Flourless plant-powered protein brownies (plus a Vega One giveaway)

Flourless Plant-Powered Protein Brownies | A Dash of Compassion

By now, you’ve probably guessed that I love to bake. I crave the creativity, the preciseness, the excuse to drown out everything that’s bothering me, slow down and focus on the simple task of following a recipe, mixing together a set of ingredients, and watching what happens when it goes in the oven. This, to me, is calming, meditative, a form of relieving stress.

And let’s just say I’ve been baking a lot lately.

Flourless Plant-Powered Protein Brownies | A Dash of Compassion

Over the years, my baking has changed in many ways. From using eggs, butter and white sugar when I made cookies as a kid, to using vegan options like Earth Balance margarine and egg replacement powder when I was just out of university and on a budget, to now, when my dessert recipes use more whole food ingredients like avocado, nuts, dates and beans, and a variety of wholesome flours like almond, chickpea and oat.

I know there are a million and one brownie recipes out there but I think I’ve trumped myself in the nutrition category with these decadent little bites. Kidney beans, almond butter and walnuts pack in the protein power and spinach adds an element of green goodness. Plus, I recently received some new Vega One samples that I wanted to make use of without resorting to a traditional smoothie recipe. And guess what? It worked beautifully.

Thanks to Vega, these flourless brownies are even better because their new Vega One all-in-one nutritional powder has been enhanced with 33% more protein and double the greens—hence the “plant-powered” in the recipe title. Just take a look at the nutrition specs. Pretty great, huh? (Psst…scroll down to the end of this post for a Vega One giveaway!)

Flourless Plant-Powered Protein Brownies | A Dash of Compassion

I’ve made these brownies a few different ways over the last few weeks, playing around with different ratios and ingredients in order to get them just right. Then I retested using different nut and seed butters (peanut, almond, and sunflower seed) and protein powders (Vega One, Vega Protein Smoothie and Vega Performance Protein… Can you tell I like Vega?). All worked out lovely, although this almond/Vega One combo is probably my favourite.

So, you should have success using whatever protein powder you have on hand, just make sure you use chocolate flavoured powder. Also note that Vega is quite sweet on its own so if yours isn’t, your brownies will be less sweet also. Rest assured these aren’t your typical athlete’s “treat”—as in, they sound great but taste like chalk. Seriously, guys, they are your dream brownie: thick, fudgey, richly flavourful and studded with chocolate chips and walnuts throughout. They’ll rock your world.

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Flourless plant-powered protein brownies

Yield: 16 to 20 brownies


  • 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup natural smooth almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup Vega One Chocolate powder (or other chocolate-flavoured protein powder)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch square pan with parchment paper so there's an overhang.
  2. In a food processor, combine spinach leaves, almond milk and maple syrup. Process until the spinach leaves are broken down. Add the kidney beans, almond butter and vanilla extract and process for a minute or two, until well combined and fairly smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, protein powder, coconut sugar, baking powder and salt. Add to the food processor and process until a thick batter comes together. Pulse in walnuts and chocolate chips (alternatively, you can sprinkle them on top after pressing the batter into the pan).
  4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth out the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is dry to the touch. Do not over-bake, as they will continue to set up as they cool. Allow to cool completely before slicing into squares. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Product giveaway:

My friends at Vega are offering a giveaway for one lucky ADC reader! If you win, you’ll receive one box of Vega One Chocolate single packs and a Vega shaker cup. If you’ve never used a shaker cup before, you’re missing out on an incredible invention. It’s a travel mug with a round wire whisk that whips around while you shake to help incorporate the powder into your drink. Say goodbye to lumpy protein shakes for good!

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below and I’ll choose a random winner on Wednesday, February 4, 2015. The giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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37 Responses to “Flourless plant-powered protein brownies (plus a Vega One giveaway)”

  1. jacquie — January 27, 2015 @ 8:51 pm

    i have to admit i have never used a protein power so no favorites which is why i hope to win the giveaway so i can remedy that :)

  2. Jessica @ TwoGreenPeas — January 27, 2015 @ 9:10 pm

    Wow these look incredible. Love how all that nutrition is packed into a chocolatey dessert!

  3. Holly E — January 27, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

    I use protein powder in my breakfast smoothies.

  4. Gracie — January 27, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

    Looks delicious! I like using protein powder in my nana ice cream!

  5. Natalia — January 28, 2015 @ 2:00 am

    This recipe sounds interesting!

  6. valentina | sweet kabocha — January 28, 2015 @ 3:44 am

    I never use protein powders, but this recipe makes me want immediately to buy a package soon! :D Great recipe ^_^

  7. suzi — January 28, 2015 @ 4:38 am

    In shakes though I’d be interested in trying to be more creative – I might use what I have in my cupboard to try making these!

  8. Sarah — January 28, 2015 @ 9:18 am

    I usually make sweets with it, because most vegan proteins taste too strongly to just mix with soymilk.

