These Quinoa Fudge Brownies are dense and full of dark chocolate goodness, perfect for Valentine’s Day. No one will guess that these are actually healthy.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I met a lovely couple who happen to be vegetarians. I was instantly intrigued and started peppering the wife with questions about what she made for her daughter and her family. She told me that one of the desserts she made for her daughter’s school that was a huge success were Quinoa Brownies made with cooked quinoa. Hmmm…that’s something I’d never done nor thought of.
I’ve made several renditions of gluten-free brownies, but making brownies using cooked quinoa got my curiosity going. One of my boys used to love to make brownies when he was younger – he’d make the recipe right off of the Baker’s unsweetened chocolate square box. It was a one-bowl recipe which was the perfect kid-chef type of recipe.
I pulled up that old recipe and decided to use it as a base recipe, making substitutions along the way. The last brownies I made were these Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies from Rebecca Katz’s The Longevity Kitchen cookbook, which were made with lots of healthy whole ingredients such as almond flour, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, olive oil, maple syrup, and maple sugar.
This time around, I used avocado and coconut oil to substitute for the butter/oil component, and applesauce to cut the amount of sugar in the recipe. In addition, I chose maple syrup and raw organic coconut sugar for the sweeteners. A touch of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee add a little something special to these brownies.
Instead of a one-bowl recipe, this is a one-blender recipe. Everything gets blended up nice and smooth, including the cooked quinoa.
I brought these to our Women’s Bible Study where we’re studying the Book of Daniel and eating “Daniel Plan” friendly foods, which are essentially foods made with whole ingredients, nothing processed. Sugar is minimized too, which although these brownies do contain maple syrup and coconut sugar, a lot less is used than in typical brownie recipes, and these sweeteners are less processed than most.
The verdict? These Quinoa Brownies are moist and tender, and very chocolatey. They’re not overly sweet and I think would please dark chocolate lovers (to my liking, although my husband would have liked them sweeter).
For more ideas, check out my Healthy Valentine’s Day Recipes post.
Today, I’m participating in Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast where Comforting Valentine Desserts are being featured. Please be sure to check out what my fellow foodie friends made:
Feed Me Phoebe: Salted Caramel Budino with Whipped Cream
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Milk Chocolate Brownies
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: A Chocolate Fondue Party
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Blood Orange Bars
Dishing with Divya: Carrot Halwa
Virtually Homemade: Raspberry Grand Marnier Mascarpone Hand Pies
Devour: 5 Bread Pudding Recipes for Valentine’s Day
Weelicious: Puff Pastry Berry Hearts
Red or Green: Hot Chocolate, New Mexican Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chocolate Cake Brownies (Refined Sugar-Free)
The Sensitive Epicure: Nutella Panna Cotta
Haute Apple Pie: Valentine Cake Pops
FN Dish: DIY Chocolate Desserts for Valentine’s Day
Food for 7 Stages of Life: S’mores on a Stick
Tasting With The Eyes: Puff au Chocolat avec Fraises, Basilic, Fleur de Sel
Quinoa Fudge Brownies
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup high quality cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 packet Starbucks VIA© ready brew
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup organic raw coconut sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup mashed avocado
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Spoon batter into 8" lightly greased square pan. Smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes.
Penny R says
Going to have to dry these – the darker the chocolate, the better!
Kevin @ Closet Cooking says
I have been wanting to try quinoa in brownies and these look wonderful!
Thanks Kevin – I was so curious after learning about using cooked quinoa in brownies from our friend so I just had to try it.
I’m very intrigued. I think I’ll probably find these sweet enough for me. But I wonder if the 2 sweet-tooth people in my house will, namely my daughter and my husband. Will try and see if it pleases them. Or I could make them just for me. Lol
Nathalie, these are not on the super sweet side, so you may want to adjust the amount of sweetener if your family prefers it. I told my kids these were dark chocolate brownies so they didn’t expect them to be as sweet as the typical brownie. My husband would have liked them a little sweeter but the idea here was to come up with a healthier brownie 😉
Is it supposed to be 1/2 CUP of maple syrup?
Karen – I used 1/2 cup maple syrup plus 1/2 cup coconut sugar.
How much maple syrup? There’s no unit. Thanks!
Andrew – I used 1/2 cup maple syrup plus 1/2 cup coconut sugar.
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
Wow, quinoa in brownies!!!! And you made it look so yummy. I love the thought of healthy brownies. 😉
Nami – I know it’s a surprise right?! I’m always trying to come up with healthier sweets so this fit the bill.
These look so amazing! Wanted to make a dessert for my brothers birthday tomorrow, might try these but need the ingredients first!
Thanks Hanna – hope you enjoy these!
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
Oh my goodness Jeanette, just spotted these on Pinterest and almost fell over :). What a gorgeous recipe and your quinoa brownies look beyond delicious!
