These rich and fudgy brownies contain a sneaky, secret ingredient.
In lieu of oil or butter, they get their moist texture from pureed beets!
Paired with rich cocoa powder, it’s difficult to detect the earthy flavor of the beets in these brownies, but that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefit that these root vegetables bring to the table. Beets are one of the best sources of folate and betaine, which are thought to work together to reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease. When cooked, they develop a sweet flavor that’s delicious on its own, but even better in brownies.
Made with buckwheat flour, which is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb (and not at all related to wheat), these gluten-free brownies are a definite upgrade to the traditional versions made with butter and refined sugars. Buckwheat has been linked to lowered risk of developing higher cholesterol and high blood pressure, and may also contribute to improved blood sugar control!
Fudgy Buckwheat Brownies (Gluten-free, Egg-free)
makes one 8″ x 8″ pan
Adapted from this recipe
1/2 cup cooked beet puree
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
6 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment paper (not to be confused with wax paper!). In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ground flax seeds and water, and allow them to gel together for about 10 minutes. If you haven’t pureed your beets at this point, now is a great time to do so!
Note: I attempted this recipe with both roasted beets and steamed beets, and I found that the flavor of the steamed beets was less noticeable in the final product, when compared to the flavor of the roasted beets. To steam the beets, I like to cut them into chunks (no need to peel) and place them in a saucepan, fitted with a steam basket, filled with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and allow to steam for 15 minutes, or until the beets are fork tender.
Add the pureed beets, buckwheat flour, honey, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla to the bowl with the gelled flax seed mixture, and stir well until a thick, uniform batter is created. Fold in the dark chocolate chips, if using.
Transfer the batter to the parchment-lined baking dish, and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly to the edges. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the center is fairly firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely before serving. These brownies should last for a few days when stored at room temperature, but for best shelf life, store them in a sealed container in the fridge.
Fudgy Buckwheat Brownies (Gluten-free, Egg-free)
- 1/2 cup cooked beet puree
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 6 Tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8"x8" baking dish with parchment paper (not to be confused with wax paper!). In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the ground flax seeds and water, and allow them to gel together for about 10 minutes. If you haven't pureed your beets at this point, now is a great time to do so!
- Add the pureed beets, buckwheat flour, honey, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla to the bowl with the gelled flax seed mixture, and stir well until a thick, uniform batter is created. Fold in the dark chocolate chips, if using.
- Transfer the batter to the parchment-lined baking dish, and use a spatula to spread the batter evenly to the edges. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the center is fairly firm to the touch.
- Allow to cool completely before serving. These brownies should last for a few days when stored at room temperature, but for best shelf life, store them in a sealed container in the fridge.
Per Serving: Calories: 160, Fat: 4g, Carbohydrates: 30g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 3g
- I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour for best results. This is the brand of flour I used when developing the recipe, and I’ve noticed that homemade buckwheat flour tends to bake differently than store-bought brands.
- Even though the beet flavor is very mild, if you’d prefer to avoid it, I think any other puree could would also work in this recipe, such as pureed zucchini or unsweetened applesauce.
- For vegans, feel free to use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of honey.
Reader Feedback: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever added to a dessert? In my experience, avocado pudding still shocks people when they try it–> it’s surprisingly creamy!
Questions and Reviews
Hi Megan, I can’t wait to make these! I’ve been told to stay away from almonds and sugar (except fruit sugar) for awhile, so these are perfect! I’m going to try these with coconut sugar, but I’ve never used it. When you say you can use coconut sugar, do you mean the crystals or the syrup? Or would either work? Thank you!
I think crystals or coconut nectar would work! The sweetness might be slightly different than using honey, so just make sure you taste the batter before baking.
I’ve never used coconut sugar, so this was an experiment 🙂 I tried with coconut crystals and the batter was too dry. I added some soy milk and stevia drops and they came out smelling amazing, but ended up with a gummy texture and tasting too much of beets. I’m going to try using sweet potato and coconut nectar instead and will report back.
I am so excited about these! I have a can of beets from Whole Foods that would be perfect for the puree. Question–how do you think these would work with another GF flour, like brown rice flour?
Buckwheat flour is pretty different from traditional flour and is actually more similar to almond flour, so you might need to increase the amount when using a grain-based flour. I don’t work with brown rice flour, so I have no idea how it compares!
I remember using sauerkraut in a chocolate cake! I found the recipe on a can of sauerkraut, of course!
Wow, that sounds like an interesting idea!
Do these pass off as similar to classic brownies? I like the idea of them for myself, but not sure I can get my picky 8 year old to go for them! Would love it if he and his little brother would go for them! 🙂
They are less-sweet than traditional brownies, but I think if you used applesauce instead of beets they would definitely be kid-friendly! My husband has a pretty picky palate, and he has been requesting these brownies after every meal. 🙂
They are in the over right now! Can’t wait, they look sooo good. Used sweet potatoes instead of the beets. Thanks for the recipe!
Wow! These are fabulous! So moist and amazing texture. Shared with some girlfriends and my picky boyfriend, thumbs-up all around! 🙂
I agree on avocado in dessert, and YUM, Megan! These look fantastic, and so easy to veganize.
This looks wonderful! Do you know of an alternative to flax. Baked good s in our house are a thing of the past since I can’t eat eggs and my husband can’t eat flax (believe it or not he gets a severe reaction to it!)
I wonder if chia would work?
Yes, chia usually works just as well as flax seeds.
