Think avocados are just for savory dishes? Give these raw brownies a try and then report back to me. I’m confident they’ll change your mind.
So, which is your downfall: sweet or salty?
For me, it’s always been less about the flavor and more about the texture. Sweet or salty, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s rich and creamy!
As a dietitian, it may seem odd when I say that high-fat foods are my favorites, but stick with me here.
While it may sound like an oxymoron, healthy fats are essential to keep our bodies running smoothly (and our taste buds happy).
Just some of these functions include energy storage, absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, and building cell membranes and walls. They also play key roles in numerous processes, including inflammation, blood clotting, and muscle contractions.
So what exactly are these healthy fats? There are two types in particular that are beneficial for health:
The first is monounsaturated fat. A type of unsaturated fat, these are a key component of the Mediterranean Diet and have been shown to protect heart health. Good food sources include walnuts, avocados and avocado oil, peanut butter, nuts, and seeds.
The second biggie is omega-3 fatty acids. A type of polyunsaturated fat, omega-3’s have been shown to help prevent and even treat heart disease and stroke. They’re also being researched for their potential in supporting brain health and reducing inflammation. You’ll find them in fatty fish (especially salmon), flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
As you can see from the ingredient list, these brownies are packed with healthy fats thanks to walnuts and avocado.
In addition to being nutritious, the walnuts and avocado are also responsible for making this dessert every bit as luxurious as ones made with a more traditional recipe.
Okay, enough about fat. Aren’t brownies also supposed to be sweet?
So, how do these taste?
If you love dense, fudgy brownies then prepare for your eyes to roll back after taking your first bite.
The bitterness of the cocoa balanced out by the honey-sweetened frosting gives these just the right amount of sweetness. Combined with the irresistibly smooth frosting, it’ll be hard not to go back for seconds!
So forget about baking brownies and put your food processor to work. In just 30 minutes, you’ll have the fudgiest, chocolatey gluten-free dessert – no oven, butter, or sugar required!Print
Made without butter or flour, these raw brownies are naturally sweetened and topped with an irresistibly fudgy chocolate avocado frosting.
For the Brownie:
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 9 large)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons water
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 ripe medium avocado, mashed
- 5 tablespoons raw honey
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
To Make the Brownies:
- Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting a few inches of excess hang off the sides to create a sling for easy removal.
- Combine walnuts, dates, and ⅓ cup cocoa powder in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is soft but crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons water and pulse again until the mixture sticks together well.
- Transfer mixture into prepared pan and pat down firmly into an even, compact layer. Set aside.
To Make the Frosting:
- Place avocado, honey, ¼ cup cocoa powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt in the food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Spread mixture evenly over the brownie layer.
- Place loaf pan in freezer for 30-60 minutes, or until firm.
- Using the parchment sling, lift the brownies out of the loaf pan.
- Slice into 10 pieces and serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
- Category: Brownies
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: Desserts
Keywords: brownie, raw, avocado, frosting, no-bake, vegetarian, dessert
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare Loaf Pan, Pit Dates, and Measure Ingredients
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some extra hanging off the sides so that the brownies can be lifted out, like a sling. Set aside.
Slice dates in half and remove the pits if this hasn’t been done already. If your dates are dry and no longer soft, reconstitute them in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes until softened.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients.
Note: to make vegan, substitute maple syrup for the honey.
Step 2 – Make Brownie Layer
In a food processor, combine walnuts, dates, and 1/3 cup of cocoa powder. Pulse until soft and crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse again until the mixture sticks together well.
If it’s still crumbly, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the desired texture.
Transfer mixture into prepared loaf pan and press down firmly into an even layer. Set aside.
Step 3 – Blend Frosting
Taste and adjust salt, honey, or cinnamon as needed.
Step 4 – Frost and Freeze
Using a rubber spatula, spread the frosting evenly on top of the brownie layer.
Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, or until firm.
Step 5 – Slice and Serve
Remove the loaf pan from the freezer. Using the extra parchment paper on the sides, lift them out of the loaf pan.
Slice into 10 equal pieces and serve immediately. Any leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Chocolate and Avocado = The New Chocolate and Peanut Butter
I know, that’s a pretty big claim. After all, how can you compete with such a flawless flavor combination?
Believe me when I tell you that although it is certainly creamy, peanut butter just can’t compete with how buttery and silky-smooth desserts are when they’re made with avocado.
Plus, there’s also the perk of being able to convince yourself that since there’s a vegetable (well, technically a fruit…) in the brownie that it’s really more of a health food than a dessert.
Are you pro avocado in desserts? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to give this recipe a rating after taking your first fudgy, chocolatey bite! You’ll soon be begging for more healthy brownies. Luckily, you can make our other flourless, gluten-free recipe, with another secret ingredient!
Looking for even more sweet avocado recipes to add to your repertoire? We’ve got you covered! Give one of these Foodal originals a try:
- No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Torte with Avocado Mousse
- Banana Avocado Smoothie
- Quick and Easy Vegan Avocado Chocolate Pudding
Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on January 10, 2012. Last updated: November 11, 2020 at 15:02 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD
Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.