Chocolate Dezzert...Hidden Veggies
About a month ago, my neighbor asked me if I could use some zucchini. I said “Sure, you can never have too much zucchini.” Since then I have been acquiring zucchini and squash weekly, thus giving me reasons to bake and try new recipes. One of my all time favorite zucchini desserts are Vegan Zucchini Brownies. These babies have 2 whole cups of grated zucchini in them (That means each brownie you eat is considered a serving of vegetables, right???). To make these brownies vegan, I substituted applesauce and bananas instead of eggs. Though these brownies are not fudgey, they are super moist and gooey (These words are used here in a delicious way :)).
The first time I ever made these brownies I was so surprised how good they were. I decided to bring them into work for my co-workers to try. Many were reluctant to try them because I made the mistake of telling them that the brownies were vegan (super scary word) and that there was a whole zucchini baked into them. After this revelation I had to tell some of the sheltered men I work with to “just shut-up and try them.” Believe it or not, I’m quite an intimidating specimen (that means annoying, right?). Overall the responses were good...at least when I was present :)
I decided to try these brownies out on the biggest non-vegetable eater I know...my mother. She loves chocolate so much that I consider her a connoisseur on anything chocolate. Of course when she was inspecting these treats she said they didn’t smell like the Betty Crocker Brownies she makes from a box (imagine me shaking my head and rolling my eyes). I informed her that these brownies were vegan. She took a little bite to make sure it wouldn’t poison her (again that scary word - vegan). Her response was that they were sweet and chocolatey. As she finished eating the entire brownie, I hit her with a bomb: “There’s a whole zucchini in there.” My mother quickly replied that she definitely could taste the zucchini. I was surprised she knew what a zucchini was, let alone what it tasted like, as she laughed and said she was joking. After witnessing my mother eat these brownies, survive, and enjoy them, I’m sure most people will too.
When I make food I try to keep everything quick and simple. Here is the recipe I have been using to make these brownies:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1.5 cups sugar*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups finely shredded zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
In a large bowl, mash the bananas to be as smooth as possible. Next, mix in the applesauce and sugar. Once blended, add the vanilla and stir.
In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and flour.
To the large bowl, add the grated zucchini.
Begin to sift in the dry ingredients into the large bowl, slowly mixing all the ingredients together.**
Spread the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25 minutes.
*Those of you that are weary about all this sugar, you can always substitute it with healthier alternatives. I found a great chart here that gives you conversions.
**You can add walnuts for more texture in the brownies. I find them delicious either way.
What are some of your favorite zucchini recipes? Share them below. I recently made zucchini tots and they were delicious!