GLUTEN-FREE QUINOA CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
Marie Antoinette was famously quoted saying in 1789, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or in a rough English translation “Let them eat cake.”
There is nothing like baking a homemade cake and enjoying it with your family or friends, especially when it’s a healthy version that is better for your body, much tastier than store bought and guilt free.
When we think of healthy eating, most of us will take cakes, sweets and processed foods out of our diet, because let’s face it they sure taste great, but they are loaded with sugar, additives and preservatives that harm our body at a cellular level and cause dis-ease. However, there is nothing wrong with a sweet treat every now and again if we take the unhealthy ingredients out and put the nutrient dense, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory superfoods in.
This week I found a fantastic naturally gluten-free recipe from The Hearty Soul, which I had to try. I tweaked the ingredients slightly to suit what was available in my larder and as a chocolate lover it did not disappoint.
This recipe is packed full of goodness from superfoods such as quinoa, dark chocolate, dates, coconut oil and more. Let’s talk about the individual benefits of these ingredients:
Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fibre, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
Dark Chocolate (70% to 100%) is loaded with nutrients, soluble fibre and minerals. It is also a powerful source of antioxidants, which may help lower the risk of heart disease. ORAC stands for “oxygen radical absorbance capacity” it is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest-scoring foods that have been tested. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols and catechins, among others.
Medjool Dates are referred to as “nature’s power fruit” and for a good reason. Not only are they packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, they’ve also been proven to decrease cholesterol, boost bone health, prevent and relieve constipation, reduce triglyceride levels and if that’s not enough they are a rich source of beneficial phytochemicals, a natural energy booster and an alternative sweetener.
Virgin Coconut Oil is the least refined and the most beneficial oil. It’s made with copra, or dried coconut meat, that’s removed from the shell and pressed to extract the natural oils. Coconut oil works to reduce inflammation naturally and this should be everyone’s biggest health goal. There are over 1,500 studies proving its benefits such as naturally treating Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, UTI’s, kidney infections, gum disease, tooth decay, it protects the liver, reduces inflammation in arthritis, boost the immune system with its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties…the list is literally endless when it comes to this superfood.
Chia Seeds, despite their small size, are full of important nutrients. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fibre, iron, and calcium. Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that protects against a heart attack or stroke.
Coconut Sugar contains potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are all essential for regulating your body’s water content as well as many heart, nerve and muscle functions. It has nearly 400 times more potassium than regular sugar. It also contains iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, inulin (a type of fibre that helps to keep your gut healthy and balances blood sugar) and nitrogen which supports the cardiovascular system. Made from dehydrated coconut sap, it’s considered a raw food—this means that it retains all the rich antioxidants.
The most significant benefit of the spice Vanilla Extract is its very high levels of antioxidants, which help protect your body against free radicals and toxins. They help repair your body at the molecular level and can reduce the effects of aging, promoting more vibrant skin.
So, not matter what way you decide to make this cake (brownie, muffin or divided into a double layered cake), know that you can enjoy all the health benefits that go with it.
2 cups of organic quinoa (cooked)
1/3 cup of almond milk or coconut milk
4 organic eggs (use organic chia seed gel for the vegan option -1 tablespoon of soaked chia seed replaces 1 egg.)
½ cup of raw organic extra virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
½ cup of organic cacao powder
1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of organic Himalayan salt
1: Preheat oven to 350F or 176 °C.
2: Grease and line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper for brownies or two 9-inch cake pans for a 2 layer cake.
3: Melt coconut oil.
4: Put the pre-cooked quinoa, plant based milk, coconut oil, eggs or chia seed gel and vanilla extract into a food processor, pulse to combine and then process until smooth.
4: Add the coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the food processor and pulse to combine well.
5: Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick poked in the centre comes out clean. Cooking time can vary from oven to oven.
6: Let the brownies cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. This is delicate to flip, so place a plate over the pan and then flip both together.
I like to alternate my toppings on my homemade treats, so on this occasion I went with the chocolate sauce, but you can use homemade chocolate sauce or frosting. Either way below is the natural ingredients for both options.
Chocolate Sauce Ingredients:
½ cup of raw organic extra virgin coconut oil
¾ cup of organic cacao powder
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix or use a high-speed blender and process till smooth.
Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
16 organic medjool dates (pitted)
Slightly warm water to cover dates in the bowl
¼ cup of water
¾ cup of unsweetened organic coconut flakes
½ cup of organic pecans
1: Put the 16 pitted dates in a bowl with enough slightly warm water to just cover them and soak for 20-30 minutes to soften.
2: Drain the water from the dates and keep a ¼ cup of this water for processing.
3: Once the dates have softened, place them in a food processor and add ¼ cup of the reserved date water.
4: Process till smooth and creamy
5: Add the pecans and coconut flakes, mix until blended to a smooth ganache frosting.
Remember…YOUR PATH TO HEALTH STARTS HERE…a small change today can mean a big impact tomorrow. You can find the ingredients for this recipe by clicking on the direct links above.
Healthy Options Market...helping you begin your journey to a healthier new you, with the best superfoods and health products that Mexico has to offer.
The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Healthy Options Market. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright. They are solely intended to spark discussion and the thought process behind issues pertaining to general health, wellness and are for sharing knowledge and information on research only. They are not medical advice. Always seek the advice of a Professional Healthcare Provider when making any decisions regarding your health.