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Healthy Vegan Gluten-free Brownies (So Fudgy!)

The BEST Healthy Vegan Gluten-free Brownies that are so fudgy, oil-free, nut-free and so rich, chocolatey, fudgy, (not cakey) and are incredibly moist. Dairy-free, egg-free and made with only 8 ingredients and all made in a food processor.


Warning: the following post will produce extreme salivation. You have been warned. To me, a brownie that decides to call itself a brownie should require these characteristics: dense, fudgy, chewy and very chocolatey. Cakey brownies, step aside. You are not brownies, you are cake. Accept it and move on. These are the vegan brownies you want in your life.

These healthy vegan brownies are gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, coconut-free and kid-friendly. Bonus that these only have 8 ingredients (+ salt & water)! These oil-free vegan brownies are just as rich and decadent, but much healthier. See all my oil-free baking tips and guide here!

hand grabbing vegan fudge brownie off wood board

These are some of the best brownies I’ve ever had and I’m not exaggerating. It doesn’t matter if they are vegan brownies or gluten-free brownies. What is shocking about that statement is that these are filled with ingredients that you would NEVER expect in a brownie recipe. Ya know, like the expected all-purpose flour, butter, sugar and eggs.

So, what’s the main secret ingredient?

Yes, sunflower kernels make it possible for all of you nut-free folks out there. You can now have your brownies and eat them too.

white measuring cup of sunflower seeds


  • Raw, unsalted sunflower kernels: These provide all the fat that normally oil or butter would provide. Using the sunflower seeds makes these extra fudgy and rich, but healthier.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Baking powder
  • Brown rice flour: This keeps these vegan brownies gluten-free and whole grain.
  • Oat flour: Using oat flour also keeps these gluten-free and provides a bit of chewy brownie texture that we all love.
  • Vanilla
  • Dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips: I use Enjoy Life.


Step 1: Make the brownie batter. Add just the sunflower kernels to a food processor and process into a flour. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for several minutes until completely smooth and no bits of seeds remain.

healthy vegan fudgy brownie batter blended in food processor

Step 2: Transfer the batter to a bowl. Add the chocolate chips and stir.

vegan gluten free brownie batter with chocolate chips in white bowl

Step 3: Bake the brownies. Add the batter to a loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with sticky crumbs, not wet batter and not dry.

baked vegan brownies in loaf pan

Step 4: Cool 45 minutes to an hour before cutting. This is important so they hold together and not fall apart, which cutting them while warm will yield crumbly brownies.

several cut brownies on wooden board overhead view


  • Use a scale: This is so important for baking, especially vegan gluten-free baking. Without eggs, traditional flour or oil, precision is key!
  • Follow the recipe closely: Omitting any step will affect the outcome and texture. It’s imperative to blend the ingredients as instructed until completely smooth. This is how the brownies turn out fudgy and hold together.

stack of brownies on round black plate


UPDATE: I originally wrote this recipe using the Oriya protein powder. However, I NO longer use the protein powder, I only use the flours listed below now. The specific protein powder that I used in the recipe is no longer available and therefore do NOT recommend protein powders in the recipe anymore because so many will yield an unpleasant aftertaste, so please use the flours listed.

If you make this recipe, be sure to leave feedback below and share your pic on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @thevegan8 #thevegan8!

Healthy Vegan Gluten-free Brownies (So Fudgy!)

Brandi Doming

The BEST Healthy Vegan Gluten-free Brownies that are so fudgy, oil-free, nut-free and so rich, chocolatey, fudgy, (not cakey) and are incredibly moist.

Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 35 mins

Total Time 50 mins

Course Dessert

Cuisine American, Gluten-free, Vegan

Servings 8 brownies

Calories 229 kcal


  • 1 cup (140g) raw, unsalted sunflower kernels (Do NOT use roasted or you will get an aftertaste!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (36g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (160g) pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90g) water
  • 3 tablespoons (30g) brown rice flour (Or sub with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (16g) oat flour (or sub with 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour if you can’t tolerate oats)
  • 1/4 heaping cup (60g) + extra on top dairy-free chocolate chips


  • This makes a small amount in a loaf pan, so if you want a larger batch, double the recipe and use an 8×8 pan. If you want to use all regular all-purpose flour, then leave out the oat flour and brown rice flour and just use 1/4 cup (32g) all-purpose flour in place of both. The texture was slightly more cakey/puffy with the all-purpose flour. I preferred the more dense/fudgy texture using the gluten-free flours, but both are delicious .


  • As always, I recommend highly to use a scale to prevent room for error. You don’t need cups or to compare the weights to cups, just simply follow the weights listed, as this is exactly how the recipes are tested and made. Make sure to zero out before adding each ingredient.
  • I use this scale.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and spray WELL a 9X5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. I tried some with parchment paper and didn’t like how they stuck to the paper and were more fragile.

  • Add the sunflower kernels to a food processor and process for 30 seconds until a flour is formed. Add the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and process again until just mixed.

  • Add the syrup, vanilla and water and process for 3 minutes or so until completely smooth. Scrape the sides down and process for a few more seconds. It should be COMPLETELY SMOOTH and no chunks of sunflower kernels left before adding the flours next. If it’s not all mixed and smooth, you will end up with dry crumbly brownies since the fat from the sunflower kernels is what makes these so fudgy!

  • Add the brown rice flour and oat flour (or all-purpose flour) and process again until it is all blended and thick like a smooth nut-butter consistency. Add the batter to a bowl and make sure to scrape out all of that chocolatey goodness. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly to the corners. Place extra chocolate chips on top.

  • Bake for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven. I would suggest checking yours at 35 minutes. I took mine out closer to 40 minutes. Here is the thing, these will not look done based on the top of the brownies, but will form that shiny firm top AFTER they are out of the oven cooling. Do not check for a clean toothpick either, it will not come out clean. It shouldn’t be wet batter, but more of a sticky batter. The edges should be firm and have slightly pulled away from the pan. If you are doing a version with all of all-purpose flour in place of the oat and brown rice flours, then they were done at 35 minutes and just slightly more cakey/puffy.

  • Cool for 45 minutes to an hour, with no exception. They will fall apart if you try to remove them earlier. Carefully cut them with a smooth sharp knife. Gently remove the first brownie and then the others by sliding a spatula underneath. Then they will firm up considerably even more as they sit on a plate. They will be firm, moist and super fudgy. Store at room temperature wrapped tightly in foil.


Serving: 1brownieCalories: 229kcalCarbohydrates: 29.2gProtein: 5.3gFat: 12.1gSodium: 78mgFiber: 4.3gSugar: 16.1g

Keyword gluten-free vegan brownies, healthy vegan brownies, oil free vegan brownies, vegan fugy brownies, vegan gluten free brownies

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