Best ever banana brownies (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

vegan-gluten-free-banana-brownies

I’m not even kidding you – these are the best brownies ever. Gooey, chocolatey, banana-ey and gloriously guilt free, because they’re packed full of nutritious ingredients, with no added sugar.

As most of my brownies, they’re based on chickpeas, oats and dates. I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, but I prefer using chickpeas because it means you don’t need eggs and can still get a dose of protein. (I’m not vegan either, by the way, I just like to avoid dairy and eggs as much as I can.)

These can be whipped up in a food processor in five minutes and are a great way to use up very ripe bananas.


HEALTHY BANANA BROWNIES (VEGAN, GF)
Makes one 24cm square tin – ca 16 brownies

100g oats*
1 can (240g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
150g dates
30g agave nectar
70g peanut butter (or other nut butter)
30g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder*
2 large ripe bananas (or three small ones)
250ml milk alternative (I use Oatly or Rice Dream, but nut milks work too
1 tsp coconut oil for the tin

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Brush a 24cm square (or equivalent size) brownie tin with coconut oil.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process everything into a smooth mixture.

Fill the mixture in to the brownie tin, spread evenly, and bake at 170°C for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It’s ok if you still get a slight wobble in the middle; that will ensure you get a brownie-like consistency.

Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares or slices.


Store in the fridge. They’ll keep up to a week.

* To ensure the brownies are gluten-free us GF-certified oats and baking powder.

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The best ever healthy brownies! (Vegan, GF, no added sugar)

vegan-gluten-free-brownies

Not going to lie: I love cake. One of the biggest challenges of consistent healthy eating is to resist the temptation of sugary treats. Of course I eat them – occasionally. But cutting down on sugar has done so much good for my health – happier stomach, clearer skin, no more insane blood sugar fluctuations – and I’d like to keep it that way. I can’t go long without sweet treats though, so to prevent the inevitable sugar binge I have integrated a load of healthy sweet alternatives into my daily diet.

One of them is this brilliant cake alternative, which is not just utterly delicious but also incredibly versatile. I always have a batch in the fridge and rely on them for my daily afternoon snack – you know, that 3pm low in the office when everyone gets their Snickers out and you’re just dying for a quick energy boost.

These brownies are based on chickpeas, dates, nut butter and oats, making them vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free. My version is medium sweet, so if you have a very sweet tooth just up the amount of agave nectar a bit. You can also add chopped nuts, a mashed banana, a couple of shots of espresso or chocolate chunks to jazz things up a bit.

The recipe is very flexible and has already evolved into an exciting range of other cakes. My favourite variations so far are apple and cinnamon cake, spiced carrot cake and a total showstopper of a vanilla protein blondie. My friend took the basic recipe and turned it into a spiced pumpkin cake, and is also experimenting with a savoury version. This cake offers a lot of room for experiments.

So give it a try and get creative, throw in your own ideas and let me know in the comments if you come up with new variations!

Sundays are for cake, coffee and good books
Sundays are for cake, coffee and good books


THE BEST HEALTHY BROWNIES
Makes one 24cm square tin – ca 16 brownies

100g oats*
1 can (240g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
100g dates
40g agave nectar
50g peanut butter (or other nut butter)
30g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder*
250ml milk alternative (I use Oatly or Koko, but almond milk works too)
1 tsp coconut oil for the tin

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Brush a 24cm square (or equivalent size) brownie tin with coconut oil.

Put the oats in a food processor and blitz until they are finely ground. Add all the other ingredients and process everything into a smooth mixture.

Fill the mixture in to the brownie tin, spread evenly, and bake at 175°C for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It’s ok if you still get a slight wobble in the middle; that will ensure you get a brownie-like consistency.

Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares or slices.


Keeps in the fridge up to one week. (They might keep longer but I haven’t tested that as they never survive more than a week in my fridge!)

* To ensure the brownies are gluten-free us GF-certified oats and baking powder.

Gorgeously nutty carrot cake (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

vegan-protein-carrot-cake-3

This week’s healthy treat is a lovely carrot and hazelnut cake with a warming kick from cinnamon and a bit of cocoa. These slices of guilt-free goodness are vegan, gluten-free and free from refined sugar, relying only on the natural sweetness of the ingredients.

This is another variation on my recent experiments with cakes based on chickpeas. Yes really. The humble chickpea eliminates the the need for eggs and flour and adds some extra protein, and you can’t taste it so nobody will ever guess your healthy secret!

The carrot flavour isn’t too obvious in this recipe, but adding a couple of finely shredded carrots will add lightness and moisture, and the crunch from the chopped hazelnuts brings it to perfection.

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VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE CARROT AND HAZELNUT CAKE
Makes around 24 slices

100g carrots, in chunks
100g dates, pitted
1 can (240g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
100g oats*
1 heaped tsp baking powder*
20g cacao (or vegan-friendly cocoa powder)
2 tsp cinnamon
50g smooth hazelnut or peanut butter
200 hazelnut milk (or other nut / oat / coconut milk)
30g agave nectar
100g hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Brush a 24cm square (or equivalent size) brownie tin with coconut oil.

Put the oats in a food processor and blitz until they are finely ground.

Add all the other ingredients, except the hazelnuts, and process everything into a smooth mixture. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts.

Fill the mixture in to the brownie tin, spread evenly, and bake at 175°C for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares or slices.

Keeps in the fridge up to one week – if you can manage to not eat them sooner.

* To ensure the cake is gluten-free us GF-certified oats and baking powder.


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Vegan, gluten-free, super healthy apple and cinnamon cake

vegan-gluten-free-apple-cinnamon-cake

I’m on a mission to prove that healthy cake can be just as delicious as traditional cake, and this recipe definitely is a case in point.

Imagine all the goodness of sweet, moist apple cake with the warmth of cinnamon and a hint of chocolate, but without any butter, flour or refined sugar. This recipe uses chickpeas instead of flour, which makes it gluten-free and has the added benefit of swapping out some of the carbs for protein. You won’t be able to taste the chickpeas, promise. As my friend said after she tried these, “I can’t believe it’s chickpeas!”

I rely on these cakes for my mid-morning snacks, for a light energy boost before workouts…and basically for all my cake needs.

The basic recipe also works in all sorts of other flavour combinations, and over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a brownie version, a vanilla protein blondie version, and carrot cake variation on the apple recipe. So stay tuned for more gorgeous cake!

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VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE APPLE AND CINNAMON CAKE
Makes one 24cm square tin

100g oats*
1 can (240g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
100g dates
30g agave nectar
50g peanut butter
30g cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder*
250ml milk alternative (I use Oatly or Koko, but almond milk works too)
2 apples, chopped, half put aside
1 tsp coconut oil for the tin

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Brush a 24cm square (or equivalent size) brownie tin with coconut oil.

Put the oats in a food processor and blitz until they are finely ground.

Add all the other ingredients (reserving half of the chopped apples) and process everything into a smooth mixture. Stir in the remaining apples with a wooden spoon.

Fill the mixture in to the brownie tin, spread evenly, and bake at 175°C for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It’s ok if you still get a slight wobble in the middle; that will give the cake a brownie-like consistency.

Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares or slices.


Keeps in the fridge up to one week. (They might keep longer but I haven’t tested that as they never survive more than a week in my fridge!)

* To ensure the cake is gluten-free us GF-certified oats and baking powder.