These little vegan sweet potato brownies are a total powerhouse. They contain not one but two vegetables – there’s also zucchini hidden in there. Plus, the brownies are oil-free, whole grain, and naturally sweetened with dates.
If you think it sounds impossible to make a zucchini sweet potato brownie that’s so nutritious and also tastes good, that makes two of us. Luckily, I didn’t have to imagine anything – I simply followed Marisa Alvarsson’s recipe from her cookbook, Naturally Sweet Vegan Treats.
As the title suggests, this book is all about vegan recipes (mostly – but not completely – baked goods) that are lower in added sugar, or sweetened with whole foods like dates or fruit. My eyes went straight to what Marisa titled “Veggie Patch Brownies”. Sometimes I like to try the weirdest or most ambitious sounding recipe in a cookbook, and that’s how I found myself blending shredded zucchini, sweet potato and dates in my food processor to make these vegan sweet potato brownies.
I stirred in some whole wheat flour, just a touch of coconut sugar, and a few other support ingredients. Finally, I folded in some chocolate chips* and waited patiently while the aroma of chocolate wafted through my kitchen.
*I happened to have some stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips on hand, so I kept with the low-sugar theme and used them. On their own, something tastes vaguely amiss, but in brownies you wouldn’t know.
The result was a chocolatey, cakey-but-moist little sweet potato brownie that tastes surprisingly great! You can’t compare these to an ordinary, white flour and sugar, oil-based brownie – they’re just different things entirely. However, I found that I enjoyed these quite a lot. I was generally satisfied by eating one or two because they nourish in a way that standard brownies don’t.
I think most people would probably be able to taste the sweet potato, but definitely not the zucchini, so next time I might try to sneak in even more! I’m also excited to try more recipes from Naturally Sweet Vegan Treats. The book is full of clever ideas and beautiful photography, and it has that nice type of binding that stays open whilst you cook.
P.S. If you’re interested in this recipe you also might enjoy my magical vegan flourless chocolate cake, which is full of wacky secret ingredients as well!
This vegan veggie brownies recipe is oil-free, refined sugar-free, whole grain, and nutrient-rich. The book recommends swapping in all-purpose GF flour to make them gluten-free, but I’m thinking that oat flour could work for whole grain swap. If you try these zucchini sweet potato brownies, let me know in the comments. And if you don’t know Marisa, you can find her on Instagram as @missmarzipancom or Miss Marzipan on the web.
Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies (Kinda-Healthy!)
These zucchini-sweet potato brownies pack a real veggie punch and are naturally sweetened with dates, plus they're oil-free and whole grain! Great for a post-workout snack or a not-too-sweet anytime treat.
Reprinted with permission from Naturally Sweet Vegan Treats by Marisa Alvarsson, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.
- 8 medjool dates, pitted (100g)
- 1/2 cup sweet potato puree or mashed cooked sweet potato (100g)
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini (75g), excess liquid squeezed out
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (50g)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (100g)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (75g)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (60g) (optional but recommended)
- 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (50g) (optional but recommended)
Soak the pitted dates in hot water for 10 minutes - or to speed up the process, cover them in water and microwave for 2 minutes. Drain the soaked dates well.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
Add the dates to a blender along with the sweet potato, zucchini, milk, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Blend until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if needed.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Pour in half of the blender mixture, stir to combine, and then pour in the other half. Mix until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips if using.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with your mixing utensil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the mixture has set and is firm (but springy) to the touch. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.
Leftover brownies keep for up to 36 hours at room temperature or for a few days if stored in the refrigerator.
The recipe as you read it here is lightly rewritten in my words and with my changes. I added the wet mixture into the dry instead of the other way around; took a weight measurement for the dates; increased the salt; added qualitative instructions for the baking time; and added storage instructions.
NUTRITION FACTS: Nutrition facts omit the optional walnuts and chocolate chips.
More baked goods with sweet potatoes:
- Vegan Sweet Potato Cake
- Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
- Or for something savory, Sweet Potato Tater Tot Casserole (Hotdish)
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Naturally Sweet Vegan Treats provided by Page Street Publishing. All opinions are my own, as was my choice to publish this.