Vegan Tahini Brownies (Fudgy and Gluten-Free)
These fudgy vegan tahini brownies with pumpkin spice flavors are healthy, gluten-free, and delicious! They’re made with wholesome ingredients like honeynut squash, tahini, and coconut sugar, but are incredibly indulgent, gooey, and rich.
If you’ve been following my food journey for awhile, you know that I love coming up with creative ways to recreate favorite comfort foods and make vegan food taste indulgent AF. And these fudgy Vegan Tahini Brownies are no exception!
They’re vegan (obvs) and gluten-free and made with nourishing, perhaps surprising ingredients, but they taste like a gooey, decadent fudgy brownie. The best of both worlds!
The batter is, unsurprisingly, very fudgy and rich, so don’t be alarmed if your batter isn’t looser like a more traditional brownie batter. The next two photos show you what the texture of the unbaked batter should look like.
These brownies are essentially flour-free, so they are quite soft and gooey. The ingredients include almond flour (almond flour is really just almonds, not four) just 2 tablespoons of oat flour (which is really just oats, not so much flour).
I love gooey fudgy brownies, but just keep in mind they are quite delicate in texture. If you want a firmer brownie, store the brownies in the refrigerator. Refrigeration changes the texture somewhat, but I like them both ways!
And be sure not to over bake the brownies. I check them after 25 minutes of baking, but ended up giving them 30 minutes because they seemed a bit toooo fudgy at 25 minutes. They might not look done, but if you over bake them, they will be dry and not fudgy. The brownies are done when they just start to pull away from the edges (see the photo below). Every oven is different, so I recommend checking at 25 minutes, then again at 30 minutes.
Since the brownies are relatively healthy (we’ll talk about the ingredients soon), I wanted a more decadent topping so I went with an easy but rich chocolate ganache. It’s made with dark chocolate, a bit of coconut oil, coconut cream, and sea salt. Trust me when I say it is wildly delicious and addictive by the spoon.
As for the rest of the toppings, I used some extra dark chocolate chunks (in addition to the chocolate chunks that go in the brownie batter), chopped toasted hazelnuts, and flaky sea salt. But you can get creative with the toppings. No hazelnuts on hand? Add roasted almonds or hemp seeds for crunch. I do think the sea salt is essential as it brings out the chocolateyness (not a word but you know what I mean) in the chocolate and makes for that ultimate sweet-salty dessert.
Here’s a rundown of the main ingredients in these fudgy, gluten-free Vegan Tahini Brownies.
Roasted Honeynut Squash
Honeynut Squash is basically a mini butternut squash but it’s sweeter and it’s only available in the fall. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with either (a) canned pumpkin puree or (b) cooked and mashed butternut squash. Keep in mind that honeynut squash is sweeter than butternut, so you may want to add an extra tablespoon of coconut sugar if you use butternut squash.
To cook the honeynut squash, I recommend slicing it in half (vertically) and brushing the flesh with a thin layer of refined coconut oil (or other neutral oil) and dust with cinnamon. Bake in the oven, flesh side down on a baking sheet, at 400°F/200°C for 20-25 minutes until fork tender. Alternatively, you could also steam the honeynut squash.
Aside from the almond flour and dark chocolate, the tahini is the main source of fat and the reason the brownies don’t need any oil (though there is a tiny bit of coconut oil in the ganache and you might need to use oil to roast the honeynut squash).
Be sure to use a smooth and creamy variety that isn’t too bitter. The brands I regularly use are Soom Tahini, Seed + Mill, and the Whole Foods 365 brand. I do not recommend using refrigerated tahini, as it gets very thick and can change the texture of the batter. So if you typically refrigerate your tahini, you’ll want to bring it to room temperature.
Aquafaba is simply the liquid leftover from cooked chickpeas. Lightly whipping the aquafaba with an electric mixer, as is done in this recipe, acts as an egg substitute. Usually three tablespoons = one egg. This recipe calls for 6 tablespoons (~2 eggs).
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
When using cocoa powder, it’s important to sift the dry ingredients to prevent those clumps. I know, it takes a few extra minutes and an extra dish to wash, but it’s worth it. I promise!
Maple Syrup + Coconut Sugar
I use both in this recipe because I wanted both a liquid and a dry sweetener for texture purposes. If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can substitute with brown sugar.
