The best fudgy brownies to satisfy your cravings that just happen to be vegan, gluten free, low in added sugar, and filled with fiber and protein!
Brownies are one of my favorite desserts of all time, which is saying a lot considering that I have a serious sweet tooth.
That being said, I have been trying to find the best healthy brownie for years, going through bunches of recipes and trials with interesting results.
By interesting, I mean they always have been falling short in some way. Either it is really healthy but doesn't taste the best, or it tastes great but has too much sugar or fat.
I am a perfectionist, so if a recipe does not go as I hope (a.k.a. perfect), then it is a disappointment and I don’t use that recipe again.
Finally, after what seemed like a hundred trials, I finally reached the perfect solution: these fudgy chickpea brownies!
These healthy chickpea brownies are sweetened mostly with dates, making them low in added sugar without skimping on flavor.
Just one thing I need to clarify: don’t use just any dates. The best and only acceptable option here is medjool dates.
What’s the difference? Medjool dates have a much more intense, sweet, caramel-like flavor that is (in my opinion) not even comparable to regular dates. In a way, they taste even better than regular sugar!
Dates are extremely healthy, packed with antioxidants, fiber, a bit of protein, and essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and vitamin B-6.
In addition to dates, the other nutrient powerhouse hidden in these brownies is chickpeas.
Chickpeas are also packed with protein and fiber, with a whopping 19 grams of protein and 17 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving.
So not only are they highly nutritious, they are also the key to the extreme fudginess of these brownies that make them so addicting.
As long as you peel and rinse them, the chickpea taste cannot even be detected.
Another key ingredient here is the flax “egg.”
No, it’s not a real egg, but it is a binder that is essential if you want your brownie to stay in one piece and not crumble everywhere.
Flax meal is extremely nutritious. Similar to the previous two secret ingredients mentioned, it has fiber and protein, but it also has essential omega-3 fatty acids (which are hard to get in your diet if you don’t eat fish).
Almond flour is the next special ingredient on the list (I know, there are so many!😂) which is another protein-packed low-carb binder that also happens to be gluten-free. No refined carbs needed here!😉
Then there’s the maple syrup, another natural, unrefined sweetener packed with nutrients. Pure maple syrup is actually really good for you (in moderation, of course, which is why the dates are there!).
One important lesson I’ve learned during the many brownie trials is that fudgy does not equal moist. You could have a super fudgy brownie, but without any moistness it lacks the true traditional brownie texture, which is why we have applesauce and avocado oil to help us!
Avocado oil is a much healthier alternative to vegetable oil in that it is not chemically processed and has the right balance of monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. Its nutrition profile is very similar to that of olive oil, but avocado oil has a much more neutral taste.
Unsweetened applesauce is also great at keeping these brownies moist with no fat and only natural sugars.
Aside from the ingredients, another thing I love about this recipe is how simple it is. Almost all the work is done by the food processor; you just need to throw in the ingredients!
If you are looking for the perfect healthy brownie recipe that is vegan, gluten free, low in added sugar, has no refined sugar, flourless, protein and fiber-packed, fudgy, and just overall amazing, here is the recipe!
If you make these brownies, post a picture on Instagram and tag me @nutritiousdelights ❤️ I would love to see it!
Healthy Chickpea Brownies
- 2 15 oz cans of chickpeas drained, peeled and rinsed well
- 1 ¾ cup medjool dates pitted
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
- 2 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
- 6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup blanched almond flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, cover dates with boiling water and let soak for 5-10 minutes (This makes them softer).
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of water with the flax meal and set aside for 5-10 minutes. This will be your "flax egg."
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 11"x7" pan with parchment paper.* Set aside.
- Transfer the dates to a food processor with a few tablespoons of "date water" (The water that was used to soak the dates). Process on high until the mixture becomes smooth, adding more water and scraping down sides as necessary.
- Add the chickpeas to the food processor with the avocado oil. Once combined, add applesauce, maple syrup, flax egg, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Add in the almond flour and cocoa powder on low power, then use a spatula to combine the rest.
- Remove blade from the food processor and stir in the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and evenly distribute with a spatula. Bake for 40-50 minutes (cover with foil for the last 10-20 minutes), until the center is firm and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool inside the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing (otherwise it might crumble). Enjoy! 🙂
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.