These healthy Flourless Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting are easy, gluten-free and paleo but still rich and indulgent. Made with almond butter, they are soft and fudgy. Plus, I smother them with a quick dairy-free chocolate frosting.
The recipe is also simple. You only have to roughly squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini. Allowing some moisture to remain helps to keep the brownies moist. I also share a handy trick below to avoid visible shreds of zucchini in your brownies.
Healthy zucchini brownies
These healthy zucchini brownies use almond butter instead of dairy butter or oil for the brownie batter and the chocolate frosting. It gives the brownies that fudgy texture, while also providing a nutrient boost and some extra protein. Being flourless, the brownies are gluten-free and grain-free.
The recipe is small batch, making eight brownies. I like to bake small batch desserts to avoid overeating them. However, you can easily double the recipe to make a larger batch. I explain how to do this in the notes under the recipe below.
Preparing zucchini for baking recipes
If you want to avoid seeing shreds of zucchini in baking recipes like these gluten-free brownies, use a microplane grater to finely grate the zucchini. Microplane graters are really handy to have in the kitchen. You can also use them to zest citrus fruits, to mince garlic and to finely grate cheeses like Parmesan.
After grating the zucchini, I simply squeeze out some of the excess water using my hands instead of using paper towel or squeezing through a cloth. This means that you won’t get all the water out. Leaving some of the moisture in the zucchini keeps these flourless brownies moist. You can watch how I do it in the recipe video below.
Ingredients for Flourless Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting
Almond butter: Natural almond butter replaces the need for regular butter or oil in this recipe. The ingredient list should just list almonds. After opening a jar of almond butter, I give it a good stir (if any natural oils have risen to the top), then store the jar in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar has a delicious toffee flavor and is less processed than regular sugar. You can use brown sugar as a substitute if you can’t get coconut sugar.
Maple syrup: I blend maple syrup with the coconut sugar to sweeten the brownies. It also sweetens the chocolate frosting. You could use another syrup sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup, but I think maple syrup works best if you have it.
Zucchini: Freshly grated zucchini keeps the brownies moist. I promise you can’t taste it at all. To avoid any visible shreds of zucchini, I recommend finely grating it as I explain above.
Cocoa powder: I use Dutch processed cocoa, also known as Dutch cocoa or alkalized cocoa, to flavor the brownies and the frosting. It is less bitter than regular cocoa powder or raw cacao powder. However, any unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder will work.
Egg: An egg binds the mixture and holds the brownies together. I haven’t tested this recipe using an egg substitute, but would love to hear if you do.
Vanilla extract: A dash of vanilla is always a good idea in brownies. However, you can leave it out if you don’t have any at home.
Baking powder: Baking powder gives the brownies a bit of lift. Make sure your baking powder is within its best before date to ensure that it still works.
Fine sea salt: Adding salt to baking recipes, like these brownies and the chocolate frosting, helps to enhance the flavors and balance the sweetness.
Dark chocolate: I stir some chopped dark chocolate through the brownie batter for an extra hit of chocolate. This is totally optional though. The brownies are still delicious on their own.
More healthy baking recipes
For another chocolate hit, you might like this Vegan Sweet Potato Chocolate Fudge Cake which comes with a smooth and decadent avocado chocolate frosting.
These Almond Flour Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are also delicious if you have leftover zucchini.
For a healthy twist on a blondie, these Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Tahini Blondies are rich, fudgy and lower in sugar than regular blondies.
You can find more healthy baking ideas on the Baking Recipes page.
Flourless Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Frosting Recipe
For the brownies
- 1/2 cup / 120ml / 120g almond butter
- 1/4 cup / 47g coconut sugar (see Note 1 for substitute)
- 2 tbsp / 30ml / 40g maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup firmly packed / 80g finely grated & lightly squeezed zucchini (see Note 2)
- 1/4 cup / 30g cocoa powder (see Note 3)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup / 45g chopped dark chocolate
For the chocolate frosting
- 1/4 cup / 60ml / 60g almond butter
- 2 tbsp / 30ml / 40g maple syrup
- 1 tbsp / 7g cocoa powder
- Pinch of fine sea salt
1Preheat your oven to 160°C fan-forced / 180°C / 350°F and line a 4 x 8 inch / 10 x 20 cm loaf tin with baking paper.
2To make the brownies, mix the almond butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl. Add the egg and beat it into the mixture until smooth.
3Add the grated and squeezed zucchini. Stir to combine. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and fold through until everything is well combined. Fold through the chopped chocolate.
4Tip the mixture into the lined loaf tin, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out almost clean. Set aside to cool.
5To make the chocolate frosting, mix all of the frosting ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Once the brownies are completely cold, spread the frosting over the top, then cut into pieces.
1. Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar is less processed than regular sugar, but it also gives a delicious caramel-like flavor. You can use brown sugar as a substitute. If you do buy some coconut sugar, you can also use it to make these Small Batch Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies.
2. Zucchini – To avoid visible shreds of zucchini in the brownies, I recommend finely grating the zucchini with a microplane grater. After grating, squeeze out some of the excess water using your hands. You can watch how I do this in the recipe video above. Measure out the zucchini after grating and squeezing it.
3. Cocoa powder – Dutch processed cocoa, also known as Dutch cocoa or alkalized cocoa, gives the smoothest chocolate flavor with less bitterness. Check the label or ingredient list of your cocoa powder to see if it’s Dutch processed. However, regular unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder also work.
4. Doubling the recipe – To make 16 brownies, you can double the recipe and bake it in a 8 x 8 inch / 20 x 20 cm square cake tin or dish. The baking time should still be 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out almost clean.
5. Storage – Store the frosted brownies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you prefer to freeze them, they should last in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 months and can be defrosted overnight in the fridge.
Serving size: 1 frosted brownie
Energy: 236 Cal / 986 kJ
Total Fat: 13.8g
Saturated Fat: 2.5g
Total Carbohydrate: 18.7g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8g
These are so good! I used closer to about 1/2 cup zucchini so I added a little extra cocoa powder – they turned out perfect. I didn’t make the frosting but they’re sweet enough for me without it. I’ll be making them again soon 🙂
Thanks Siobhan! Great to hear you enjoyed them 🙂