Thanks Kelly! These are deceptively healthy 😉
Wow, these brownies look so fudgy and moist! I would have never guessed that they were made with quinoa, that’s amazing and I’m really intrigued to give them a try. Pinning, thanks so much for sharing these healthy brownies Jeanette 🙂
Thanks Kelly – I was intrigued myself when I first heard about brownies made with cooked quinoa, so I couldn’t resist but give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed!
Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
I love that you just blend all the ingredients together, and voila! These brownies look so fudgy, decadent and delicious, Jeanette!
Georgia – this recipe actually comes together very quickly because everything is thrown into the blender. Thanks!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
These brownies look so wonderfully fudgy and smooth. It’s all I can do to write this comment before heading to the kitchen to give them a try.
Thanks Maureen – hope you have a chance to try these!
Julia Valentine says
Snow day today and happened to have all of the ingredients … they are fantastic! I didn’t expect them to be so moist. I was searching for savory breakfast options and found your blog. Thanks again. It is delicious and pretty enough to bring to someone’s house. Not sure anyone would know they are so healthy!
Julia – we had a snow day today too and I was cooking and baking all day – so fun! So glad you tried these brownies and liked them. Thanks so much for letting me know!
I love how these are both totally healthful but also the slightest bit indulgent! Perfect for satisfying those crazy sweet tooth cravings!
Thanks Joanne – I’m always trying to sneak in healthy ingredients into my kids’ treats 😉
Hello, I love the recipe and have a question. What can be used in place of organic raw coconut sugar? Thank you! 🙂
You can use your sugar of choice. I used organic raw coconut sugar because it is unprocessed and a healthier alternative to white sugar.
Thank you! 🙂
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says
Such a fabulous recipe, Jeanette! Love these healthy fudgy brownies made with quinoa. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry I missed you last week as I was down with the flu. Meanwhile, I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day. Pinning!
Whats the nutrition info ?
One batch has about 2,600 calories, 128 grams fat, 74 g fiber and 55 g protein, so divide this by how many pieces you cut the pan into.
In the summary above the recipe you mention a touch of cinnamon vanilla and coffee, yet there is no coffee in the recipe. Do you add coffee and if so, how much do you add. Thanks
Thanks for catching that Janet. I used one packet of Starbucks VIA ready brew instant coffee. It’s totally optional – I just like the way it deepens the flavor of chocolate.
Came across your posting looking for something completely unrelated but the dark moist brownies look so divine that I had to read further. What was the texture like for the baked brownies? Were they like fudge, cakey, chewy? Would someone eating them wonder what was ‘different’ about the brownies or would they pass as typical brownies? I’m asking because part of the brownie experience that I love is the kind of chewy gooey-ness.
And LOVE that you just toss everything in and blend it!
Hi Tanya, so glad you found this post and thanks for your question. The texture for these brownies is lighter than it looks, more chewy than cakey, and not that dense. I wouldn’t say they are gooey – for that you probably would want to add some chocolate chips to the batter. Enjoy!
Hi this looks like a great recipe, but can you please explain the Starbucks VIA ready brew instant coffee more? Not something I can get in my corner of the world. Is it just instant coffee, and if so, what amount is one packet? Thanks!
Hi Michelle, you can leave the coffee out if you don’t have any. The one I used is pretty strong in flavor so you could use just instant coffee, but you might want to add more. I think one packet of Starbucks instant coffee has about a teaspoon or so.
Does it matter if you under cooked the quinoa and dont blend it in?
And how do you make the brownies more spongy?
Lucy – I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the quinoa should cook through when you bake it as long as you have the right proportion of water. If you don’t blend it, the texture will probably be coarser – you will probably see the quinoa grains. These brownies are not the spongy type, more dense.
Hey I made this for my birthday once and my family loved it , but I can’t get ahold of coconut sugar could I up the maple sugar to 3/4 c and leave out the added sugar
Cia – I’ve never used maple sugar, but I found a chart on Joy The Baker that has maple sugar listed. It says you would substitute 1/2 cup maple sugar for 3/4 cup white sugar, so your substitution sounds like it might work fine. Let me know if you try it.
After baking for 30 minutes they were still very wet.
Diane – sorry these did not turn out for you. These brownies are definitely moist, but should not be overly wet. I’m wondering if the cooked quinoa was more wet than mine. When I cook quinoa, it is fluffy, not wet, so that might explain part of the difference. Here’s a post on how I cook quinoa: https://jeanetteshealthyliving.com/how-to-cook-quinoa/
The quinoa was fluffy just not sure what happened. I love the dark chocolate so I will give it another try. I put the pan in the fridge maybe that will help them set up.
I do remember these brownies were softer than the usual brownie. They should set up better once refrigerated. Perhaps reduce the amount of liquid next time, e.g., applesauce.
Do you think date sugar would work instead of coconut sugar? And,if so, what amount? These look delicious!
I haven’t used date sugar much so I’m not sure. I have substituted different sugars in recipes and it usually works fine.