These vegan tahini brownies are rich and chocolatey, perfectly sweetened with maple syrup, and have just the right balance between fudgy brownies, cakey brownies and chewy brownies. Game on! Did I mention this tahini brownie recipe is gluten-free and oil free? Yup…we’ve entered the bonus round of healthy desserts!
This recipe has been updated from the original posted October 26, 2019.
Calling all chocolate lovers! Who is looking for a sweet treat? I’m talking delicious, gooey brownies with a crackly top and all the dark chocolate rich taste you love. Who would pass up a delightfully decadent brownie?
For sure not me….and I’ve got good news for those with dietary restrictions too: these vegan tahini brownies are lightly sweetened with maple syrup, made with almond flour and the key ingredient is tahini….not vegetable oil.
Know what this means? You guessed it….oil free brownies, maple syrup brownies, gluten-free brownies…oh yes, the best tahini brownies are coming your way!
The bigger question….are you a middle or a corner person? Just throwing it out there for a bit of healthy debate.
Better than the box. Why you’ll love these
- As far as chocolate desserts go…oh so satisfying.
- Oh, you’re looking for a healthy dessert? Gotcha covered on that one too!
- Fudgy brownies with rich chocolate flavor.
- Easy to make with simple ingredients!
- Ingredients with health benefits! Why not?
- Not giving up on brownies…just giving up the boxed mix so I can enjoy sweet treats and not compromise on my health goals.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Tahini: The main ingredient here, also known as sesame seed paste. The nutty flavor of the tahini is my favorite part! Plus, you don’t need any other fats like butter, coconut oil, olive oil or (gasp) highly processed vegetable oil. Good subs would be creamy peanut butter or almond butter…but make sure it’s a drippy consistency.
- Flax eggs: A whole foods alternative to eggs. Just mix ground flax with water and let it sit. So easy and flax has omega 3s. fiber and plant based protein.
- Cacao powder: I like to use raw cacao, but any unsweetened cocoa powder will work well.
- Almond flour: Almond flour is a blanched to remove the skins of the almonds, and then finely ground. You could also use almond meal in this recipe which is a bit more coarse. Regular or gluten-free all purpose flour can be substituted. It’s only ⅓ cup.
- Chocolate chips: I like to use dark chocolate. If I can’t find good quality chips, I buy a bar of dark chocolate and chop it into chocolate chunks myself.
- Maple syrup: My sweetener of choice. I stay away from white sugar and brown sugar because they are heavily processed and have been shown to cause inflammation. Likewise to agave syrup.
Nutritional benefits of tahini
- B Vitamins: boost energy and brain function.
- Protein: tahini contains more protein than milk and most nuts
- Vitamin E: protects against heart disease and stroke
- Rich in minerals: copper, selenium, magnesium, iron, calcium.
- Reduces inflammation
How to make Vegan Tahini Brownies
Flax eggs need about 15 minutes to gel. For best results, use a whisk and mix the ground flax with the water in a small bowl before doing anything else.
While the flax eggs sit, preheat your oven to 350 and line a square baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
Then, gather your dry ingredients: almond flour, cacao powder, baking powder and sea salt. Mix together and set aside.
Use a medium or large mixing bowl to mix together wet ingredients. Start with the tahini, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir well.
Give the flax eggs another good stir and then pour them into the tahini mixture and mix until well combined. You do not need an electric mixer, just use a spatula and mix well. For a chewy brownie, do not over mix.
Add the chocolate mixture to the wet ingredients in the large bowl. Mix well, pulling up the tahini mixture from the bottom to be sure everything in evenly distributed throughout.
Before mixing in the chocolate chips, set 1 Tablespoon aside to sprinkle onto the top of the brownie batter.
Transfer batter to the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle with a few chocolate chips. I like to also sprinkle with a pinch of flaky salt. Not kosher salt, but flaky sea salt. If you’re cutting back on sodium, I recommend skipping the salt in the brownie batter and just using the garnish.
Bake for 30 minutes, in preheated oven, until edges are firm and toothpick comes out clean when inserted to center. Let brownies cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Grip the parchment on both sides and transfer to a wooden board.
