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

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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