Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Ultimate Chocolate Zucchini Challenge: Vegan Gluten-Free

Though based on the content of my blog, one might think that I eat nothing but fine chocolate, truffles, and brownies all day, that’s not quite the case. That wouldn’t really be the best nutrition to support training for open water swims and triathlons, now would it? I actually eat a lot of fruits and vegetables alongside my chocolate to make that happen.

One of my favorite vegetables happens to be zucchini, so late August and early September are just a wonderful time of year for me, with abundant zucchini in every corner. This year is even more exciting, since Valerie at City | Life | Eats is co-hosting a zucchini-chocolate blog party with me!

Valerie is very inspiring with her commitment to maintaining her health via a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free diet that keeps her body and mind in top-notch condition. So as part of the chocolate zucchini party, we encouraged people to try “the ultimate challenge” – a recipe with no gluten or animal products.

I was, of course, up for the ultimate challenge. Thus, my recipe includes not only chocolate and zucchini, but flax seed as well.

Flax seed? It’s a common replacement for eggs in vegan baking recipes. Cool stuff. And how better to combine all of these things than in brownies?

Vegan and Gluten-Free Zucchini Brownies – as inspired by David Lebovitz

2 tablespoons flax seed, finely ground

1/3 cup water

8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger 70% cacao)

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger)

3 tablespoons corn starch

Line an 8”x8” pan with parchment paper; lightly brush with vegetable oil. Finely grind flax seed in a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle. The flax seed will be mixed with the water to take the place of the eggs that are in non-vegan brownie recipes, and must be ground quite well to produce this effect.

Mix ground flax seed and water, set aside for at least 15 minutes. Melt chocolate over low heat, remove from heat and mix with sugar and salt. Slowly add flax-water mixture, then add zucchini. Wisk together corn starch and cocoa powder, then add to chocolate mixture, beating vigorously until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 350° F for 35-40 minutes, or until firm when pan is gently shaken. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes, then slice and enjoy.

And then get your recipe for this party together – they’re due on September 12. Don’t miss out!

Have you baked with flax before? What did you make?


  1. Oops I haven't gotten started on my chocolate zucchini sculpture yet.

    Can't say I've baked with flax seeds before, but I bet I would enjoy the end result.

    Do eggs and milk really keep you from having a top-notch mind??? What have I done to myself:(

  2. I am also intrigued by flax seeds. How is it like an egg? How?

  3. I have never baked with flax but it seems so good! I have a big bag of it sitting in my cupboard that I should be motivated to use...eventually.

  4. Yum, these look so good and healthy... need to try them!

  5. Ooh I love zucchini and these look delicious! I just bought a ton of zucchini so I might have to make these :)

  6. Rad! I love vegan baking and its little tricks. These look super fudgy.