They taste so good you'll forget they're healthy.

By Teresa Sabga
May 21, 2021
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Credit: Teresa Sabga

When it comes to brownies, there are five basic ingredients: chocolate, sugar, flour, butter, and eggs. But for vegans, the latter two are not on the table—nor are they necessary. The same applies for flour for those suffering with celiac or a gluten intolerance. A gluten-free, vegan brownie is possible, though. We promise once you learn what you can swap in or substitute, it makes life much sweeter.

You've probably heard this a million times over, but we'll say it again: Baking is a science, and you have to understand how each ingredient works or else you'll be left with a hot mess and heartbreak. Eggs act as an emulsifier in baked goods, combining the wet and dry ingredients. They are also natural leaveners, creating air in your batters and causing them to rise when they go into the oven. Butter adds moisture and binds ingredients together by hydrating flours and starches.

Believe it or not, there are so many natural ways to source the protein required for vegan baking. The best vegan substitutions for egg and butter include but are not limited to black beans, avocado, mashed banana, silken tofu, nut butters, tahini, pumpkin and sweet potato puree, flaxseeds, and aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas). Seriously, the list could go on.

And because cocoa powder resembles cake flour, it's easy to transform tried-and-true brownie recipes into new flourless favorites.

Credit: Teresa Sabga

To save you the headache, we've done the hard work for you by creating the best vegan, gluten-free brownies we could think of. Regardless of whether you're a cakey, chewy, or fudgy brownie lover, each of these options will melt in your mouth. You might even be surprised that you won't miss the flour, dairy, or eggs!

Vegan Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies with Salted Ganache

Credit: Teresa Sabga

Warning: these brownies are addictive and dangerously easy to make. Throw a handful of ingredients into your blender, purée, pour, and bake. These are some of the best brownies I've ever had—vegan or not. If you're a chocolate lover, the salted ganache will win your heart over.

Vegan Gluten-Free Avocado Brownies

Credit: Teresa Sabga

Avocados are not just for guacamole. When it comes to dessert, they're also treasured for their creamy texture and buttery base. Because they're high in healthy fats, they make the perfect replacement for butter in vegan baking. We promise, you can't see or taste the avocado.

Fudgy Flourless Pumpkin Brownies

Credit: Teresa Sabga

Canned pumpkin is a blessing throughout the year, not just fall. Used as a binding agent in many vegan desserts, puréed pumpkin adds extreme amounts of moisture to these warm, spiced brownies. Filled with pumpkin spice and everything nice, they're thick and fudgy with just the right amount of sweetness.