Monica's favorite gear for
making Zucchini Brownies
I use this in these brownies and to replace all or part of the white flour in other recipes. It has a finer, lighter texture than regular whole wheat flour.
I use this healthy, flavorful oil in place of vegetable oil in many recipes. It tastes great in these brownies; I also use it for popping popcorn.
I bake my brownies in these pans. I love that they have a cover and are easy to stack and store or freeze.
Also available: 9x13 baking pan with lid
Rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated, this is a workhorse! It does a great job of pureeing the zucchini in this recipe. Mine gets frequent use for blending frozen drinks, salad dressings, and more.
This is the Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder I used in my zucchini brownies. It's yummy and high in antioxidants.
This gets a lot of use in my kitchen. Use it to whisk dry & wet ingredients, smooth frosting, gravy, and sauces, and for scrambling eggs.
I use these versatile bowls every day. Great for both mixing and serving. I love that they nest and can be stored compactly.
The bent angle of this spatula makes it much easier to apply frosting smoothly.
I use this durable spatula for mixing batter and stirring on the stove. It's heat resistant to 600 degrees and won't stain, melt or warp.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

So moist, rich, and chocolaty that no one will guess they have veggies, 100% whole grain, and no eggs. Easy to adapt for vegan and dairy-free.

Veggies in chocolate form? I'm all over it! With home gardens and farmer's markets overflowing with zucchini, this is a great time to make a batch of these zucchini brownies. They are amazingly rich and moist and will particularly satisfy those chocolate lovers out there.

I knew zucchini brownies were meant to be when King-Man came home from work with a GIGANTIC homegrown zucchini brought to him by our friend, Terry.  We're wondering if Terry's husband, Robert, has been feeding their zucchini steroids. This thing was seriously huge--one zucchini was big enough for two batches of these brownies. So, I made a batch to enjoy now and a second batch to freeze for later. (Yes, you can freeze these brownies!)

I looked around for a healthy zucchini brownie recipe, but couldn't find one that wasn't also loaded with a lot of unhealthy ingredients--pretty  much negating the whole zucchini-makes-them-healthy concept.  After some experimenting, I came up with a recipe that had as many healthy ingredients as possible while still tasting like a decadent dessert. My zucchini brownies aren't exactly health food, but except for the sugar my ingredients are all good for you in reasonable quantities. I guess I'd call my recipe healthiER. Here's how I healthified the ingredients:

  • reduced the amount of sugar
  • reduced the amount of oil 
  • used coconut oil (for it's health benefits and flavor); you can use vegetable oil or melted butter if you prefer
  • added yogurt (replaced some oil and adds moisture and nutrients)
  • used 100% whole grain flour (no white stuff at all)
  • omitted eggs entirely (not that they're bad for you, but they're unecessary)
  • used dark cocoa powder (higher in antioxidants), although you can use regular cocoa, too

Vegan & Dairy-Free options. Easy substitutions are listed in my recipe for these dietary preferences.

You can't taste the zucchini. If you're offering these brownies to people who are likely to turn up their nose at the thought of zucchini in brownies, my advice is: don't tell them & they'll never know. Seriously. The pureed zucchini disappears into the batter as it cooks. It provides moisture and some nutrition without a veggie flavor--just like the carrots in carrot cake.

Nutritional Information for 1 serving (without nuts, cut into 24 servings per batch )
Unfrosted: 103 calories, 2.8g fat, 19.7g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 3
Frosted: 181 calories, 6.9g fat, 30.9g carbs, 3g fiber, 2.2g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 5

Step-by-step photos for making
Zucchini Brownies 

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: 

  • zucchini -- cut it up so it can be measured (2 cups per batch)
  • unsweetened dark cocoa powder -- you can use regular cocoa powder, but the brownies won't be nearly as chocolatey
  • oil -- I used coconut oil, but you can use vegetable oil or even melted butter
  • yogurt -- regular or Greek (omit this and use more oil for a dairy-free version)
  • whole wheat pastry flour
  • sugar -- I haven't tried these with alternative sweeteners. Feel free to try substitutions, but I can't guarantee the results.
  • vanilla extract
  • baking powder
  • kosher salt

