Brownies so fudgy, rich, and chocolatey you’d never guess they’re healthy too. These Healthy Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies are of course vegan, gluten free, oil free, naturally sweetened, and they have a secret good for you ingredient – butternut squash!
Most people know that a tomato is considered a fruit, but did you know that butternut squash is too? We tend to think of it as a vegetable, but because it has seeds inside it is actually a fruit packed with nutrition. It’s high in Vitamins A and C, and is also a good source of magnesium and Vitamin B-6. And because it has a sweet flavor, particularly after roasting, it’s perfect for making these fudgy Healthy Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies.
I know what you’re thinking – squash in brownies?! It totally works really. Butternut squash helps create a perfectly, fudgy brownie that’s actually good for you without any detectable flavor. And if you need more convincing that butternut squash works in baked goods, these bars are sure to do just that.
- oat flour
- medjool dates
- butternut squash puree
- cocoa powder
- non dairy milk
- baking powder
- chocolate chips, optional
peanut butter swirl:
- natural peanut butter
- maple syrup
- non dairy milk
See recipe card for quantities.
Start by roasting the butternut squash to make the puree. This can be done 1-2 days ahead of time. Roast in the oven until easily pierced with a fork. Scoop the flesh from the skin into bowl of food processor, blend until smooth. Add the remaining brownie ingredients and blend until incorporated well. Transfer to an oiled/parchment lined baking pan and spread in an even layer smoothing the top of the batter. Spoon small amounts of the peanut butter over top of batter and use a knife to gently swirl it through. Bake until a tooth pick inserted comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool and slice.
- puree: If you don't have butternut squash on hand, an equal amount of sweet potato puree also works well.
- lower fat: You can use an equal amount of prepared peanut butter powder instead of full fat peanut butter for the swirl, if desired.
- sweetness: add vegan chocolate chips or stevia to the batter to increase sweetness.
- peanut free: any nut or seed butter can be used in place of peanut butter
To make the puree, you will need a food processor or high powered blender. Additional you will need an 8X8 baking pan.
Store cooled brownies in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy within 3-4 days.
Oats are naturally gluten free, but because of cross contamination in the fields not all flours are. If you're preparing these brownies of someone with a sensitivity to gluten, be sure your flour (or oats if grinding your own), is certified gluten free.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below or snap a pic and tag it @weelittlevegans on Instagram so I’ll be sure to see it!
- 1 cup oat flour GF certified if needed.
- 1 cup medjool dates pitted and soaked in hot water for 10 mins.
- ¾ cup butternut squash puree. You can also use sweet potato or pumpkin puree.
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup chocolate chips optional
- ⅓ cup natural peanut butter
- 2-3 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1-2 tablespoon unsweetened plain almond milk
BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a small butternut squash on baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until tender. Allow to cool, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Scoop flesh into food processor and blend until smooth and pureed.
BROWNIES: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or lightly oil the dish.
In the bowl of food processor combine butternut squash, dates, and almond milk until dates have broken down and mixture is smooth.
Add remaining brownie ingredients and blend until well combined. The batter will be slightly thicker than traditional brownie batter. Scoop batter into baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula.
PEANUT BUTTER SWIRL: Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in a small bowl adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time to thin just enough to slide off the spoon.
Drop small spoonfuls of peanut butter on top of brownie batter and use a knife to gently swirl through batter.
Bake for 25- 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted is nearly clean. I baked mine for 30 minutes.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Brownies will firm up more in the fridge.