low-fat brownie recipe

I created this recipe for Vegetarian Times (1 Food 5 Ways: Beets).  I played around with replacing some of the fat in a traditional brownie recipe with pureed beets, which keep brownies tender and rich. I’ve made this recipe for self-proclaimed “beet haters” and children, who scarf them down without a second thought about the veggie content.  Generally, I’m not into the whole “sneaky chef” thing – I prefer to veggies to be consumed willingly – but adding veggies to baked goods can be met with some resistance, so it’s best to a keep it a secret until after they’ve been eaten.

Fresh cooked or canned beets both work well in this recipe.  Be sure to thoroughly drain the beet puree, otherwise the red color will bleed.

Red Velvet Brownies

2 large cooked beets or 1 14-oz. can beets, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbs. instant espresso powder

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Purée beets in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. You should have 1 cup. Set aside.

3. Whisk together butter and sugar in bowl until smooth. Add vanilla, then whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in beets.

4. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in separate bowl. Fold flour mixture into beet mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.

5. Bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool, then cut into 16 squares.


Makes 16 brownies


Per brownie: Calories: 161, Protein: 2g, Total fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 5g, Carbs: 21g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 17mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 16g

Photo Source: Vegetarian Times

Reviews from Vegetarian Times readers:


By Priscilla on Mar 14, 2011:

I made these for my friends who are gluten-free, so I used Pamela’s Baking Mix instead of flour. Delicious!

By Anne on May 10, 2011:

I have made these brownies several times and all of my friends want the recipe. Don’t change a thing and they turn out perfectly! I will definitely try the gluten free mix next time.

By Rachel on May 14, 2011:

I made these brownies with spelt flour. They came out with a fudgy texture, not that of brownies. Although they were nice, they weren’t what I expected.

By Anonymous on Jun 03, 2011:

I did not have any espresso powder and used regular sized chocolate chips, these came out denser than expected but the flavor was great.

By Deb on Jun 09, 2011:

Even though the beets were a pain to puree in a blender because I do not have a food processor, it was worth it! So moist and yummy. I also did not have the espresso powder but the brownies still tasted very much like chocolate heaven. I will make again for sure.

By Frantasm on Aug 31, 2011:

I used whole wheat flour. All I can say is THESE ROCK!!!!! The brownies are more like molten lava cake bites when warm. I grated canned beets with a grater with tiny graters then mashed by hand. So yummy. Even my picky wife liked them. Thanks!

By Zornitsa on Sep 14, 2011:

I’ve substitute the flour with low-fat soy flour, the butter with applesauce + 1 tbsp oil, and the cocoa powder with carob powder. I also omit the sugar and substitute with 1/2 tsp liquid stevia. One of the best brownies i’ve ever tried!