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These vegan Heart Beet Brownies are made with ingredients good for your heart, and are perfect for Valentine’s Day too. They’re incredibly easy to make and are packed with heart-healthy ingredients but made without gluten, dairy, refined sugars or oil. They are fudgy, rich and chocolatey, and not too sweet. Of course, the heart shape and pink dusting is optional, but highly recommended for extra festivity. I teased these over on my Instagram stories and I’m not even going to lie–this is one of the best recipes I’ve ever shared PLUS it features 2 sneaky ingredients.
The two unexpected, and heart healthy ingredients in this vegan brownie recipe are avocado and beet. Avocados are a heart healthy fat that can help to lower LDL levels, allow for absorption of essential nutrients and minerals and keep you satiated. I opted for avocado this time because I do use nut butter quite often in a lot of my recipes as a healthy fat in replacement of oil, but wanted to try to make this recipe nut free and switch things up a little bit. This is a great recipe to make if you have any avocados that are soon to go bad, or perhaps not the most beautiful shade of green, with lots of bruises. You won’t even be able to tell with all the chocolate goodness in this recipe.
I decided to add the beets originally to see if I could make a somewhat pink-hued brownie. You can either steam your own (remove the skin), or purchase pre-steamed beets. As you know, pink is one of my favourite colours to incorporate into recipes (natural colours only of course), but aside from that, beets are excellent for your heart. Beets may actually lower risk of heart disease as they are packed with nitrates that may lower blood pressure. Fun fact, my dad, who actually struggles with high blood pressure, eats beets regularly to support his health. While the pink hue was no match for cacao in this recipe, the earthy flavour almost acts like a flavour booster for the sweetness of the recipe, in a similar fashion to coffee. Many chocolate recipes incorporate coffee in order to add depth of flavour, but as someone who doesn’t like coffee (and admittedly doesn’t own any), the beets did the trick! So the beets play many roles in this recipe, but you are welcome to make them without, too. Personally, I’m a big fan of sneaking in fruit and veg into my recipes where I can because #health, but also, if you can make it taste like dessert, it’s a win-win.
I use oat flour in this vegan brownie recipe, and I highly recommend using superfine oat flour (I used this store-bought one from Bob’s Red Mill), reason being texture is very important when making a brownie. Homemade oat flour is great, and what I use 99% of the time, however it’s difficult to achieve the same level of fine-ness (?) when blending up your own. If you do use a homemade oat flour, I recommend giving the flour an extra sift before using. I know, it might seem unnecessary, but I know that people are very particular about brownies being different than cake in texture, so if you’re brownie-texture-critical, use store-bought.
The only other notes I have to make are about blenders, and sweetness. You want to make sure that your beets and other wet ingredients are fully blended with no chunks remaining, and I used this high-speed blender, but anything that’s able to liquify a steamed beet will work (most blenders!). Make sure your avocado is fully ripe as well–like mushy to the touch ripe. And finally, as I mentioned earlier, these brownies are only lightly sweet, and while I did have them kid-approved, that kid is seriously a healthy eater and isn’t really into things that are too sweet. So with that said, if you want to add a little bit more coconut sugar or granulated sugar of choice, go for it, and I highly encourage you taste the batter before baking. My friend Alex loved them as is, but I won’t tell if you use a heavy hand with the coconut sugar. Actually, now that I think of it, my little sister Chloe really enjoyed them (best brownies she’s ever had–quote!), and she isn’t really much of a healthy eater, so to summarize, taste and adjust to suit your preference.
Ok I lied, a few more notes about some of the listed ingredients down in the “optional” section of the recipe. I typically add either melted chocolate, or a handful of chocolate chips to my brownie batter, which really gives it a nice fudge-like texture but it’s completely optional if you prefer to keep the recipe more whole food plant based. If using chocolate, and you want to keep it oil-free, opt for an oil free chocolate bar and chop into chunks or melt. I like to use this one from Hu Kitchen. I dusted my brownies with a “pink sugar” in this recipe, really for garnish, which calls for powdered sugar. To make sure your powdered sugar is vegan, you can usually just opt for an organic option and it will typically be vegan. I personally use this Wholesome Organic Powdered Sugar which is explicitly labelled vegan, and is also fair-trade. Again, the sugar dusting is optional and I don’t personally consume it very often, but it makes for a really beautiful garnish. NOW let’s get into the recipe!
Wait!! One more thing–if you’re cutting these into heart shapes, wash and dry your cookie cutter before each new brownie cut for clean edges. Also, don’t toss out the leftover pieces. Either turn them into cake pops or cake crumbles to repurpose, or just eat them as is. Also, these vegan brownies are absolutely delicious topped with vegan vanilla ice cream. Ok now I’m done. Promise.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees while you prepare your brownie batter.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (oat flour, cacao powder, ground flax, baking soda, coconut sugar and salt).
Blend the avocado, beets, non-dairy milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a high speed blender until completely smooth and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth batter forms.
Mix in chocolate chips/chunks if using, and transfer batter to lined baking dish. I used this Staub ceramic baking dish but you can also use a square baking tray! I just wanted my brownies a little thicker, so I used a deeper dish.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (my dish was a bit deeper, so I ended up baking closer to 30). Check to see whether it is cooked through by poking a skewer through the center. If it comes out clean, your brownies are ready to go!
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely if cutting into shapes.
If you want to get extra festive, cut heart shapes out of brownies and dust with a mixture of equal parts beet powder and organic powdered sugar through a sugar duster.
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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