How to cut brownies cleanly
Patience is a virtue here. I know, it’s so so hard to do when brownies are begging to be eaten…but try. Here are my best tips to go from one pan of brownies to individual brownies without losing too many in the process.
- Before attempting to cut, let them cool completely. Completely. You can speed up the process by popping them into the fridge or freezer, but they must be cool. I’ve had the most success after leaving them in the freezer overnight!
- Use a sharp knife. NOT a serrated knife. A chef’s knife works great.
- Run the knife under warm water in between cuts.
- Use a ruler if you want evenly sized brownies.
- Start by cutting down the center vertically, then cut in half horizontally. You will have 4 large squares. Don’t forget to run the knife under warm or hot water again. Now cut each of those squares in to 4 pieces the same way.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Thoroughly mix your jar of tahini when you first open it to create a UNIFORM drippy consistency. The best way to do this is to store your unopened jar upside down at room temperature. Use a metal offset spatula for easiest stirring.
- Use glass mixing bowls so you can see through the side to be sure the wet and the dry ingredients have been mixed together thoroughly….and you know when to stop so you don’t over mix.
- Follow my expert tips above for cutting brownies…spoiler alert, my number one tip involves patience!
- Many brownie recipes call for melted chocolate, but I prefer the slight bite the actual chocolate chips provide in the finished product, and find these deliciously fudgy as the recipe is written.
- The best part of making VEGAN brownies? You can lick the spoon/bowl. Go ahead, there are no raw eggs!
- Make one and a half batches of batter and bake in a rectangular pyrex rather than a square pan.
- I keep a stash of healthy treats in my freezer. I like to be prepared for last minute guests…but it’s tough with a recipe this good. Hubby finds the delicious brownies in the freezer, no matter where I hide them! Here’s the PRO TIP: make a double batch!
- If you love these, you’ll also love my chocolate zucchini brownies.
How to store brownies
Brownies stay fresh best when fully cool and stored in an airtight container. Give them space so they’re not touching and load in a single layer. Use a piece of parchment paper if you need to stack a second layer onto the first.
They’ll last at room temperature for 5 days, a week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
More healthy tahini recipes
When was the last time you met an ingredient that was equally at home in savory and sweet recipes? Tahini is a paste that’s made from ground sesame seeds. You can find it raw, or toasted, similar to peanut or almond butter. It’s a great substitution for those who are allergic to tree nuts or peanuts, but not seeds.
Tahini Brownie FAQs
Slightly undercooked brownies will be more fudgy and less cakey. Also, a combination of cocoa powder and actual chocolate produces a richer more fudge like texture and taste than only cocoa powder.
Brownies taste best with some fat. You can use tahini or nut butter to replace the vegetable oil for a whole foods no oil brownie recipe.
First, make sure your brownies are sufficiently cooled. Brownies that have been refrigerated or even frozen are even easier to cut. Then, choose your sharpest knife. Not a serrated knife, but a chef’s knife. Run the knife under hot water and then cut the entire brownie in half vertically. Run the knife under hot water again. Then cut in half horizontally. Continue to rinse the knife under hot water and cut the squares into 4s.
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- 2 Tablespoons flax meal
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup tahini
- In a small bowl, whisk together flax meal and water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8 x 8" baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients: almond flour, cacao, baking powder, sea salt.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix wet ingredients together, starting with the tahini, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Then stir in the flax mixture until well incorporated.
- Sprinkle on the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Set aside a few chocolate chips for the top. Fold in chocolate chips, (and chopped nuts if desired) and pour into prepared pan. Spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle on the extra chocolate chips and if desired a little sprinkle of flakey sea salt and/or sesame seeds.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 30 minutes and then lift gently onto cutting board.
- Cut into 16 squares.
- Brownies can be stored in air-tight container cut or uncut. Room temp for 5 days, in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for 3 months.
Yes. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds. Make sure to read the label to be sure there are no other ingredients in the tahini.
Yes, tahini is a terrific whole food substitute for oil in some baked goods, like brownies.
A mixture of ground flax and water works well to replace the eggs in tahini brownies.