Are you looking for a chocolate brownie recipe for Valentine’s Day that tastes decadent but is actually healthy? Well, there is no butter, no added sugar and no wheat flour in this recipe for these Healthy Chocolate Brownies – are you intrigued? The taste combination of dates and pomegranates in these chocolate brownies will leave you speechless!
Chocolate and Valentine’s Day definitely go hand in hand. According to this article on Fortune.com, U.S. consumers spent over 20 billion dollars in 2017 for their loved ones on Valentine’s Day of which 1.8 billion was related to chocolate and candy sales. That’s a lot of chocolate!!!
It’s hard not to think of brownies when thinking of chocolate. Unfortunately, classic chocolate brownies are usually packed with sugar and fat, and if you’re like me, you can’t help but eat an entire batch in one sitting… not the best for someone trying to lead a healthier lifestyle!
But brownies don’t need to be a rare indulgence. With a few minor modifications to the classic brownie recipe, you can achieve some pretty fantastic-tasting healthy chocolate brownies.
As a dietitian (and mother/grandmother 🙂 ), I am always looking for ways to modify recipes to make them as healthy as can be without sacrificing any of their great taste.
Now, naturally, I have my exceptions, especially when it comes to traditional Italian sweets and treats that I grew up with! But, since chocolate brownies were not part of my upbringing, I have no emotional attachment to them, and so I don’t mind messing with the “classic brownie formula” so much.
Healthy brownies, bring it on!
Can a brownie actually be healthy? As was mentioned, what’s challenging about achieving healthy brownies has to do with ingredients (sugar and fat) and portion size.
You probably know that brownies are very concentrated in calories, but with the right recipe, they can be quite a bit healthier than the original – cue in these healthy brownies!
Can you believe that these are made without any added sugar or butter, at all?
Rather, these brownies are sweetened by dates and pomegranate juice, boiled, then blended, together. The natural sugars in the fruits provide just the right amount of sweetness, while lending a really unique, almost wine-like taste to them.
Butter, on the other hand, is replaced by a small amount of avocado oil. The texture given by the dates means that these healthy brownies can be fudgy without actually having high amounts of saturated fats in them.
There are many healthy versions of brownies available today. In fact, if you recall, I shared a colleague’s recipe for a sweet potato black bean brownie.
I’ve even tried brownie recipes that use avocados and lentils as ingredients!
The best thing about these healthy brownie recipes is how you feel after indulging: these healthy brownies don’t sit in the pit of your stomach, slow you down, or make you feel sluggish, like high-fat deserts usually do. Perfect!
Which do you prefer, fudgy or cakey brownies? I would say that these brownies definitely lean towards fudgy!
Here is how to make them so that you can judge for yourself.
How to make these healthy chocolate brownies:
- Combine your pitless dates and the pomegranate juice in a saucepan and bring to a rapid boil for one minute;
- while still hot, pureé them together, along with avocado oil;
- add cocoa powder and pureé;
- add eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and cayenne pepper; puree,
- add oat flour until evenly combined.
The only thing left to do is to pour the batter in an 8×8 cake pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15-17 minutes in a 375°F oven. Make sure they are completely cool before attempting to slice them.
When serving, try topping these healthy brownies with whipped ricotta, or vanilla yogurt. They add a freshness to the brownies in much the same way that vanilla ice cream might – but of course, they do it in a healthier way 🙂
No added sugar.
It really is that simple.
ORIGINS OF THE RECIPE FOR HEALTHY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES:
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had the opportunity to attend a special culinary event sponsored by POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice (not sponsored). For more details, please read my post on Whipped Ricotta Pomegranate Crostini Recipe.
Given that this is the second pomegranate-related recipe I am sharing with all of you, I think you can all tell how much I love pomegranates and how impressed I was with the recipes that were made that day by Chef Martin!
Although the brownie recipe that was shared with the participants at the event was amazing, I modified it slightly to suit my own needs. In particular, I wanted a flourless version of POM Wonderful and Chef Martin’s recipe, because I wanted to make these healthy brownies accessible to people who eat gluten free.
And so, the She Loves Biscotti home headquarters created three brownie recipe test versions:
- coconut flour brownies;
- oat flour brownies and
- almond flour brownies.
Oat flour gives the nicest taste, in my opinion, and also yields a “fudgier” final texture, while I love.
My daughter was actually the first to try this adapted recipe for healthy brownies using oat flour. I must say, it is very satisfying to watch someone else tinker around the kitchen… ☺ She says she enjoyed making them, and it seems like she did… though of course, no one enjoys making the sweets more than they enjoy eating them!
I mentioned above that I love topping these healthy brownies with whipped ricotta. To be honest, though, that is only a half-truth… The whole truth is that I love topping whatever I can with whipped ricotta!!! You can also top this brownie off with vanilla yogurt, or, if you’re indecisive like me, both! I combine one cup of whipped ricotta with a few tablespoons of vanilla yogurt when I can’t choose which I’d rather have. 🙂 If you would like to see another whipped ricotta dessert, just click on the recipe link for a Summer Berry Whipped Ricotta Parfait.
The other modification to Chef Martin’s recipe was the exclusion of the chili powder. I have still indicated the amount in the recipe card just in case you would like to try it.
Enjoy these gluten free Healthy Chocolate Brownies with your loved ones on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the year. I know I will be!
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this brownie recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Healthy Chocolate Brownies
- 2/3 cup Pomegranate Juice
- 8 ounces Medjool dates about 12 dates
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 eggs room temperature
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder optional
- 2/3 cup oat flour
- Position rack in the center of the oven.
- Preheat oven to 375℉ (190°C) .
- Line an 8 x 8 cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the dates and pomegranate juice in a saucepan and bring to a rapid boil.
- Boil for one minute.
- While still hot, transfer to food processor and pureé together, along with avocado oil.
- Add cocoa powder and pureé.
- Add the eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and cayenne pepper (if using). Continue to pureé together.
- Add the oat flour and combine thoroughly.
- Spread batter in the prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15- 17 minutes until firm to the touch.
- Transfer pan on a wire rack where it can cool down before cutting into squares.
Disclosure: I was provided with a swag bag with product at the end of the event. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. Views and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.