FROSTED VEGAN PROTEIN BROWNIES
It's almost Valentine's Day and I've been craving brownies! These Frosted Vegan Protein Brownies have only five main ingredients, are flourless, gluten free, and protein packed. The frosting is optional, but delicious! You can easily make these nut free using sunflower butter in the brownies and vegan butter or coconut butter in the frosting.
Lead in cocoa powder?
Chocolate and cacao contain trace amounts of lead and other toxic heavy metals. Total avoidance of heavy metals is impossible (they are present in the air, water and soil), so it's consuming safe levels that matters! Cocoa powder has among the highest levels of lead at 0.25 micrograms per gram. On average, one tablespoon of cocoa contains 1.75 micrograms of lead. (source) I used Nativas cacao powder which is among the lowest in lead at 0.045 micrograms per gram (0.3 micrograms per tablespoon). (source)
The FDA recently lowered their maximum daily intakes of lead to 8.8 micrograms per day for women of reproductive age and 2.2 micrograms for children. Daily intakes of lead have drastically decreased 97% since the 80's due to these regulatory measures! (source) It should be noted that California's lead standards are way more strict with a maximum allowable dose level (MADL) for lead at 0.5 micrograms. (source)
My personal opinion is that children should limit chocolate intake to less than half an ounce per day, or half a tablespoon of cocoa per day. As a woman who is not pregnant or nursing, I can safely consume up to four times that!
I made these Frosted Vegan Protein Brownies using LIV Body Lean Vegan Protein in German Chocolate flavor. They also have a Double Chocolate Chip Cookie flavor coming soon! I love their pea protein because it tastes great and is free of artificial additives with added probiotics. You can use my code SARAHWILKINS for free shipping on all LIV Body products!
You can also use another vegan protein powder, just make sure it's chocolate flavored. I cannot recommend whey or collagen for this recipe since they behave quite differently from pea protein and I have not tested them!
Bananas and alternatives
This brownie recipe does call for bananas, however, you can barely taste them! If you don't care for bananas, I would suggest white or purple sweet potatoes that have been boiled and mashed. I would not recommend substituting applesauce, squash, or pumpkin since all of these have less starch and higher water content. Feel free to try, though!
Hazelnut butter and alternatives
I used Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut and Almond Butter that's gluten-free, vegan, and low in sugar. I've also gotten Nutiva's Organic Reduced Sugar Classic Hazelnut Spread before since it's always at Walmart. This low sugar vegan brand would be good too! Of course, you could also use the classic, Nutella, but that will have a lot more sugar and not be dairy-free ;)
If you prefer not to use chocolate hazelnut butter, or can't due to an allergy, I would suggest sunflower seed butter. You might need to add an additional tablespoon or two of cocoa, sweetener, and milk to get the right flavor and consistency.
The only other ingredients in the brownies are unsweetened almond milk (any milk will do!), vanilla, and salt.
Vegan protein frosting
The chocolate frosting turned out so much better than I hoped! I took a scoop of LIV Body Lean Vegan Protein, and added a tablespoon each of cocoa powder and powdered sweetener, plus almond milk and coconut butter for a thick frosting consistency. A little pure vanilla extract and a dash of salt add flavor! If you don't have coconut butter, you can substitute vegan butter, nut or seed butter, or coconut oil that's solid at room temperature.
Here's the printable recipe for these Frosted Vegan Protein Brownies! I hope you'll rate and comment below if you try them :)
This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by LIV Body.
Frosted Vegan Protein Brownies
These Frosted Vegan Protein Brownies have only five main ingredients, are flourless, gluten free, and protein packed. The frosting is optional, but delicious! You can easily make these nut free using sunflower butter in the brownies and vegan butter or coconut butter in the frosting.
1/2 cup (60g) chocolate vegan protein (I used LIV Body brand, code SARAHWILKINS for free shipping)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1 cup (2 medium) ripe bananas, mashed*
1/2 cup reduced sugar chocolate hazelnut butter*
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk*
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (30) chocolate vegan protein (I used LIV Body brand, code SARAHWILKINS for free shipping)*
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. powdered sweetener
- Dash salt
3-5 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk (adjust as needed)
1 tbsp. vegan butter (or coconut butter), at room temp
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract (optional)
*See blog post above for substitutions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Spread brownies with frosting and cut into 9 equal squares. Leftovers will keep in the fridge covered for at least a week.
Blend or mash ripe bananas until no lumps remain.
Add hazelnut butter (or other nut or seed butter), milk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and thick. You can also throw all the ingredients in a blender!
Line an 8”x8” baking pan with parchment and spread batter over the bottom.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until the center is set but still a little gooey.
While the brownies cool, combine frosting ingredients until smooth. Start with 3 tbsp. almond milk and add more as needed depending on your protein powder.
Calories (per serving): 172kcal, Fat: 9.9g, Sat fat: 2.3g, Carbs: 14g*, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 10g, Sodium: 207mg
*Does not include carbs from erythritol, which has 0.2 calories per gram (basically zero).
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