Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Plastic Shoes & Vegan Brownies

Grab your plastic shoes ... I have another vegan recipe to share, courtesy of our very own Mel.

Let me preface this recipe by saying that these are not "low-cal" so they should be enjoyed in moderation, especially if you have a weight-loss goal. However, the fat comes from heart-healthy, unsaturated sources like walnuts and avocados and the dates and agave nectar supply the all-natural sugar, making them a superior, health-conscious choice to traditional brownies.

This recipe is also gluten-free and contains no dairy so they are a good treat for those with wheat or dairy allergies as well as anyone looking to eliminate refined sugar, flour and saturated dairy-fat from their diet. Or for those with mean doctors who tell them to stop eating processed foods entirely. See Glennon you CAN have your brownie and eat it too! And they don't require any cooking either.

Raw Vegan Brownies

1 c walnuts
1 c dates
1/4 c cocoa powder

2 ripe avocados
1/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c cocoa powder
2 T coconut oil
1 T vanilla extract
dash salt
dash cinnamon

Combine brownie ingredients in a food processor (or Vitamix or blender) and blend until completely combined (mixture will be dry and slightly chunky); press into a pan.

Combine icing ingredients in a food processor (or Vitamix or blender) and blend until completely smooth. Spread icing over brownies and pop in the freezer to set for at least one hour before serving.

I added a few drops of peppermint oil to the icing to create decadent mint chocolate brownies. Seriously good people.

Taste Notes:
I did not have coconut oil on hand so I omitted it from the recipe altogether. The icing tasted fine without it but I think it did not "set up" quite as firm as Mel's batch that included the oil. However, it was not a hugely noticeable difference and I store mine in the freezer anyway.

Taste Team:
Mel's three boys went nuts for these brownies. They absolutely loved them, as did the rest of us with the exception of Eric who refused to try them on the grounds that I was "bastardizing" the brownie.

For those of you familiar with Lara Bars, the brownies have a similar consistency. And, as long as we are on the topic of Lara Bars, they are the only packaged "energy" bar that I generally recommend because they contain raw, all-natural ingredients and are minimally processed. (Sorry SLM, they all contain nuts).


  1. LOVE Lara Bars!!! You can make them yourself too if you have a food processor, just google homemade lara bars and you can omit the nuts, SLM!

    I'll have to give the brownies a try, LOVE the ingredients, but I will use our good ol' raw honey vs agave, which come to find out, unless you KNOW the source and HOW they make it, is just highly processed, scorched, chemically treated remains of a plant...don't think nectar just dripping from a succulent plant in Mexico...we've been fooled! There are good sources but it's generally not going to be on the shelf of a store!

  2. Oh & what's the deal with plastic shoes?

  3. Ah - I'm just chugging along here in rebel land thinking there is NO WAY I will do that to brownies. Sorry, I'm with Eric. All things in moderation, with or without nuts. Just being honest...

    That said, I have been making changes to our diets around here, which I have to confess, means I do more work, make more mess, and spend more time in the kitchen. Fortunately, I love to cook, my husband likes to and is very good at cleaning, and as long as I can sing with the oldies station in the kitchen, it's a good place to be.

    And for Easter dinner with the in-laws, it will be mostly 'non-approved' Full at Last food. It is easier to deal with in-laws serving them what they like rather than what they should like.

    As I said, feeling rebellious. Apologies and Blessings to all!

  4. LWL: I made a comment in a previous vegan recipe post to the effect that you don't have to wear plastic shoes to enjoy a vegan recipe and several people responded with their love of plastic shoes :)

    SLM: I actually PREFER these brownies. THey are moist and rich and flavorful and don't leave that faux-sweet filmy taste in your mouth that boxed brownies do. I'm just saying. They are GOOD.

  5. who can keep up with what's good for you and what's bad for you these days... so agave nectar, bad now??

    are there better brands that are not so processed??

    good think i like honey too!

    i'll give the brownies a shot, although only two people in the household can eat them because of the nut allergies.

    slm - being a serious chocolate lover myself, i may be on eric's rebel team too... gulp.

  6. Doing more research on agave:


    just when i got the family to make the switch...

  7. For the sake of honesty, I'm typing this while eating a spoonful of chocolate frosting! :)

    Chimmy...great question and for that reason I love Michael Pollan's Food Rules! Basically, if it's NEW it's probably not good for your body. Pollan says eat small amounts of fresh, clean plant based food with minimal amounts of animal products. Honey has been around for centuries as have beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit, grains, etc. You're safe with those!

  8. Erin, I can't wait to try this recipe.
    Re: agave, I have recently read some cons about agave nectar as well. Although, my denial has not led me to make any changes yet. :-)
    LWL, re: your point from Pollan's book, good point and good thing to remember.

  9. Loved your post!
    next week It's my girlfriend's birthday and I'm going to serve her the greatest vegan breakfast ever - with brownies!
    Thank you!