The Best Vegan Cocoa Brownies

The Best Vegan Cocoa Brownies

I don’t believe in deprivation or restriction (unless you have food allergies and sensitives that require it).

That may not be an opinion you hoped to hear from a Nutritionist, but I like to believe that I’m not an average Nutritionist. In my 7 years of counseling clients, I’ve never seen restriction and deprivation work as a long-term solution. Even clients who have to remove certain foods as part of an elimination diet to heal their digestive systems have a hard time sticking to a restrictive diet for more than 30 days – restriction and deprivation is HARD, it’s not necessary unless you have a health concern that requires it, and very often it backfires.

The trouble with restriction and deprivation (real or perceived) is that it inevitably leads to binge eating or over consumption.

If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know exactly what I mean!

You wake up one morning and think,”I’m gonna be good today and not eat sugar.” The thought feels safe and empowering. Plus, being able to stick to the plan makes you feel like you’re in control. But because willpower is a finite resource and restriction is perceived as starvation by the brain and body, you end up eating the food you swore you would stay away from and feel out of control around food.

Such a vicious cycle!

The solution I offer to all of my clients is intuitive eating – letting go of dieting (restriction and deprivation) and instead focusing on learning how to eat in a way that works for your body. When you’re eating intuitively, you’re using internal cues to determine when, what and how much to eat, instead of relying on an external source. While it may seem challenging initially, in the long run it’s much more empowering and you’ll no longer feel crazy around food.

I call that a win!

Wanna know what else I call a win?

These Gluten-Free and Vegan Brownies.

They are literally the best I’ve had, and I encourage you to make them if you love chocolate a much as I do.

Best Vegan Cocoa Brownies - jennifersterling.comI mentioned that I don’t believe in deprivation, right? 

The recipe is gluten, dairy, and egg free because that works for my body. I promise you that despite all the things I left out, they are still quite delicious.

Enjoy them mindfully, and know that allowing your body to have a say in what you’re eating (eating intuitively) is a healthier and much more sustainable choice than depriving your body of entire food groups for the sake of controlling the size of your body.

The Best Vegan Cocoa Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16-25 brownies
Gluten-free and vegan delicious!
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) coconut oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons of aquafaba (garbanzo bean liquid)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
  3. Combine the oil, syrup, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the oil is melted and the mixture is smooth
  4. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside briefly until the mixture is warm, not hot.
  5. Stir in the vanilla and the aquafaba. When the batter is shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until well combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the parchment lined pan and bake until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Let the brownies cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the parchment, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Not familiar with aquafaba? You can find more info here.

If you make this recipe tag me on Instagram @jennmsterling, or use #sterlingeats. I would love to see what you create! 



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ME? I’m so glad you’re here.

For years I struggled with how food owned my life, and then I took control not just of my plate, but my passion. With a background in body movement, dance, and once-upon-a-time bakery owner, I now help women create mindful lives.

© 2017 Jennifer Sterling