It’s amazing when you find out that some of your favorite foods are (or can be) healthy! What if I told you that dark chocolate has some cool health benefits and you can combine chocolate with other healthy and tasty ingredients to make healthy baked goods, like a healthy brownie recipe!
But before we make my healthy protein brownies, check out this list of dark chocolate benefits.
Dark Chocolate Facts and Benefits
- Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants
- Studies show that dark chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease
- Has tons of fiber to help keep you full
- Contains iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium
- Dark chocolate contains compounds that may improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small decrease in blood pressure
SOOOO that’s great news, right!? Now, the real question is how do we use dark chocolate in baking? How can we put it in a healthy protein brownie recipe so we can benefit from its nutrients without gaining weight?
I made this easy, healthy brownies recipe just for you! (OK and me too, obviously) However, I am NOT a baker and I really don’t like to measure things, so I needed a simple recipe that I could throw together quickly.
Introducing my healthy protein brownies! Not only are these fudgy, gooey brownies good for you, they also help build muscle! Protein, you rock.
Bam! Now I really have your attention! protein brownies and a healthy brownie recipe WHAT!!??
One of the cool things about this healthy brownies recipe is that it can be adapted to meet any dietary needs or texture preferences by changing some of the ingredients. You can put your own spin on it by adding nuts or different nut butters! This healthy brownies recipe happens to be gluten-free and vegan too! (no flour and no eggs) It also has no butter or oil!
Regular HIGH-Calorie Brownie Fact: By the way, did you know that the “Double Chocolate Brownie” from Starbucks has 410 calories? Sorry to share this sad information, but YIKES! The Starbucks Brownie Nutrition Facts Per Serving (92 g)
Total Fat 24g
Now, I’m not saying that you should never have one of these dessert brownies. But you should reserve them for a treat meal! Always consider sharing a dessert like this with someone you love, so you only get half the calories. These brownies are huge anyway!
As much as I love brownies, the calories for the Starbucks version are not worth the sugar crash I get when I eat them. Instead, try my version of healthy brownies! Plus this is an easy brownie recipe too!
Ok! Let’s do this! Learn how to make delicious, healthy protein brownies that not only taste good but are good for you. These brownies are going to help you in your weight loss journey! This is such an easy brownie recipe and it contains a meal replacement protein powder that tastes like cake mix! LadyBoss® LEAN is my favorite choice for this recipe. You also could use a chocolate protein powder if you prefer, but you may need to adjust how much to add to your healthy brownie recipe.
Here’s my complete healthy protein recipe here. Below this recipe card, I’ll break down the recipe steps with tips.
Ingredients for Healthy Protein Brownies:
- 1 cup very ripe mashed banana or 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup nut butter of choice. Either peanut butter, almond butter or other nut butter due to flavor preferences or if you have nut allergies. I usually like to use crunchy nut butter so there are little pieces of nuts in my healthy brownies.
- 1/3 cup high-quality dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 2 scoops LadyBoss® LEAN meal replacement shake
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup honey, or agave, OR additional banana, OR a few drops liquid stevia, OR coconut sugar
*optional mini chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, pecans or peanuts.
*optional add ½ cup coconut shavings to turn this healthy brownie recipe into a decadent German chocolate cake-style protein brownie.
*optional strawberries can be sliced and added to the top for a decorative touch
Ingredient Tip 1: To make cake-like healthy brownies, add about 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and bake them for a longer time. In the “toothpick test,” you’re looking for a clean toothpick with only a few crumbs attached.
Ingredient Tip 2: To make cake-like textured protein brownies, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and bake them for 5 minutes longer. Keep an eye on them to prevent drying them out or burning the edges!
High Altitude Tip: People who live in a higher altitude might need to bake their easy brownie recipe for a bit longer at a lower temperature. They also may need to add more liquid. Ultimately, the “toothpick test,” is your best friend.
Instructions for Assembling Your Healthy Protein Brownies:
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Line an 8×8 pan with wax or parchment paper. Or spray with cooking spray.
- Combining Tip: Make sure your nut butter is soft. Allow it to sit on the counter or even warm it for 15 seconds in the microwave. This will make it easier to stir.
- Place all ingredients in a medium to large bowl, then stir until completely smooth. Use that KitchenAid Mixer on your counter if you have one! Or use your amazing arm muscles to stir!
- Spread batter into your pan.
- Bake on the middle rack 20 minutes (20 for super fudgy brownies or add five minutes for more solid brownies)
More Baking Tips to Make a Better Healthy Protein Brownie:
- These healthy brownies will be a bit soft or seem a bit underdone when you take them out.
- If you are using applesauce or if you are considering using stevia sweetener, be sure to use the frosting recipe for added sweetness and to get the gooey texture you desire. YES! I SAID FROSTING RECIPE! Peanut butter, of course, gives it a more peanutty flavor, but almond butter allows the dark chocolate to shine. If you are a sunflower or pumpkin seed butter fan, these can be allergy-friendly alternatives that give the brownies a more mild flavor. You can also use regular unsweetened cocoa.
- After the brownies cool off, cover with a paper towel and pop the pan in the fridge overnight. (sorry to make you wait). But it’s worth it. Letting the brownies cool makes them easier to cut (and they will test even better if you can complete this very difficult step). I know, I’m testing your patience!
Brownie Fact: This easy brownie recipe can either be stored in the fridge for three days or in the freezer for a month or two. Good luck keeping these healthy brownies for that long though.
Nutritional facts per serving for my healthy protein brownies made with peanut butter and agave:
Fat 8 g
Carbs 8 g
Protein 5 g
Optional Frosting Recipe for Your Healthy Protein Brownie Recipe
Ingredients for My Decadent Cream Cheese Protein Frosting:
- ¼ cup fat-free cream cheese
- ¼ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 1 scoop LadyBoss® LEAN
- Splash of vanilla almond milk to achieve your desired thickness
- Combine ingredients in a bowl
- Mix well until smooth
Combining Tip: Put healthy frosting in the fridge for 25 minutes to thicken and before spreading your brownies! There could be extra! YAY Lick the spoon!
Healthy protein brownies with nuts or healthy protein brownies without nuts! That is the question! This is a heated debate in many households! My husband would say that it is not a brownie unless it has nuts. For him, preferably walnuts or pecans, and I tend to agree. All I know is that I can enjoy brownies more often knowing they contain dark chocolate and a nutritional protein shake mix that I trust.
What is your favorite style of brownie? Maybe you can try to recreate your own healthy brownie version like I did. Be sure to share yours!