Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paleo Zucchini Brownies

This tasty treat was a little bit of an afterthought. My kids asked for dessert tonight, and since it's the weekend and they rocked their soccer games I thought perhaps I'd whip something up. I knew I wanted to use some raw macadamias I had on hand, but I didn't feel like cookies.

A peek in the fridge revealed a lonely zucchini without a purpose, so I decided to try to combine the two.  I took out my food processor and the rest was history.

I can't take credit for the idea of using nut butter as the base for grain-free brownies, but most recipes I've bumped into online use almond butter. Macadamia nuts have such a lovely, creamy texture that they can easily transform into homemade nut butter. By flavoring my nut butter with a little honey, I was able to reduce the amount of sweetener used in the brownie batter.

Also, since I already had my food processor out and busy working, it was easy and logical to use it to puree the zucchini to oblivion. While I'm not a sneaky chef, sometimes I want my healthier desserts to simply taste decadent, without green flecks of vegetable giving them away.

For fun, I didn't tell the kids that their brownies contained zucchini, just to see if they could taste it. While I could definitely discern the flavor, neither batted an eyelash or accused me of culinary sabotage.

If you don't feel inclined to make nut butter from scratch, you can obviously sub in jarred. Just taste for sweetness in case you need a smidge more due to the lack of honey in your butter.

To make my macadamia butter, I mixed up the following in my food processor until smooth:
1 cup raw macadamia nuts (I toasted them in a skillet first)
1 tsp. melted coconut oil
1 tbs. raw honey
pinch of salt

Paleo Zucchini Brownies

1 cup nut butter of choice
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 eggs
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbs. natural sweetener of choice (I used palm sugar)
2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish. Scatter chips around batter and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.


  1. I can never understand when it says to 1 medium zucchini, grated, does that mean that we should be using the standard blade on our food processor, or the grater blade on the food processor. One can turn just about anything into tiny, rice sized pieces, while the grater blad leaves things a little bigger.

    1. great point/question Jonathan. I actually hand-grated my zucchini as I wasn't quite sure how I was going to proceed with the recipe... when I decided to make my own nut butter, I threw the grated zucchini in with the nut mixture, which then obliterated it completely. In this case I would recommend the standard blade if you want a smooth texture to your brownie. In recipes like pancakes and breads I actually like the texture/presence of the zucchini flecks, but here I think an even consistency is better.

  2. These are some of the best brownies i've ever made! i tossed in 1/4 cup coconut flour on a whim which made them a strangely lovely combo of dense/fluffy!

    1. love that idea! I always like to hear feedback and how people tweak recipes. Will have to try it, and glad you liked them!