  9. Donna F. — January 28, 2015 @ 10:11 am

    High-protein oatmeal pancakes!

  10. Adele — January 28, 2015 @ 11:11 am

    I like to use a little protein powder in puddings.

  11. Abby — January 28, 2015 @ 11:29 am

    I’m looking for a good vegan protein, so I would love to try this out!

  12. Miet — January 28, 2015 @ 11:48 am

    I’ve never been more adventurous with protein powder than using it in smoothies. These brownies look awesome!

  13. Sarah C — January 28, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

    In breakfast green smoothies – every morning!

  14. Jeanne — January 28, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

    My favorite way to use protein powder is definitely pancakes!

  15. Elizabeth — January 28, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

    I love Vega One! I use it in my smoothie every morning with raspberries, banana, and soy milk. Delicious!

  16. stacey — January 28, 2015 @ 2:03 pm

    I have never tried Vega one but would like to find something other than what i’m using!

  17. shannonmarie (rawdorable) — January 28, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

    My favorite way to use protein powder is in raw desserts, like cupcakes, cake pops, brownies, cookies, etc. I also love it in smoothies.

  18. Sarah — January 28, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

    Oo these look good! I never thought to use the powder in brownies or other baking!

  19. Claudia — January 28, 2015 @ 6:03 pm

    So excited to try this and feature it in #BestLifeProject : )

  20. Elin Roberts — January 28, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

    Like using protein powder in smoothies. Sometimes in a chocolate vegan shake.

  21. Linda — January 28, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

    I use it in my smoothies

  22. Kristin — January 28, 2015 @ 8:17 pm

    These look great! I’ve been looking for fun ways to incorporate more prison in my diet, I’ll definitely have to give this recipe a try!

  23. Kristin — January 28, 2015 @ 8:17 pm

    Protein! Thank you auto correct

  24. Sara — January 28, 2015 @ 8:55 pm

    I’ve found that protein powder can be incorporated subtly into baked goods and homemade protein bars!

  25. Jordan D. — January 28, 2015 @ 10:29 pm

    I usually make protein “frosting” to spread on rice cakes or protein pudding/ice cream. I’d love to try Vega!

  26. Josiane — January 28, 2015 @ 11:38 pm

    I like to mix protein powder into the chia puddings I make for breakfast these days. Two tablespoons of chia seeds mixed with about 400 ml of water, fresh fruits, oatmeal porridge, and protein powder make for a delicious and filling breakfast!

  27. Dean — January 29, 2015 @ 5:53 pm

    No whey is the best way to use protein powder. :)

  28. janet @ the taste space — January 29, 2015 @ 9:17 pm

    I used to add it to my morning oats but stopped… I should try that out again. Otherwise, I like to add it to chocolate date snacks.

  29. Rachel R. — January 29, 2015 @ 10:03 pm

    I stir into my breakfast Cream of Wheat!

  30. EVA — January 31, 2015 @ 10:03 am

    I actually throw a scoop in a bowl, use about 1/4-1/2 cup water and mix it so it’s thick like pudding. Then I top ‘er like it’s a yogurt bowl! I ALWAYS use Vega because you only need water, and almond milk at $3.39 a pop is for cereal only!

  31. Rosie — January 31, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

    Lately I’ve been making no-bake energy bites, mixing chocolate, tahini, honey and melting it, then adding protein powder, almond flour and sometimes ground seeds or nuts for crunch. then I put it in a pan with parchment paper, let it cool in the refrigerator for a bit, then cut into small squares and refrigerate. Good! I also like to make energy drinks in 15 oz. bottles at night with protein powder, nut milk and chia seeds (sometimes add fruit puree and/or stevia), then it is there for me in the morning or for later!!

  32. Naomi — January 31, 2015 @ 6:32 pm

    mmmmmm can’t wait to try these, take them to work and let people guess at the secret ingredients! :)

  33. Becca F — January 31, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

    I’m boring. I just use it in smoothies, sometimes brownies as a treat!

  34. robin m — February 1, 2015 @ 8:34 pm

    these brownies look amazing and i would love to try them. I also do not use protein powders. Winning some Vega One would be ideal.
    I was wondering if you could omit the Vega powder completely and still have the brownies come out delish. Or, what could be used as a substitute?

    • Nicole — February 2, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

      Hi Robin! I don’t suggest making these and just omitting the Vega. You’ll need to make up for the 1/2 cup dry ingredients – maybe try with an extra 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup flour of choice. I haven’t tested this but hopefully it works for you. Otherwise you can purchase single packs of Vega for about $2 that should be enough to make his recipe.

  35. brittany koelmel — February 2, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

    Smoothies of course!

  36. Shannon C — February 3, 2015 @ 1:23 pm

    I love Vega One! However, I’m committed to finishing up my Vanilla Sunwarrior before I buy another protein powder. My favorite way to use protein powders aside from smoothies is in cookie dough hummus (a la Chocoloate Covered Katie or Desserts with Benefits).

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