Last summer, I finally found the courage to try the combination of chocolate and zucchini. I already knew I loved zucchini paired with chocolate chips, like in my favorite zucchini bread and zucchini mini muffins, but somehow, the thought of a pure chocolate treat with zucchini inside sounded incredibly weird.
Still, I kept seeing that combination all over my Instagram and Pinterest feeds, so I bravely walked into my kitchen and pulled out the ingredients to bake my favorite chocolate muffins… With a vegetable hidden inside. Hmm.
I carefully measured the flour and cocoa powder, and I sprinkled in cinnamon at the last second because that’s what I always do with my plain zucchini treats… So despite all the weirdness, somehow that cinnamon addition felt right.
After folding the grated zucchini into the batter and realizing there was no going back, I divided the green-flecked chocolate batter between my muffin cups and popped them in the oven. When the timer buzzed and I pulled out the muffin pans, they smelled rich and decadent like usual… With a hint of added warmth and coziness from the cinnamon.
That actually smells really good… I thought, which gave me the last bit of courage I needed to try a bite once the muffins cooled for a few minutes. As I cautiously brought the first muffin to my mouth for a taste… And swallowed the first mouse-sized bite…
I looked down at the muffin in my hand in absolute amazement. “That tastes amazing!” I actually blurted out loud. “Why did I wait so long to try this??”
In that instant, I immediately became obsessed with the chocolate + zucchini flavor combination… So I’m incredibly excited to share this Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies recipe with you!
They’re supremely rich and fudgy, exactly the way I love my brownies, with lots of zucchini and that irresistible hint of cozy cinnamon. Yet unlike other zucchini brownie recipes I’ve seen, these contain no refined flour or sugar—and only 63 calories!
Let’s talk about how to make these healthy zucchini brownies!
You’ll begin with a combination of white whole wheat flour (like this!) and cocoa powder (like this!). White whole wheat flour actually exists… And it’s not a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and whole wheat flour!
Instead, white whole wheat flour is made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. This gives white whole wheat flour a lighter taste and texture, closer to that of all-purpose flour, which lets the chocolate flavor and fudgy texture truly shine in these healthy zucchini brownies!
As for the cocoa powder, you just need regular ol’ unsweetened (like this!). Because we’re adding equal amounts of flour and cocoa powder, your brownies will already taste really rich and chocolaty without Dutched or special dark cocoa powder.
However, it’s extremely important that you measure the flour and cocoa powder correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own!) Too much of either will make your brownies turn out dry and crumbly, and too much cocoa powder will make them taste bitter, rather than rich and chocolaty.
Unlike traditional brownie recipes that call for ½ to 1 full cup of oil or butter, these healthy zucchini brownies only require 1 tablespoon. Yes, that’s it! The rest of their fudgy texture comes from Greek yogurt. If you’ve been around my blog, you know how much I love it! Greek yogurt adds the same moisture to your brownie batter as extra butter or oil for a fraction of the calories, and it also gives your treats a protein boost.
Such a great trick for making low-calorie zucchini brownies, right??
To sweeten your brownies, you’ll skip the refined granulated sugar and use coconut sugar (like this!) instead. Coconut sugar is exactly what it sounds like: an unrefined sweetener that comes from coconuts. However, it does not actually taste like coconuts! It has a rich caramel-like flavor, similar to brown sugar, which makes these brownies taste even better.
Of course, we can’t forget the key ingredient in these healthy brownies… The zucchini! You’ll use freshly grated zucchini that you’ve patted dry with paper towels. It’s important to remove that extra moisture because otherwise, the zucchini will release that water into the batter while your brownies bake, so they’ll take much longer to finish baking and will turn out more cakey than fudgy. I promise it’s worth the tiny bit of extra effort!
One last thing! You must let your brownies rest for 8 hours once they’ve cooled to room temperature. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s painful. Yes, it’s so tempting to slice into them and try one earlier. Yet the brownies turn fudgier the longer they sit (and the zucchini softens more, too!), so instead of warm cakey fresh-from-the-oven brownies, you end up with extremely fudgy brownies with the most irresistible texture imaginable.
Seriously, how amazing do these look?? And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your healthy zucchini brownies!
Healthy Fudgy Zucchini Brownies
- ¾ cup (90g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- ¾ cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder (measured like this)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup (96g) coconut sugar
- 6 tbsp (90mL) nonfat milk
- 1 cup (90g) freshly grated zucchini (see Notes!)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F, and lightly coat an 8”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in the coconut sugar. Stir in the milk. Add in the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated. Gently fold in the grated zucchini.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 300°F for 15-19 minutes (15 minutes yields the fudgiest brownies; 19 minutes yields slightly cakier brownies). Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the brownies sit for at least 6 hours at room temperature for the fudgiest texture before serving.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy One-Bowl Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies
♡ Healthy Fudgy Raspberry Brownies
♡ Healthy Fudgy Dark Chocolate Frosted Brownies
♡ Healthy Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
♡ Healthy Double Chocolate Zucchini Bran Muffins
♡ Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Snack Cake