Scroll To See More Images
Lately, I’ve found myself spending more time experimenting in the kitchen. I’ve taken on the challenge of making croissants from scratch, perfected my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and even introduced my family to the wonders of TikTok recipes by making them whipped strawberry milk in the trendy Dalgona coffee style. Still, it was only this week that I decided to tackle a dessert I’d always been curious about, which began my hunt for the perfect zucchini brownie recipe.
In addition to honing my kitchen skills, I’ve also been using my free time to work on improving my health. I now work out regularly and try to be more conscious of what I’m eating—which is why, in spite of my love for those aforementioned chocolate chip cookies, I turned to Pinterest to look for some healthy(ish) new dessert recipes that wouldn’t totally undo all the hard work I’ve put into getting in shape.
Now, we all know Pinterest as a welcome rabbit hole of innovative ideas and eye-catching DIYs, but it’s no secret that sometimes pins aren’t as perfect as they seem. I’ve tried and failed at many a Pinterest recipe or project that turned out far more difficult than advertised. Still, when I saw a recipe for zucchini brownies, I was instantly intrigued. The idea sounded just crazy enough to be delicious.
After doing some research, I discovered a whole world of chocolatey desserts made with this popular summer vegetable, ranging from cookies to pies to milkshakes. The main draw for these recipes seems to be that the addition of zucchini is a sneaky way to incorporate more vegetables into a typically unhealthy dish, making it a great addition for picky eaters, children or just people like myself who want healthier options.
There are also a number of zucchini recipes that don’t require eggs—perhaps because this low-carb, low-calorie squash has a high water content that contributes lots of moisture to a recipe, the same way an egg would. All in all, baking with zucchini seemed like a great option, and I wondered why I hadn’t thought to utilize it before.
To be clear: Although zucchini brownies are marketed as “healthier” than regular box-mix brownies, their calorie count and total carbs are comparable. But like I said, they do have the added benefit of sneaking in a healthy vegetable, and given the lack of eggs and butter, they’re also vegan.
For me, the most important question was that of taste. Was it be possible for these unconventional brownies to be just as fudgy and delicious as the real thing, or would they turn into an unappetizing mess of chocolate and mushy vegetables worthy of Netflix’s Nailed It? Frankly, I knew I had to find out.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
I decided on the zucchini brownie below, created by Amanda Rettke of the blog I Am Baker, then headed straight to my kitchen to document the process—and the surprising results. Note that, for my purposes, I cut the original I Am Baker recipe in half and substituted baking chocolate chips for cocoa powder.
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
3 Cups Finely Shredded, Undrained Zucchini
1 1/4 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
At first glance, Rettke’s recipe seemed pretty similar to every other brownie recipe I’ve ever made: Preheat the oven to 350°, combine dry ingredients, the wet ingredients, etc. Fairly standard stuff.
At least, that’s what I thought until the time came to add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and It. Was. So. Dry.
The recipe had warned about this, but when I got to this step I was still seriously concerned that I’d done something wrong. My “batter” had the kind of crumbly, wet-sand consistency you’d look for in a graham cracker pie crust.
Fortunately, my concerns were alleviated as soon as I started on the next step. As I shredded the zucchini, I was reminded of just how much moisture the vegetable contained and I knew my batter would back on track soon enough.
Still, I have to admit that the smell of raw zucchini was none too appetizing. Even after I finished shredding, it took a few minutes for that smell to die away. I told myself it was worth it, in the name of healthy brownies.
The next step was to add the pile of zucchini to my batter. I folded it in with a spatula and within minutes it looked much more like the brownie batter I was used to: thick, rich and fudgy—a dramatic change from just a moment prior.
The shreds of zucchini were still pretty obvious, and I knew I wouldn’t be fooling anybody who saw the brownies at this stage, but I had high hopes for what they’d look like once fully baked.
I popped my brownies in my preheated oven, set a timer for 25 minutes and went back to my afternoon routine of binging Netflix shows.
Halfway through the baking process, I checked up on my brownies and they looked amazing! The shreds of zucchini were hidden by the chocolatey outer lay and I felt confident in my creation.
However, I ran into a few issues with getting the final bake time just right. While the original recipe gave me a range of 25-30 minutes, I noticed at 25 minutes that the middle of the brownies were clearly raw. All good! What did concern me, however, was the fact that they were still raw after another five minutes.
The brownies grew closer and closer to being fully baked every time I checked on them, and in the end, my baking time was slightly over 35 minutes.
Maybe it was just my oven deciding to rebel against the unconventional concept of zucchini brownies, but if you do make this recipe yourself, don’t worry if you need to keep the brownies in a little longer than expected. After those 35 minutes were up, my batch looked better than I had ever expected.
Now, to answer the question that brought us all here in the first place: How did they taste?
I’m going to be honest with you. They were pretty much perfect.
Everyone knows there are two main camps when it comes to brownies: People who like fudgy brownies and people who like cakey brownies. For the sake of this review, I feel obligated to let you know that I am a dedicated member of Team Fudgy Brownie—and if you agree with me on that point, you’re going to love this recipe.
The brownies were so moist they were nearly falling apart on the plate. They were gooey and chocolatey, and even though I was on the hunt for the telltale taste of zucchini, I could detect only the faintest hint of veggie flavor.
When my mom and brother (my designated taste-testers) each tried them, they both told me they couldn’t taste the zucchini at all. In fact, my mom says she prefers these brownies over boxed brownie mix and her own personal recipe for homemade brownies, and I have to agree with her. That’s how good they are.
The only flaw was that there were still visible shreds of zucchini within the brownies. This didn’t affect the overall texture or taste, but I could clearly see strands of zucchini inside my dessert a few bites in. This was the only giveaway that the treats were secretly healthy, and in the future, I’d likely opt to use a finer shredder.
Regardless, these brownies will definitely be making a repeat appearance in my household and I highly recommend any chocolate-lovers out there give them a try. They’re delicious, easy to make and a great way to add another serving of vegetables into your diet!