I use chia all the time for baking! Just soak your seeds like you would flax, give em a whirl in the blender and add a TB of apple cider vinegar when mixing into your other wet ingredients. They make your baking really fluffy! 🙂
I can’t do flax and was wondering how many eggs would I use to replace the flax?
Looking forward to trying this! I’ve never used buckwheat before.
These were great. I used applesauce instead of beets and also mixed in 2 TBSP of peanut butter. So moist. Definitely will make again!
Now these are some healthy brownies! I can’t wait to make this recipe and put these treats in my kids’ lunches!
I tried baking with buckwheat once and didn’t like the flavor, so I haven’t tried again. However, these are tempting me. How prominent is the buckwheat flavor? I ground my own last time, so maybe indeed to try store bought? Thank you!!
I think the rich cocoa and moisture content hides the buckwheat pretty well, but I don’t mind the flavor of buckwheat, so I’m not sure I’m the best judge!
I LOVE buckwheat and use it for many things. I don’t find it bitter at all.
In this recipe I found the beets to be a problem and too prominent.
I used applesauce (only change), and these were so bitter that I had to throw them away 🙁
Any idea how many beets make the required amount of puree? Or am I completely missing it in the recipe?
It totally depends on the size of your beets, since they vary so greatly. The first time I made these, it took 4-5 small steamed beets to get 1/2 cup puree, but the last couple times that I made them it only took a little over one large beet to achieve the same amount of puree. Usually you can eye-ball it, by looking for about 1 heaping cup of beet chunks, which will reduce to about 1/2 cup of puree.
Made these yesterday and they taste wonderful. I used eggs rather than flax. The chocolate really stands out because there isn’t a lot of sugar. For those that haven’t made them yet–they do not rise very much but it doesn’t detract at all from the taste.
Made these this weekend. I loved them because they had a slight coffee taste to me. I only had pureed pumpkin so used that instead and loved them…Taste like dense fudge and my 2 year old said “mmmm good!” so two thumbs up.
Also made your cashew mac in cheese and loved it….You have a great site!
These are the best tasting brownies I’ve ever had. I did the exact recipe minus the chocolate chips and I also roasted my beets. I wouldn’t want these any other way. They are not overly sweet, but that is just the way I like them. I divided them out into 12 cupcake holders. I think each turns out to be about 90-100 calories. Thanks so much Megan. Love love love this one.
How do you get away with the bitterness of the buckwheat flour?
Perhaps different brands of buckwheat flour vary, but I don’t find the Bob’s Red Mill version to be that bitter.
these are SO GOOD!! how on earth am i going to resist eating them all at once… 🙂
These are absolutely delicious and they also meet the requirements for an alkaline/bone friendly diet. My husband loves them – even after I told him what the ingredients were. For the person who wondered about tasting the buckwheat, we did not notice the flavor at all. I think the other ingredients have their own unique and powerful flavors plus there is such a small amount in the recipe, that you really don’t notice it. We voted and the vote was 2 to 0 to make these our regular brownie recipe from now on.
Do you think these would still be good if I replaced the cocoa powder for carob powder?
If you like the flavor of carob powder it might work– I personally don’t like the taste of carob!
I’ve been playing with this recipe for a few months. They always turned out well, but a little dry. I think the dryness came form coconut flour I usually use. Today I used maple syrup instead of honey, and two eggs instead of flax eggs. They turned out particularly moist and delicious this time. I thought I should share my efforts with you since I use so many of your ideas in my cooking lately.
Hi. I’ve got a can of beetroots, do you think I could use them? I’m usually not a beetroot person so not sure how they compare to fresh beets flavor wise? Thanks
I’m not sure if this was already mentioned but it seems Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat flour dies not claim to be gluten free. I believe it is because of a cross contamination issue with lines that are used. I was told Arrowhead Mills is a good sub and I have switched. Just a heads up for the celiacs and gluten sensitive. 🙂
These are delightful! We used chia seeds in place of flax (several family members have reactions to flax) and they turned out *perfect.* No local bakeries in our town make *fudgy* brownies, so these satisfied a craving I’ve had for years ;D We ate them warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The only thing I’ll do differently next time is buzz the gelled chia seeds in the blender/food processor to break up the seed-y texture. I happen to like chewy chia, but it does distract from the essential brownie-ness of the thing!
The other awesome thing about these brownies? They don’t hit the body as ‘sugar’ – they hit the body as ‘food.’ We ate them for breakfast (it was noon! none of us had had any food yet! don’t judge! :D), and felt good afterward. No big blood sugar spikes, no blech tummy – just felt like we’d eaten FOOD. And after a couple of brownies, we were DONE. No desire to eat more, because we were each full. I have to say, regular brownies were something I could over-eat on till the whole pan was gone. Any treat that I don’t *want* to binge on, but that is totally satisfying, is a blessing 🙂
I wanted to reply to all the concerns about the prominent taste of buckwheat flour. If you buy raw buckwheat groats and grind your own flour, it is very mild. Buckwheat flour is made from roasted groats and has a much stronger flavor. The raw groats are soft and easy to grind in a blender or food processor. Eden Foods is a good brand, or get them in the bulk bin at your local coop.
And if people want to avoid buckwheat altogether, I make these with TEFF flour – turn out great 🙂
I’m grain free so this chocolaty delight was perfect for my bready craving. Thanks!
I tried this and did not work out!
My husband hated it – we ended up throwing it all away.
I had great hopes for a moist, rich, chocolate brownie – all we could taste were the beets.
I followed the recipe faithfully. I had to add water as the beets alone were not enough to mix all of the ingredients into a brownie-like batter.
Also, the quantities must be wrong – it was way too little for my 8X8 pan.