“Breath properly. Stay curious. And eat your beets.”-Tom Robbins
Beet Brownies: The Healthy Option
Beets are the most alluring root vegetable. They smell like the earth from which they are pulled; on the outside they seem rather melancholy and drab, but cut into them and you will see their bright magenta flesh; sometimes candy striped, sometimes golden, always sweet.
This dessert recipe calls for more veggies than sugar, but you could never tell by the taste. Granted, beets do contain more sugar than other root veggies, such as radishes or turnip. However, I think the anti-oxidants, minerals, fiber and other nutrients more than make up for the natural sugars found in beets. If you are thinking that beet brownies sounds gross, consider the fact that I fed these to 180 elementary kids during my farm-to-school class last month. They LOVED them and asked for the recipe so their moms could make it at home. That is what I call success.
Health Benefits of Beets
This is one of those veggies where nature seems to tell you what part of the body it is good for. The color of its juice is reminiscent of the blood that runs in our veins. In fact, beets are beneficial for our blood and its associated organ, the heart. Also, brightly colored plant foods are high in powerful nutrients known as phyto-chemicals. The color of the inside of beets is due to a phytonutrient called betalain, which is known to have anti-oxidant, anti-cancerous, anti-lipidemic and anti-microbial effects on the body.
How to make Gluten-Free Beet Brownies
Converting this recipe to gluten-free is simple! I provided two options:
- Replace regular flour with 1/4 cup almond or coconut flour. As a general rule of thumb, a 3:1 ratio of regular flour to almond or coconut flour is a good substitution method.
- You can also use all purpose gluten-free baking flour at a 1:1 ratio of regular flour. Simply replace regular flour with 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour. Add 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum per cup of all purpose GF flour.
Sneaky Beet Brownies
Have you ever wished chocolate could count as a vegetable? Well, this recipe is for you (or your kiddos!) Rich, moist, chocolately dessert with heart-healthy beets that are so subtle you won’t even know they’re there.
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 small beets pureed *see notes
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 345F. Grease a 9×6 glass or metal pan.
Melt coconut oil in microwave or in a sauce pan at medium heat until it forms a liquid.
Place coconut oil in a bowl and add sugar. Mix well.
In separate bowl, beat eggs, then pour them into the sugar and oil mixture.
Add vanilla extract and pureed beets. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder together.
Combine these dry ingredients with the beet, flour, sugar, oil mixture. Mix well.
Pour into greased pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until you can a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
*To make beet puree, quarter the beets and either boil them or bake them at 400 degrees F for about 1 hour. I like baking them better, since they retain their beautiful color. Once they are soft, put them in a food processor until they are a smooth consistency. One beet equals about 1/2 cup beet puree.
*If you would like to make this recipe gluten free, use 1/4 cup of almond or coconut flour instead of 3/4 cups all purpose flour. The general rule of thumb is to replace every cup of all purpose flour with 1/3 to 1/4 cup of either almond or coconut flour, so this would be a 1:3 or 1:4 almond/coconut flour to regular flour ratio. You can also use all purpose gluten-free baking flour at a 1:1 ratio of regular flour. Just add 1/4 teaspoon of xantham gum per cup of flour. I hope you enjoy!