You know those people who say they aren’t big fans of chocolate? Well, you wouldn’t catch me dead in their camp ? I’ve been a fan of everything double-triple-quadruple chocolate ever since I was a kid. Luckily, when I went vegan five and a half years ago, I didn’t have to give up this favorite treat of mine.
One thing I’m not a fan of is when a delicious chocolate dessert is so heavy that it makes you feel like you’ve swallowed a brick. That’s why today I’m sharing my latest recipe for healthy vegan chocolate muffins that are just as decadent and moist as any of the chocolate muffins you’ve ever felt guilty about eating, yet are made without butter, eggs, or oil.
The secret ingredient in this chocolate muffin recipe is finely shredded zucchini. If you’ve followed the healthy baking blogosphere for a while, I’m sure you’ve heard about this vegetable’s ability to infuse baked goods with scrumptious moistness.
Zucchini is especially popular in chocolate cake recipes because the brown color of chocolate masks its shredded green skin speckled throughout the finished product. However, the green specks are easy to avoid in non-chocolaty baked goods too if you peel the zucchini first.
I kept my zucchini unpeeled for these chocolate muffins to save time and effort, but you can peel it if you’d like.
If you’ve got children, you’ll like it that these muffins let you sneak some extra veggies into your kids’ diets. In fact, children who get more fiber from vegetables in their diet might experience health benefits later on in life, as Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org notes over here.
My 14 month-old daughter hasn’t heard any of Dr. Greger’s lectures on health yet, but she still gobbles up these chocolate zucchini muffins like they’re going out of style ?
Looking to sneak in more veggies into everyday foods? I’ve got a few recipes here on the blog that do just that – check out these pancakes with pumpkin and shredded carrots, or this pesto that gets an additional boost of greens from kale.
These muffins were inspired by the chocolate zucchini muffin recipe in Lindsay S. Nixon’s Happy Herbivore Cookbook. I’ve made Lindsay’s muffins countless times, but wasn’t always thrilled with their texture: it often seemed too sticky rather than moist.
Through some trial and error, I realized that this was happening because of the combination of applesauce and mashed banana in the recipe. While both of these ingredients work well to cut fat from this recipe, using both of them at once could be an overload (my opinion).
So I cut the banana from Lindsay’s original recipe, and added almond meal. An unexpected switch? It might seem that way, but I’ve been using almond meal to make various baked goods lately, and noted that it yields luxurious moistness and a delicate texture to the final products.
Just half a cup of this stuff made a huge difference. The muffins stayed just as healthy and whole food-y, but turned out more decadent. Almond meal may add some fat to the final product, but in my opinion it’s worth it.
Since this recipe calls for almond meal and chocolate chips, it’s not fat-free, but rest assured that it’s still way healthier than a butter and egg-laden muffin from the grocery store. Also, since it contains zucchini, maybe I’ll just list these muffins under the salad category ?
One of my favorite ways to eat these muffins is to cut them in half lengthwise and smear some peanut butter because, ahem, chocolate peanut butter is the best flavor ever! Try this if you want to take these muffins to the next level of decadence 🙂
- 1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour (or white unbleached all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 c almond meal
- 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup raw sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c finely shredded zucchini
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with non-dairy milk and applesauce until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Add vanilla and shredded zucchini, mix to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
- Spoon the batter in equal amounts into the lined or unlined non-stick 12-cup muffin pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the pan on a cooling rack for 15 min, then gently take the muffins out and cool a bit longer.
*Feel free to use more chocolate chips if you'd like, up to 1 cup.
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Muffin Pan
Checkered Chef Cooling Rack Baking Rack Twin Set. Stainless Steel Oven and Dishwasher Safe Wire Rack. Fits Half Sheet Cookie Pan
Barney Butter Natural Almond Meal, 13 Ounce
Enjoy Life Mega Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks, 10 oz
This recipe contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. If you make a purchase through affiliate links on my blog, I receive a very small commission that helps me run this blog, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 252 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 4mg Sodium: 173mg Carbohydrates: 44g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 18g Protein: 7g
Question for you: Have you made any other baked goods with shredded zucchini?
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(This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. If you make a purchase through affiliate links on my blog, I receive a very small commission that helps me run this blog, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!)