Healthy banana brownies that are gluten free, naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and topped with a decadent chocolate drizzle and fleur de sel.
If you’re ever craving a rich chocolatey brownie but want it to be gluten free and full of healthier ingredients, this is the one for you my friend. These banana brownies are moist, completely flourless, low in sugar, and easy to make. They’re great on their own or you can top with some coconut banana nice cream for the ultimate healthy dessert experience.
Between these and cocoa roasted almonds, it’s nice having some healthier options for satisfying that all powerful chocolate lust. Using almond flour means they aren’t low calorie, but it’s all about what you’re getting out of those calories. This banana brownie recipe is full of the good stuff!
The ingredients are overall pretty simple but there are a few things to point out to help you make the recipe perfectly. Here’s what you’ll need and some comments on substitutions and specifics.
- over ripe bananas – It took me about 3 bananas to get the needed amount but if you’re using previously frozen bananas you might need an extra one since you loose a little in freezing them
- eggs – you can sub in an egg replacer like Just Egg or flax eggs if you need to
- vanilla extract – use a good quality one, but that goes without saying
- melted coconut oil – you can sub for another oil type like avocado or vegetable oil if you prefer
- coconut sugar – I used coconut sugar but you can use regular brown sugar if you’d like. Also, if you’d like the brownies to be sweeter, you can increase the amount to 1/2 cup to make sweeter if you’d like. I even tried making it without any sugar and it was a little bit sweet from the banana, just not quite sweet enough.
- blanched almond flour – sometimes it is labeled almond meal and the kind you want will typically say “super fine” or “extra fine.” Using regular almond flour that isn’t blanched or super fine is okay but will make the texture grittier.
- coconut flour – coconut flour is essential to the texture in flourless banana brownies. It also keeps the banana brownies from being too crumbly
- unsweetened cocoa powder – use a good quality cocoa powder. Please don’t confuse this with the cocoa alternative, cacao powder which is the raw unprocessed version. If using cacao, you will need to use much less the end product will be different.
- baking soda – this helps with the texture
- baking powder – baking powder helps make the brownies thicker but if you’re strictly paleo, you can certainly leave this out.
- teaspoon salt – I use himalayan salt (the pink stuff) but its fine to sub for sea or table salt here.
- semi-sweet chocolate chips – I used regular semi-sweet Ghirardelli chips like the ones I linked to. If you’d like to use a vegan and/or paleo chocolate, Enjoy Life and Hu are great options. Hu are unsweetened so if you choose that brand, understand that the final recipe will be less sweet overall.
Now let’s talk about that chocolate drizzle and salt sprinkle. These are the finishing touch that brings it all together and really completes the recipe in my opinion. Here’s what you’ll need:
- semi-sweet chocolate chips – again, I used regular but Enjoy Life and Hu make paleo and vegan chocolate chips too
- coconut oil – I really like using coconut oil here but it you want to sub with another oil type, use one without a strong flavor like avocado or vegetable oil
- fleur de sel – a touch of salt brings out the sweetness in everything else. I’d recommend not subbing for another salt type but if you must, make sure to use less than the recipe calls for
The base of this banana brownie recipe consists of almond flour and coconut flour making it gluten free and adding protein and fiber to the recipe. There are other dietary swaps you can easily do as well. This recipe is easy to tweak to be dairy free, paleo and vegan but you’ll need some other ingredients (notes on this in FAQ).
How to make healthy banana brownies
The overall process of making the brownies is not hard but does take a few steps. Luckily, if you plan ahead, you can use the same bowl. First you’ll preheat the oven and pre-line your pan with parchment paper but once those basics are out of the way, here are the remaining steps.
- After turning the oven to 350°, measure out your banana! There can be a huge difference between banana sizes and using too much or too little can significantly affect your end results.
- Beat banana, eggs and vanilla together and then add melted coconut oil and coconut sugar. Add dry ingredients and then mix it up.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- If you haven’t already, you’re going to need to line your pan with parchment paper. Yes, you can just grease the pan really well if you don’t have parchment paper but this step really helps with easy removal and keeps the brownies from sticking.
- Easy stuff now – just put the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes!
- Pull it out and let it cool.
- Make the chocolate drizzle in a glass container in the microwave for 30 seconds. Do extra 10 second pulses until chocolate is melted, stirring in between each.
- Drizzle the chocolate in a zig zag pattern, sprinkle the fleur de sel and cut ’em up!
It’s all about that drizzle, ammiright or ammiright?
I’d like to confidently say you can skip the drizzle but in a healthy banana brownie recipe like this, the drizzle really makes it. It adds that extra sweetness and decadence that a healthy dessert needs in my opinion. If you’re ok with it being less sweet, you can of course leave it off but frankly, it just won’t be quite as good.
There is no denying brownies are best served warm, but when a chocolate drizzle or frosting is involved, you need to be patient. You need to wait to drizzle until they’ve cooled down or most of the chocolate will run right over the edge and not harden on top like you want.
That being said, you could certainly microwave for 10-15 seconds to get that fresh from the oven feel. They are great on their own as a treat or dessert but they’re healthy enough for an afternoon snack too.
