The upside to buying in bulk is that you save money…the downside is that the overabundance of one particular item in your fridge or pantry usually means it often goes bad! On that note, I recently bought a HUGE bag of spinach, which coincidentally kept getting neglected and shoved to the back of the fridge.
To make a long story short, this past Sunday became ‘Ode to Spinach’ Day! Literally EVERY recipe I made had spinach as the star ingredient; from Sausage, Spinach & Potato Hash (to be posted) to Spinach Chickpea Hummus, Vegan Chickpea Spinach & Tomato Stew (to be posted) and these decadent spinach brownies! (Too bad I didn’t have enough to make my Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi!).
I’ve made my fair share of healthy, vegan-ish snacks and desserts in the past, by simply swapping traditional ingredients for healthier ones. After making all those savoury dishes I was in the mood for something sweet. I’ve dabbled with adding veggies to sweets before, such as in my Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes. I figured, if chickpeas could work in a sweet recipe then why not spinach too? Out of curiosity, I browsed the internet and (NOT) to my surprise, I discovered that there are about a million recipes for spinach brownies out there (and I thought I was being all original!!).
I usually create recipes through trial and error…unfortunately, when it comes to baking there’s usually more error! I wasn’t in the mood to risk wasting all that fresh (pricey) organic spinach so I took some inspiration from a random recipe I found on Fitsugar.com.
Of course, I tweaked it A LOT (that’s just what I do!). Whether it was the original recipe or the result of tweaking the recipe (I prefer it to be the latter), these brownies were delicious!! Soft, chewy, with a crunchy bite from the chocolate chips and just the right amount of sweetness.
Would you ever guess that there was spinach in these?! Well, the proof is in the pudding, I mean brownies. My son devoured these…but don’t ask HIM if they were delicious, ask my husband, (you know, the veggie-hater?!) who devoured a few of these on his own (BEFORE he knew there was spinach in them, of course!)
(Yields 8 3 by 3 inch brownies)
1/2 cup white pastry flour
1/2 cup almond flour (Substituting 1/2 cup for regular flour makes a denser batter)
1/3 cup organic palm sugar (or sugar of choice)
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
*If you like your brownies super-sweet, use only sugar and add 1-2 tbs, if desired.
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup extra-virgin coconut oil (at room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups raw organic spinach
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbs. ground flax (optional)
*If you’re making these for adults add 1 tsp. of ground espresso for an extra kick of flavour!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flax.
Blend the spinach, coconut oil, vanilla, coconut milk, maple syrup and sugar in a large food processor on high speed until smooth, ensuring all the spinach is finely ground. *The batter will be very runny but will thicken perfectly once you add the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the food processor and blend again until the batter is smooth. Alternatively, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in a large mixing.
After blending in the food processor, transfer the batter to a large bowl and fold in the chocolate chips…or sprinkle them directly onto the batter so they add a crunchy bite to the brownies.
Spread the batter evenly into a 12 x 5.5 x 2 inch biscotti pan or baking pan of choice, depending on desired thickness. (I used a biscotti pan and the brownies were about 1 1/2 inches thick.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Set aside to cool before cutting into portions and removing from the pan.
If desired, garnish with a sprinkle of icing sugar for added sweetness.