Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt (refined sugar free)

These Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt are every bit as decadent and amazing as they sound.  Each bite is so rich and fudgy you will be in total chocolate nirvana.  These nutritious brownies are loaded with my favorite vegetable to sneak in everything: sweet potatoes.  The sweet potato helps make them super moist and fudgy!  The olive oil provides richness and the almond butter swirl provides the perfect nutty contrast that these chocolate brownies deserve.  The flaky sea salt brings out all the incredible flavors and makes everything pop.  Best of all, this recipe couldn’t be easier to make.  The hardest part is waiting!

Vegan Gluten Free Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl

Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt

I really can’t think of anything better than fudgy chocolate combined with creamy almond butter and flaky sea salt.  Does life get any better than that moment when those three amazing things combine in your mouth?  For that first sacred bite I close my eyes and just revel in the amazing creation before me and experience it on every level.  The texture… the smell… the flavors.  It even looks so pretty with the swirls that it makes you stop and wonder at its beauty.  I shall call you: Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownie with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt because that is exactly what you are and you deserve to be described in full and fully appreciated.   

I don’t even know where to begin with this recipe.  It might be my favorite ever.  And I’m just so proud of how nutritious it is despite how beyond decadent it tastes.  They are also completely dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free.  

Vegan Gluten Free Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl

Sweet Potatoes in My Brownies?  Please Explain Yourself…

The base of the brownies is made extra fudgy by the creamy sweet potato puree.  I typically cook the sweet potatoes in advance in my Instant Pot but you can also use your oven.  I like to cook a couple sweet potatoes at once to use for recipes like this, my Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese and my Sweet Potato Cupcakes.  I love sneaking sweet potatoes into recipes and chocolate baked goods are one of the best ways to leverage them.  Sweet potatoes not only make them ultra fudgy but it helps to naturally sweeten the brownies as well.  You won’t detect the sweet potatoes at all.

Vegan Gluten Free Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt

Next, let’s talk about the olive oil. 

While you could use vegan butter or a neutral oil like avocado oil, I prefer the fruity, complex flavor of olive oil in this recipe.  It just takes the brownies up a notch or two on the gourmet factor.  You won’t regret it.  Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil here. 

Vegan Gluten Free Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt

That Almond Butter Swirl Tho

I know, I know.  It is brilliant, beautiful and EASY.  It is a no brainer and the fudgy brownie just begs for something creamy and nutty atop it.  I sweetened the almond butter with pure maple syrup and a bit of salt to bring out the flavors.  It is the best compliment to the chocolate and I wouldn’t skip it!  My all time favorite almond butter is the raw almond butter from Trader Joe’s – and it is priced so reasonably of course.  I highly recommend using a brand new jar for this recipe and stir well with a spoon to fully incorporate the oils.  

Flaky Sea Salt is My New Best Friend

Well, not really new.  You have seen me use it in recipes before and I love to sprinkle it on roasted veggies, salads and baked goods.  Here, it works SO well with the rich chocolate and nutty almond butter flavors.  It makes every bite a bit more bold and indulgent.  It just gives the brownies an extra punch.  Plus, it is pretty and makes you look so fancy.

Sweet Potato Brownies

What you need to make Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt

The brownies are made from nine wholesome ingredients: 

  • old fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten-free if desired)
  • unsweetened cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
  • baking powder
  • fine salt
  • sweet potato
  • raw creamy unsalted almond butter
  • pure maple syrup
  • olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • vanilla extract

And the almond butter swirl is made from just three simple ingredients (all of which are used above in the brownies):

  • raw creamy unsalted almond butter
  • pure maple syrup
  • fine salt

Altogether you only need nine ingredients to make these brownies (including the baking powder and salt)!  And it doesn’t require any strange ingredients.  I typically keep everything on this list in my pantry which means these brownies are easy to whip up without much planning.  

Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies Vegan

What are the health benefits of sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to incorporate into recipes whenever possible.  Their vibrant orange color lets you know you are getting all that immune-boosting vitamin A (also helpful for vision and bone health).  They also offer dietary fiber and potassium and are high in vitamin C.  They are convenient and versatile and somehow serve as both a comfort food and health food all at once.

Compared to russet potatoes, sweet potatoes have similar calorie content but offer more fiber.  Plus, one medium sweet potato offers almost 700% of your daily recommend intake of vitamin A, while russets offer none.  Sweet potatoes offer almost double the amount of vitamin C as compared to russets.

Brownie Stack 

What are the health benefits of unsweetened cocoa powder?

Unsweetened cocoa powder is used in this recipe and is made by roasting and grinding cocoa beans. Years of nutrition research has shown that chocolate may provide health benefits from antioxidants called flavanols found in the cocoa solids (as opposed to the cocoa butter). When consumed in large amounts, studies have shown that flavanols in chocolate may:

  • Lower high blood pressure and decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol leading to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Promote lung health and protect against asthma
  • Decrease the risk of diabetes and several types of cancer
  • Benefit the brain and preserve cognitive abilities to lower the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease
  • Improve mood and feelings of pleasure
  • Benefit the vascular system by reducing the risk of blood clots and increasing blood flow in arteries and the heart

Many recipes call for Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is cocoa powder that has been alkalized to remove the bitter taste. This actually substantially reduces the flavanols (about 65% of the flavanol content is lost).