My favorite way to eat them though is ala mode, which is just a fancy way of saying “with ice cream on top.” To avoid the excess dairy, we used banana coconut nice cream one night for a fun twist.
Storing healthy banana brownies
Once they’ve fully cooled, store the brownies in a tightly sealed container on the counter for up to 3 days. Since they’re made with bananas, the recipe doesn’t keep for most than a few days. To extend their life, you can freeze the brownies for a sweet treat further down the road.
Freezing flourless brownies
To freeze the brownies for later use, first, wrap each brownie tightly in parchment paper to prevent freezer burn. Second, store these in either a plastic freezer bag or a reusable freezer bag.
Defrost on the counter for about an hour or in the refrigerator. You can also use the defrost setting on your microwave but be careful and do so in short intervals. Over heating will dry them out and affect the texture.
To easily convert this recipe to be paleo replace the chocolate with either unsweetened chocolate like Hu (paleo, sugar free and dairy free) or another brand of chocolate sweetened with paleo compliant sweetener.
If using unsweetened chocolate like Hu, you will most likely want to increase the coconut sugar to 1/2 or even 2/3 cup to help make up for the sweetness the chocolate chips add.
Also, if following a strict paleo diet, leave out the baking powder or replace with paleo compliant baking powder.
To make the recipe vegan, replace the chocolate with a dairy free option like Enjoy Life (vegan). You also need to replace the eggs with either flax eggs or an egg replacement like Just Egg or one of the powdered baking egg replacements.
To line a baking pan with parchment paper, cut a piece of parchment paper that is 3-4 inches larger than the pan. Press the sheet down firmly into the pan and run your finger along the base along each edge to crease the parchment so it stays. Fold the edges back over the top rim of the pan as best as you can.
It won’t be perfect but will keep the brownies from sticking! You can use metal clips along the top rim to secure the parchment paper to the pan if you have them but don’t use plastic or they will melt in the oven.
As long as they aren’t moldy, the browner they are the more sweet the brownies will be. This pictures shows the minimum ripeness you need but browner the better!
To ripen bananas quickly, pre-heat your oven to 300°F (150° C) and bake in a pan for 30 to 40 minutes until the bananas reach a dark brown almost black color and indent when you push into them with your finger.
Other healthy gluten free desserts
If almond flour banana brownies aren’t your jam or if you loved the recipe and want more healthy gluten free desserts, I’ve got a few chocolate favorites to share.
We love these avocado chocolate truffles! They’re so deliciously chocolatey and creamy from that avocado but simple to make and taste like the real deal! These chocolate peanut butter cupcakes are another fun one. They’re made with oat flour and a fun peanut butter coconut cream frosting.
- 1 1/4 cup mashed over ripe banana about 3 large average sized over ripe bananas or 4 frozen and thawed
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar can add up to 1/2 cup to make sweeter or reduce to make less sweet
- 3/4 cup blanched almond flour look for "super fine" or "extra fine" for best texture
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).
- Line an 8×8" pan with parchment paper and set aside.*
- In a large mixing bowl add banana, eggs and vanilla. Blend using an electric mixer or wire whisk. Add melted coconut oil and coconut sugar and beat again to combine.
- Add almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and either beat until just blended in with a hand mixer or stir in by hand.
- Stir in chocolate chips* and spread batter into parchment lined baking pan until evenly distributed (batter will be very thick).
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out without wet batter on it (toothpick may be tinged brown and might have crumbs or melted chocolate on it but shouldn't have batter stuck to it).
- Allow to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes until brownies are cool. While brownies are cooling, place 3 tablespoons chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon coconut oil into a microwave safe container for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for additional 10 second intervals if needed until chocolate is melted. Alternatively, chocolate can be melted in a small pan on the stovetop on low heat.
- Use a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over brownies in a zig zag pattern. Once chocolate has dried, cut into 9 brownies and serve. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.
- To line a baking pan with parchment paper, cut a piece of parchment paper that is 3-4 inches larger than the pan. Press the sheet down firmly into the pan and run your finger along the base along each edge to crease the parchment so it stays. Fold the edges back over the top rim of the pan as best as you can. It won’t be perfect but will keep the brownies from sticking! You can use metal clips along the top rim to secure the parchment paper to the pan if you have them but don’t use plastic or they will melt in the oven.
- To make vegan, use flax eggs or an egg replacement like Just Egg or flax eggs and replace standard chocolate chips with dairy free such as Enjoy Life.
- To make paleo replace chocolate chips with naturally sweetened or unsweetened chocolate pieces like Hu brand. If using unsweetened chocolate, you may want to increase the coconut sugar to 1/2 cup or even 2/3 cups. Also leave out the baking powder or replace with paleo compliant baking powder.
- Store fully cooled brownies in a tightly sealed container on the counter for up to 3 days.
- To freeze for later use, wrap each brownie tightly in parchment paper and store in either a plastic freezer bag or a reusable freezer bag. Defrost on the counter for about an hour or in the refrigerator. You can also defrost using the defrost setting on your microwave but be careful and do so in short intervals since over heating will dry them out.