Every summer, without fail, stores and neighborhood gardens overflow with zucchini. This year, I’m getting a jump on it with summer squash recipes. And that includes this old favorite from Sarah for dairy-free zucchini brownies. These rich chocolaty squares are extra-moist from the hidden vegetable infusion, and are finished off with a perfectly sweet chocolate glaze.
Dairy-Free Zucchini Brownies with Chocolate Glaze
Way back in 2007, Sarah shared this dairy-free zucchini brownies recipe, which she had adapted from Everyday Cheapskate by Mary Hunt. We’ve updated the recipe with more details and a new glaze, and I also have answers to some FAQs.
What is Natural / Unsweetened Cocoa Powder?
There are two basic types of cocoa powder: Natural (sometimes labeled as “Unsweetened”) and Dutch Processed. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder is more acidic, and reacts with the baking soda in this recipe. It’s naturally dairy-free, and easy to find. If you use Dutch-processed, your brownies won’t rise as much and might have a slight baking soda taste, which can be unpleasant. In the glaze, Dutch-processed lends a richer, sweeter, darker taste, but unsweetened natural cocoa powder will work, too.
What Oil Do You Recommend?
Use your favorite baking oil – almost any type will work great. I use extra-light olive oil (not extra-virgin), and Mary uses vegetable oil. But regular olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, and many others will do the job. If using coconut oil, make sure your zucchini is at room temperature. Also, if you like to refrigerate your brownies, they will set up more solidly if using coconut oil. You can use refined coconut oil if you don’t want any coconut undertones in the flavor.
What is the Texture of these Zucchini Brownies?
They’re lightly cakey, but very moist and rich, and take on a more fudgy consistency when refrigerated.
Can I Reduce the Sugar?
Technically, you could cut the sugar a little, but this will affect both the taste and texture of these zucchini brownies. Sugar creates bonds that help create a chewier, richer consistency.
Where are the Eggs?
You noticed! Mary’s recipe is naturally egg-free and vegan. This does make the zucchini brownies just a touch cakier in texture, but not overly so. If you prefer the texture of brownies with eggs, I would drain and just lightly press the zucchini to release excess moisture, reduce the baking soda to 1 1/4 teaspoons, and add 1 or 2 eggs with the wet ingredients. This might affect the baking time a little. For a foolproof version with eggs, try my Classic Dairy-Free Brownies Recipe.
Special Diet Notes: Zucchini Brownies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened / natural)
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup oil
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely grated zucchini
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened or Dutch-processed)
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free buttery spread or sticks, melted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water or dairy-free milk alternative, as needed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla until well blended.
- Add the flour-cocoa blend to the wet ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts or chocolate chips (if using).
- Spread the batter evenly into your prepared pan.
- Bake the zucchini brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they spring back when touched.
- Let the brownies cool on a wire rack in the pan.
- Sift the sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Add the butter alternative, 2 tablespoons water or milk alternative, and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- If the frosting is too thick, mix in up to 1 tablespoon of additional water or milk alternative.
- Spread the glaze over the cooled brownies before cutting into squares. The glaze will set up a little more as it cools.