Like most foods, eating the least processed and most pure form is the healthiest.  Flavanols provide a dark pigment, so visually you can look for a darker color in your cocoa powder for more nutritional benefits. 

Almond Butter Swirl Brownies

Looking for more delicious vegan and gluten-free chocolate recipes?

There is no shortage of chocolate recipes on this blog.  I truly am a chocoholic at heart and that will likely never change.  Here are some of my favorite chocolate recipes that are ALL dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, soy-free and peanut-free.  Most are refined sugar-free too!

  1. Chocolate Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting
  2. Baked Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Ganache Glaze
  3. No-Cook, No-Avocado Vegan Chocolate Pudding 
  4. The Best Vegan and Refined Sugar-Free Hot Chocolate (made in your blender!)
  5. Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles
  6. Classic Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  7. Protein-Packed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  8. Homemade Vegan Chocolate 
  9. No-Bake Brown Rice Crispy Treats with Dark Chocolate Shell and Flaked Sea Salt
  10. Creamy Chocolate Fudgesicles
  11. Healthy Chocolate Smoothie
  12. Healthy Chocolate Mocha Smoothie
  13. Instant Vegan Chocolate Mousse (made with avocado)
  14. Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Muffins 
  15. Vegan and Gluten-Free Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now, let’s get to making these amazing Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt!

Vegan Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl

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Vegan Gluten Free Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl

Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt


  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45
  • Yield: 16 1x

Description

These Vegan and Gluten-Free Olive Oil Sweet Potato Brownies with Almond Butter Swirl and Flaky Sea Salt are every bit as decadent and amazing as they sound.  Each bite is so rich and fudgy you will be in total chocolate nirvana.  These nutritious brownies are loaded with my favorite vegetable to sneak in everything: sweet potatoes.  The sweet potato helps make them super moist and fudgy!  The olive oil provides richness and the almond butter swirl provides the perfect nutty contrast that these chocolate brownies deserve.  The flaky sea salt brings out all the incredible flavors and makes everything pop.  Best of all, this recipe couldn’t be easier to make.  The hardest part is waiting!


Scale

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 1 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free if desired)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1 packed cup cooked sweet potato (no skin)
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw creamy unsalted almond butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the almond butter swirl

  • 1/2 cup raw creamy unsalted almond butter (runny, new jar if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Garnish


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking pan with unrefined coconut oil using a silicone brush.  Alternatively you can line the baking pan with parchment paper or grease with olive oil or avocado oil.  Set prepared pan aside.
  2. In a high-speed blender process the oats until a fine flour forms (about 60 seconds on high speed).    This creates your oat flour.  The blender should be completely dry for this to work well.  Transfer this homemade oat flour to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the other dry ingredients (cocoa powder, salt and baking powder).
  3. To the blender add all the wet ingredients: cooked sweet potato (without skin), maple syrup, almond butter, olive oil and vanilla.  Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until well combined and transfer to the mixing bowl.  Stir or use a hand mixer to combine the dry and wet ingredients until a thick and fudgy batter forms.  Transfer to the prepared baking pan and use a silicone spatula to spread out into an even layer.
  4. Next, prepare the almond butter swirl.  I suggest using a new jar of almond butter that is at room temperature.  Make sure the almond butter oils on top are stirred in well and fully incorporated.  Use a one-cup glass measuring cup and a spoon to combine the almond butter, maple syrup and salt.
  5. To the brownie pan, add dots of the almond butter mixture and swirl with a chopstick, toothpick or knife.
  6. Bake on the center rack for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 45 minutes.  Slice into 16 squares (the brownies are super fudgy so you may need to wipe your knife clean between cuts.  Serve warm and garnish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt overtop the brownies.
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2 days. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Notes

*You can substitute cacao powder for added health benefits, however I prefer the flavor of unsweetened cocoa powder.  I suggest using a high quality dark cocoa powder – organic and fair-trade if possible.  I love Whole Foods 365 organic unsweetened cocoa powder the best which also happens to be fair trade.  The color is super rich and dark so you can tell it is high quality.  If your cocoa powder is light brown the brownies will not turn out as amazing.  

To cook the sweet potato in an Instant Pot:

1. Add sweet potatoes to the steamer basket in your pressure cooker. I layer a couple at once while I’m doing it but you will only need two large sweet potatoes for this recipe. Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker and secure lid. Valve should be on sealed. Cook on manual high pressure for 20 minutes.

2. When cooking is complete, manual release and use tongs to transfer the sweet potatoes to a cutting board. Slice through each lengthwise with a knife. The knife should slide through very easily. If not, return to the pressure cooker to cook for another minute or two.  Cooking time will vary based on the size of your potato.

3. Allow the sweet potatoes to cool until you can safely handle them. Peel the skin off and discard.

You could also roast the sweet potatoes in an oven but it could take 40-60 minutes to fully cook. Here are the instructions for that method:

1. Place a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven.

2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the sweet potato with a fork on one side then place directly on the middle rack (not on a baking sheet and not wrapped in foil).

3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until tender and the skin is thin and toasty. Baking time will vary based on the diameter of your sweet potato. You may need up to 60 minutes for a large sweet potato. The bottom baking sheet will catch any drippings for an easy cleanup.

4. Remove from oven and pierce with a knife to ensure it is fully cooked. Allow the potatoes to cool for 5-10 minutes for easier handling. Slice the potatoes in half and split the flesh down the center. Remove the skin.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan and gluten-free sweet potato brownies with almond butter swirl

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