on “Healthy Zucchini Brownies

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  1. I added a teaspoon of chili flakes to spice things up a little. “Not too jiggly” is a bit mystifying to the novice but worked out that it should solidify a bit as it cools…

  2. OMG

    I was skeptical, added a little coconut sugar on top but this actually has my 9 year old daughter eating zucchini. She’s not picky by choice, autistic so texture is big issue.

    Thank you

  3. My husband and I had a major craving for some ice cream tonight. Instead of going out I opted to search for a healthier option and this was it! They turned out so great and satisfied the craving and sweet tooth. Will make these again for sure!

  4. I made these tonight looking for a healthier, yet simple brownie recipe. They were fantastic & a big hit with everyone. This is my new go-to brownie recipe. I’m glad I found your sight & this recipe. I’ll be trying more of your recipes soon. Thank you so much 😊

  5. I garden & grate my zucchini, place 2 cups–that’s usually what’s called for–in freezer bags. I have a good supply for winter baking. Love zucchini bread made with crushed pineapple–it adds some brightness & makes a delicious, moist loaf.
    Zucchini brownies are wonderful for chocolate lovers. Once you try them, nothing else will do! Fudgy, decadent–a guilty pleasure.

  6. Hi, quick question, if I can’t use coconut oil due to an allergy which oil would be an acceptable replacement. Thanks

    1. Hi Helen. Any oil like avocado or olive oil. Or even butter. Brownies might be a bit less fudgy due to the fact that coconut oil solidifies when cooled down. But not a huge deal.

  7. Yum! What a great idea for tasty reasonably healthy desert. I added some marmalade to the recipe this time as I had only half the amount of honey so will see what the tribe say.

  8. Just made this to use up surplus zucchini – YUM! Will make again 🙂 Thanks for the refined sugar-free recipe.

  9. Hello

    Super excited to make these. Couple questions and hate to be a pain. I know you can substitute oil and egg w/ pumpkin.. would that be ok. Or do just egg whites? Also I know you said wheat flour , what about Almond. Just trying to use what I have. If not I will buy wheat, but wheat bothers my stomach. I have Coco powder hopefully just as good to use. I want to make for people for Thanksgiving, so I was going to double recipe. But I will trial it first. Thank you

    1. Haha I appreciate your honesty.:) OK, baking is a science. For best results it’s always best to follow the recipe. I don’t think substituting oil and eggs with pumpkin will work. Almond flour won’t work for sure. If you do all those subs you will end up with completely different recipe. You can test and play around.:) I also have pumpkin brownies recipe.

        1. Was a little nervous that the zucchini may set off the “attempted hidden vegetables alert” for my kids, but these brownies genuinely are so flippin delicious, not a word has been muttered about any questionable ingredients!
          Thank you- it’s become a firm (well soft and slightly chewy) favourite in our house. 😋

  10. Oh my goodness – these brownies ARE definitely better the next day! The recipe is great w such yummy simple/good for you ingredients (I liked the list much better than other recipes I looked up on the internet) I just bookmarked it for future reference!! ThankYou 🙂

  11. I didn’t have wheat flour so I used all purpose turned out Cakey, good texture however, turned out too salty and honey wasn’t sweet enough.. what did I do wrong? Measurements were exact as recommended…

    1. Used wrong flour. You can’t swap all-purpose for whole wheat or spelt. First one expands more as it is stripped of bran. Try with whole wheat, should be good.

  12. Hi – thanks for the great recipes. A quick question. Can I reduce maple syrup to 1/4 cup? Would that still work?

    1. I honestly don’t know if that will crucially throw off the ratio and consistency. You could try but no guarantees. These are not sweet though…

  13. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It’s brilliant. I cook it a little longer and it is the nicest cake consistency. Great way to get veggies into fussy eaters.

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