Ok we all love brownies right? That ooey, gooey, delicious chocolate treat that works perfectly as a dessert, makes a great afternoon snack and even somehow, sometimes finds its way into breakfast (oops!).
But we also all know that traditional brownies are filled with sugar, fat and refined carbohydrates, and aren’t necessarily a diet friendly thing for a girl to be having while she works on that bod.
The good news is, you can have your brownie and eat it too!
There’s more than one way to make a brownies, and these healthy swaps and alternatives are your best bet for being able to still get your chocolate brownie fix – even for breakfast!
- Use beans – Black bean brownies may sound like old news, but let me tell you, the trick never lets you down! Not only are they dark in colour, so they make the brownies that beautiful dark chocolate hue, but they add that moist goey texture when puréed, and of course, add lots of health benefits, like fiber and protein. Don’t stop at black beans though! Chickpeas, lentils and red kidney beans all work as well and can be a nice change from the traditional black bean option.
- Use sweet potato or pumpkin – In the midst of the fall pumpkin craze, you may have just found another way to use this wonderful, versatile ingredient: for your brownies! Adding moisture, a hint of sweetness, and keeping them gooey, pumpkin or sweet potato are the perfect substitution option for excess butter or fat. Better yet, you will likely even be able to reduce the sugar content, making it a win all around!
- Make it raw – Use dates, raw cacao and coconut cream to puree together a smooth delightful mixture, adding walnuts and then leaving it to set in the fridge. After a few hours, the result is fudgy, rich chocolate brownies that are free of refined sugar, have no flours or grains and contain only healthy fats! Plus, all you need is a food processor, spatula and a pan!
- Sub in oil – If you don’t want to stray too far off the normal brownie path, opt for oil instead of butter. Avocado oil or melted coconut oil both work well, without changing the flavor or texture, and each are a source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fat like that of butter. If you are subbing avocado oil, be aware that you may need to modify the quantities of other liquids, such as milk, as it may make the brownie a bit moister!
- Make it with veggies – While sweet potato and pumpkin add moisture and keep things fudgy, it’s also easy to sneak other veggies into your brownies, including everything from cauliflower to beetroot to zucchini. All will add extra moisture to your chocolatey treat, and beets help lend the deep dark chocolate colour. Be aware of adding too much zucchini or cauliflower, as they may make your brownies a bit more crumbly. When in doubt, provided you aren’t using any eggs, under-bake the brownies and then let them firm up in the fridge and you’re sure to have gooey brownies that stay together perfectly well!
- Use raw cacao – Skip the melted chocolate and achieve that chocolate brownie flavor with raw cacao. Unprocessed and high in antioxidants and magnesium, raw cacao is one of nature’s superfoods and you could be eating it for dessert! If you are used to using regular cacao, you may need to get used to the more bitter flavor of raw cacao, but taste and adjust your batter accordingly and soon you’ll be popping healthy brownies right out of the oven!
- Opt for dark chocolate – If you simply are a “must use melted chocolate” for your brownies kind of person, at least make sure it is dark chocolate, and not milk chocolate. Dark chocolate lends better colour to the end result, is less processed than milk chocolate and is much higher in antioxidants. If you want to ere on the side of even making them almost healthy, opt for dark chocolate that is 85% cacao or more.