This is the only “flour” in the recipe, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s not really a flour, just almonds, which is why these brownies are gooey and delicate.
The recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of oat flour. That’s because I tried to keep the recipe grain-free and use only almond flour, but the batter was simply too runny. So the oat flour helps bring the batter together.
As with almond flour, you can make your own oat flour simply by grinding up rolled oats in a food processor until they are very finely ground. Luckily, store-bought oat flour is pretty inexpensive. Just be sure to use a certified gluten-free variety if you or anyone eating this is strictly gluten-free (while oats are naturally gluten-free, there might be some cross-contamination if not labeled certified gluten-free).
Pumpkin Pie Spice
I make my own pumpkin pie spice (the recipe is below), but this is the season for stocking up on pumpkin pie spice! Trader Joe’s has an inexpensive blend, as does Whole Foods’ 365 brand.
Dark Chocolate Chunks
I buy dark chocolate chunks from Whole Foods for the batter, but you could also just take a bar of chocolate and chop it up into bite-sized chunks (you’ll need some dark chocolate for the ganache as well). Or use vegan chocolate chips.
Here’s why you’re going to want to add these Vegan Tahini Brownies to your fall baking lineup!
They’re vegan and gluten-free and made with wholesome ingredients like tahini, almond flour, roasted honeynut squash, and coconut sugar.
But these brownies are fudgy, gooey and taste decadent! A brownie that tastes hella good but that you can feel good about.
This is the perfect “rich chocolate meets warming pumpkin spice flavors” that everyone loves about fall. For more pumpkin-chocolate desserts, try out this giant cookie skillet, cheesecake bars, muffins, or blondies!
Thanks to the salt in the chocolate ganache and the flaky sea salt on top, these brownies have that irresistible salty-sweet taste.
Did I mention that the chocolate ganache is DELICIOUS by the spoon?
And here are some notes about this recipe to get you started!
As I mentioned, since these brownies do not contain any real flour, they are quite delicate and soft so handle them with care! If you want a firmer brownie, pop them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I also love what refrigeration does to the ganache, so you might want to just store them in the fridge.
I used an 8x8-in square pan, but you could also try these in a 9x5 loaf pan and bake them for longer since the brownies will be thicker in texture.
That’s all you need to know about these fudgy, gluten-free Vegan Tahini Brownies, so happy baking, my friends!
What you need to make this recipe
Vegan Tahini Brownies (Fudgy and Gluten-Free)
6 tablespoons aquafaba
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal
2 tablespoons oat flour (certified gluten-free as needed)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (store-bought or homemade recipe below)
1/2 cup cooked honeynut squash*, mashed well into a puree
1/2 cup smooth tahini, at room temperature (for recommended brands, see the notes in the post)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or vegan chocolate chips
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chunks or vegan chocolate chips
2-3 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts (or almonds), chopped (optional)
Coarse sea salt or flaky sea salt
*You can substitute honeynut squash with either (a) canned pumpkin puree or (b) cooked and mashed butternut squash, which is slightly less sweet than honeynut squash, so you may want to add an extra tablespoon of coconut sugar.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
4 teaspoons coconut oil (I prefer the refined variety for a more neutral taste)
1/3 cup coconut cream (from a can of full-fat coconut milk or from a can of coconut cream)
A pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line a 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
Pour 6 tablespoons of the liquid from a can of chickpeas into a small bowl. With an electric mixer, beat the aquafaba on medium speed until it starts to get foamy, 60-90 seconds.
In a large bowl, beat together the honeynut squash puree, tahini, maple syrup, and coconut sugar until combined. Add in the aquafaba and vanilla and beat until just combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir to combine with a wooden spoon until smooth and just combined.
Using a silicone spatula, fold in the 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks.
Add the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread out, smoothing with a spatula. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean and the edges begin to pull slightly away from the pan. Cool the brownies on a wire rack for 20 minutes before adding the ganache.
Make the Chocolate Ganache: Create a double boiler on the stove. Once the water is simmering, add the chopped chocolate and coconut oil, whisking until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Off the heat, stir in the coconut cream and a pinch of sea salt and whisk until well combined. .
Spread the ganache over the brownies and top with the 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chunks, chopped hazelnuts, and flaky sea salt. For a firmer brownie, store the brownies in the refrigerator.