Healthy Red Velvet Brownies
Healthy Brownies? Yes, it’s true. If you’re looking for a sweet treat to make for your sweetheart (or yourself), check out these red velvet brownies. It’s not food coloring that makes them red, it’s…
I adapted this amazing little recipe from Runner’s World for red velvet brownies made with beets. I kinda think beets are gross, but was so curious I had to give them a try. I like sweet things, and am always trying to find ways to pretend cookies and cupcakes are healthy (if they taste good they must be… right?).
This recipe helps satisfy my craving for something sweet after dinner and is significantly better for me. While I certainly wouldn’t consider this healthy in the same way I would a power salad, here’s why I can call them healthy compared to other desserts.
Health Benefits of Beets
You’re probably not eating beets as a regular part of your diet. Maybe you should. Beets have a TON of health benefits! Beets are loaded with magnesium, sodium, calcium, iron and phosphorus – all things runners need to avoid cramping. They also have almost as much fiber as an apple, and healthy doses of vitamin A, C and niacin.
According to Men’s Health, beets are like red spinach.
Just like Popeye’s powerfood, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments—called betacyanins—that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.
Low Sugar & Healthy Chocolate
Unlike most after dinner treats, these brownies are relatively low in sugar. At 3/4 of a cup, that’s half of any other brownie recipe, and way less than cookies or cake. Because it calls for bakers chocolate (which has no sugar in it), the chocolate doesn’t add any additional sugar either.
What’s more, unsweetened baking chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Because it’s the darkest of the dark chocolate, it actually may be the best for you. According to one study,
“Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate … and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.”
This is why dark chocolate is better for you than the sweeter stuff.
- 1/2 lb red beets
- 3/4 cup coffee (use leftovers from the morning)
- 6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
- 1/3 cup cocoa (or hot chocolate mix if you’re in a pinch)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar (add less or more depending on how sweet you want them)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup quinoa flour (makes them gluten free, but you could use regular flour if that’s not an issue)
- 1 t cinnamon and ginger
- 1/2 t baking powder
- pinch salt
- walnuts (optional)
- Cook beets by boiling them for 45-ish minutes in a big pot (or whatever way you can make them soft). Here is a simple way to cook beets. You can also buy them pre-cooked.
- While those are cooking, mix dry ingredients and set aside.
- In sauce pan, add coffee, chocolate and coconut oil. Heat and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
- Turn beets into puree in food processor or blender.
- Add beet puree to chocolate mix and stir in eggs, sugar and vanilla.
- Add wet ingredients to dry.
- Fold in walnuts.
- Grease 8″ baking pan and bake 22 minutes at 350 (because the beets make this so moist, you may need to bake longer).
How do They Taste?
AWESOME! I was surprised by how incredibly moist these brownies are. The beets make them very soft (and red), and quite different from normal brownies. I had to bake them almost 10 minutes longer so the middle would set.
They also don’t taste overly sweet. In fact, I’d say they were a tad on the bitter side – but I like that. If you like really dark chocolate, you’ll love these! Paired with dark roast coffee or red wine, this is the perfect combination. My wife even approved them for her office happy hour.
What do you think? Make these red velvet brownies with beets and report back!