View my favorite products on Amazon:
dark cocoa powder, coconut oil,
whole wheat pastry flour

zucchini brownies

Step 2. In a blender or food processor, puree the zucchini, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and sugar. This releases the moisture inside the zucchini and the pureed mixture disappears into the batter. Other zucchini brownie recipes call for grating the zucchini, but that results in a dryer batter and bits of visible zucchini in the finished brownies. Pureeing these ingredients is an important step for producing a good brownie texture and appearance.

view my blender on Amazon


Step 3. Add the remaining dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk them together. (The batch pictured below uses regular cocoa powder. I'll show you a batch using dark cocoa later.)
Step 4. Add the pureed mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until it's evenly moistened throughout. 
Step 5. Pour the brownie batter into a greased/oiled 9x13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
Step 6. Move to a cooling rack. 

View my mixing gear on Amazon:
mixing bowls, wire whisk, silicone spatula 


Unfrosted Brownies. You don't have to frost these brownies. If you choose not to, I recommend dusting the top of the cooled brownies with powdered sugar to improve their appearance.

Frosted Brownies (highly recommended!)
I use my One-Minute Chocolate Frosting. One frosting batch is just enough for a thin, tasty layer of frosting. I let the brownies cool 20-30 minutes before frosting them--they're still slightly warm but not hot. You can sprinkle nuts on top, if you like. I usually add nuts to half of the pan to accomodate different preferences. For ingredients, photos, and instructions for making the frosting:

click to view One-Minute Chocolate Frosting recipe 

view on Amazon: frosting spatula, 9x13 baking pan


A batch using dark cocoa powder (highly recommended!)
I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder for my second batch so that I could do a taste comparison. These were hands-down my favorite--moist, rich, and much more chocolaty. But I'm a big chocolate lover. The more chocolaty, the better! Plus, these have the added bonus of more antioxidants from the dark cocoa. You can see the darker batter in the photos below.The regular cocoa powder used in my first batch results in a milder chocolate flavor, if that's what you prefer. 


Cut and serve! 


Or, cover them and save for later. I think the flavor improves the next day. You can also cover and freeze them. Might as well make a couple of batches while you're at it!

I like using these shallow pans that come with lids. It's easy to cut and remove the brownies from these, and they're great for stacking and storing compactly. Regular 9x13 baking pans work fine, too, if that's what you have.

view on Amazon: quarter sheet baking pan with lid


You can see how moist and chocolaty these are. They really do taste amazing. Honestly, no one would ever know they've been healthified.


Here's my favorite way with chopped pecans on top.


Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment; I'd love to hear from you.

Make it a Yummy day!

Link directly to this recipe Print this recipe
Zucchini Brownies
By Monica              Servings: 24 servings
  • 2 cups chopped raw zucchini
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil, or melted butter
  • 1/2 cup low fat yogurt* (regular or Greek)
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup canned evaporated milk (may substitute almond milk, if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (may substitute coconut or vegetable oil, if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan. In blender or food processor, puree zucchini, oil, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Set aside. In large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add pureed wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until moist throughout. Pour into greased pan, spread evenly, and bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. (Overcooking will result in dry brownies.) Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool for 20-25 minutes and frost while still warm.

(View photos & tips for making frosting at Combine chocolate chips, evaporated milk, butter (or oil) and vanilla in microwave-proof bowl. Microwave on full power for 30-40 seconds. Remove and whisk until chocolate chips melt in and mixture is smooth (return to microwave for a few seconds if necessary). Add powdered sugar and continue whisking until smooth. Spread evenly over brownies while they are still slightly warm. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Brownies may left unfrosted, if preferred. Dust the top lightly with powdered sugar for a prettier appearance.

Brownies (frosted or unfrosted) may be covered and frozen. Remove cover as they thaw to prevent condensation from forming and making the frosting soggy.

Nutritional Information for 1 serving (without nuts, cut into 24 servings per batch )
Unfrosted: 103 calories, 2.8g fat, 19.7g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 3
Frosted: 181 calories, 6.9g fat, 30.9g carbs, 3g fiber, 2.2g protein; Weight Watchers PtsPlus: 5

*To make dairy-free/vegan, omit yogurt and increase oil from 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
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Posted on Sunday, July 15th, 2012
Tags: Desserts

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