chocolate chip zucchini brownies.

are you ever skeptical of a recipe when you first read it?

like, “how can this actually work? and how is it possible that the end result actually tastes good?!”

that’s how i felt when i first spied a recipe for zucchini brownies.

now you’re skeptical too, huh?

well i’m here to tell you that zucchini brownies aren’t scary. or weird. they’re uber-moist, decadent, and quite possibly the most delicious new way to sneak more vegetables into your diet!

i’d been hankering to do some vegetable baking when i stumbled across the idea to make zucchini brownies. what the eff is vegetable baking, you might ask?

vegetable baking = making sweet and tasty baked goods using veggies. think carrot cake, squash bars, or zucchini bread.

actually, i was considering making zucchini bread first. then i thought of making zucchini muffins. my mind then drifted to chocolate zucchini cake.

as you can see, my mind does a lot of bouncing around.

my fiance Ryan is obsessed with brownies, so i figured i’d try my hand at kitchen sorcery and make him zucchini brownies.

i approached this brownie-making process very scientifically. my hypothesis was that Ryan would have no clue that the brownies had any trace of vegetables in them i had a test subject (the fiance), and the stimulus (the brownies), and in order to elicit a non-biased response, i kinda sorta maybe didn’t tell him the brownies had zucchini in them.

not only am i a baker, but i’m a damn good scientist, too!*

*i haven’t actually taken a psychology class since freshman year of college, so i may or may not be recalling how to properly run a scientific experiment. also, i’m not really a scientist. don’t tell anyone.

my hypothesis was proven correct when Ryan polished off two brownies in a matter of minutes, only pausing between bites to say things like “these are so good!” and “holy shit, these are the moistest brownies ever!”

ha! he never knew what hit him!

also, is moistest a word? it doesn’t look like a word. i mean, i know it’s a word, but it sounds weird. then again, i think ‘most moist’ sounds strange, too. oh, English language, you and your words!

i eventually told him that the incredibly moist, chocolatey, rich brownies he’d enjoyed were chock full of grated zucchini. and boy, was he shocked.

i’m pretty sure he was just wowed by my baking prowess. naturally.

these zucchini brownies are actually healthier than you might imagine. they’re packed with a whopping two cups of grated zucchini, and i used applesauce in place of butter or oil. they’re brownies you don’t have to feel super-guilty about!

surprisingly, the grated zucchini doesn’t contribute any weird or stringy texture to these brownies at all. instead, they’re cakey, fudgey and downright addictive.

these zucchini brownies are a great way to use the great summer bounty of zucchini from your garden, CSA box, farmer’s market or grocery store. make ’em today!

chocolate chip zucchini brownies

Yield: one 8" x 8" square pan brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (you can use an equal amount of vanilla bean paste if you have it)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup smooth applesauce (you can use an equal amount of vegetable oil or cooled melted butter if you want!)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (regular pastry flour works too, or use all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (i love vietnamese cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 large zucchini; i washed and trimmed the ends off my zucchini, then grated it on the smallest holed-side of my box grater)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, bittersweet, white, a combination of all three...your choice!)


preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.

line an 8" x 8" square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper so the paper edges drape over the sides of the pan. spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, applesauce (or butter or oil, if using) and salt until combined.

sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom. using a silicone spatula, mix until dry ingredients are dissolved and incorporated. the mixture will be on the thick side.

fold in the grated zucchini so that it's uniformly mixed into the batter.

add the chocolate chips and fold in so they're incorporated well.

pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap lightly on the edge of the counter to release any air bubbles.

bake the brownies at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.

allow the brownies to cool in the pan on a wire baking rack completely before slicing.

the brownies will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

you can also wrap the cooled brownies in plastic wrap and store in an airtight zip-top plastic bag in the freezer for up to 4 months. to defrost, just remove however many brownies you want and allow to defrost in the fridge overnight before enjoying.

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66 Responses to “chocolate chip zucchini brownies.”

  1. #
    Shanaynay — January 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    yeah i tried dem and de were sooooo good it just loved da tastre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. #
    Michelle — April 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Can’t wait to make these for my 6-year old! Can I sub oat flour for the pastry flour?

  3. #
    Sharon — July 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I have a recipe for these, but they use 1 CUP OF VEGGIE OIL! No can do the oil any more, so the recipe languished & so did I. THANK YOU! For not only the no-fat, but for better flour & the touch of cardamom. These are terrific!

  4. #
    Brandy J — July 23, 2012 at 11:03 am

    These are great! I did use the oil instead of applesauce, and left cardamom out b/c I didnt have any.

  5. #
    Kel — July 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Baking my second batch of these. They’re wonderful! My husband didn’t detect any zucchini either :) I used a packed two cups of zucchini– is that what you did, or a loose two cups? Just curious. (Also, I found another recipe online, which uses half the zucchini and twice the flour– way less healthy than this one, and this one doesn’t taste healthy at all!) Absolutely love the recipe. Next time I’m going to add mint instead of the cinnamon and cardamom….

  6. #
    Christine B — March 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Made these today & was super excited to try them after dinner… Only to discover they weren’t fully cooked! I used a glass baking dish, so I assumed I’d need more time than you suggested, but even the 20 extra minutes was not enough! I’m currently desperately trying to rescue them by putting them back in the oven, but I don’t have high hopes at this point – which is a shame, because we really liked the little fully-cooked piece we tried from the edge!

  7. #
    Cynthia G. — July 23, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Your brownie recipe has become a family favorite in the two years I’ve been making it. I always use the applesauce and substitute nutmeg for cardamom, and appreciate the use of whole wheat flour. Lately, I’ve been redesigning some of my favorite recipes to eliminate or reduce the sugar. Have you ever tried making these with honey? If so, how much did you use and how the brownies taste? Thanks!


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