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Chocolate Workout Brownies

These secretly-good-for-you chocolate workout brownies are high in protein, gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, and they can even have NO added sugar.

workout brownies

If you are one of those people who love healthy desserts and how amazing they make you feel, be sure to put these brownies on your “must try” list.

Made up of just six plant-based ingredients, without any refined sugars or flour, the clean eating protein brownies are super quick and easy to prepare.

Also Try These Keto Muffins – Just 6 Ingredients

fitness brownies

If you’re bored of energy bars, this could be your new favorite workout recipe.

They are great for:

Runners

Dancers

Weight Lifters

Yogis

Cyclists

Swimmers

Sports Players

And basically everyone else who loves chocolate and wants to incorporate it into a healthy, on-the-go snack.

Girl With Vegan Desserts Chocolate

Brownies with superpowers.

It’s like grabbing a post-workout energy bar, but with cleaner ingredients than most packaged energy bars – no soy protein isolate, sucralose, or high fructose corn syrup.

I know it’s completely frustrating when a healthy-tasting recipe claims to taste exactly like a real hot fudge brownie… so I will tell you right now:

These are not supposed to be like a decadent dessert. Just as you wouldn’t serve a tray of Luna Bars at a fancy dinner party or bake sale, I wouldn’t recommend the workout brownies for a party either.

They are definitely more of a healthy snack or dessert meant for people who enjoy the wholesome taste and nutrition of healthy desserts.

If you are one of those people, hopefully you will love this recipe as much as I do!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

protein brownies

If you want a good protein powder recommendation to use in the recipe, I really like the plant-based protein by ALOHA.

All of their products are organic and free of soy, gluten, dairy, and artificial ingredients, and they use a combination of pumpkin seed, hemp seed, and pea protein, with 18g protein per serving. I was also happy to see the protein powder doesn’t contain stevia, so you don’t get that weird aftertaste many other chocolate protein powders seem to have.

**Note: The link to their website is not an affiliate code. I don’t make any commission on sales of their products. I love both the taste and the company’s philosophy, and this was the brand of protein powder I used for the workout brownies.

So if you want to make the recipe exactly like I did, I know using ALOHA protein powder yields good results.

(Watch The Recipe Video Above)

Brownie Frosting Options:

Chocolate Frosting Shots

Healthy Nutella

Basic Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Or, if you want to keep these brownies super healthy like I did, you can make your own chocolate “frosting” by simply combining cocoa powder with an avocado and a little sweetener of choice – here’s how to make avocado chocolate frosting.

Secretly Healthy Chocolate Workout Brownies

You can also top them with Coconut Ice Cream and fresh berries, for a healthy post-workout fudge brownie sundae!

Pin it now to save for laterPin Recipe

Chocolate Workout Brownies

These secretly-good-for-you chocolate workout brownies are high in protein, oil-free, and vegan!
4.93/5 (30)
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 9 – 12 brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup overripe mashed banana or applesauce (for low carb, try these Keto Brownies)
  • 2/3 cup nut butter of choice, or allergy-friendly sub
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp chocolate protein powder (such as this one), OR sub additional cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave, OR additional banana
  • optional mini chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, etc.

Instructions

  • Notes: If using applesauce or unsweetened protein powder, or if planning to eat the brownies unfrosted, I recommend including the sweetener of choice. Using peanut butter gives a peanut-butter flavor, while almond or cashew butter taste more neutral. Sunbutter or pumpkin seed butter can be used for allergy-friendly brownies. You can use regular unsweetened cocoa or a combination of regular and dutch.
    Preheat oven to 325 F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. If using natural nut butter, gently warm it until it is easily stir-able. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir until completely smooth, and spread into the prepared pan (see video). Bake on the center rack 20-25 minutes (20 for super fudgy brownies) – they will be undercooked when you take them out. Let cool, then loosely cover with a paper towel and place in the fridge overnight, during which time they will firm up without losing their fudginess. They are also much sweeter the next day! Frosting options are listed earlier in this post, and you need about 1/2 cup total. Once cut, the brownies can either be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. You can even eat them straight out of the freezer if you wish! As mentioned, they are more of a healthy snack than a decadent dessert – if you enjoy healthy desserts and snacks, hopefully you will love these!
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

The recipe was adapted from my Almond Butter Brownies.
 
 

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4.93/5 (30)

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Published on June 8, 2017

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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131 Comments

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  1. Diane says

    Katie these are my kinda workout snacks! Could I sub dates for the sugar? If so, how many do you think I’d need to use?

    • Jason Sanford says

      You can definitely experiment, and please be sure to report back if you do. Or just use the extra-banana option if you want it to be free of added sugars.

  2. Hannah says

    These look SO good! Thanks for the protein powder recommendation too, I love that it doesn’t contain stevia. I try to avoid any artificial sweeteners or stevia as much as possible so finding a protein powder without them can be tough.

  3. Pam says

    These need to be made ASAP! One question, do you think they’d still taste good if I used their mixed berry or banana flavors instead of the chocolate? I’d like to try the brand you used but don’t want to buy a whole tub of chocolate because what I normally use protein powder for is fruit smoothies. So chocolate wouldn’t really work there and I’m afraid it would go to waste.

    • Jason Sanford says

      I bet they would. I’ve had the ALOHA banana protein powder and it is delicious in smoothies so it would probably work well for you there too.

      Jason (media relations)

    • Jessica says

      My local health food store has individual packets of protein powder for $2-$3, I’m going to do that since I usually use berry or vanilla myself. 🙂

  4. Alexis says

    LOVE this post!! I appreciate how up front and thorough it is, plus I’m super stoked to try these! Question for you Katie: Do you ever use raw cacao powder? Or strictly cocoa? Just wondering what your thoughts are on the subject.

  5. dana says

    KATIE! I made the workout brownies as soon as I saw them in my email this morning and they are PHENOMENAL! They have wildly exceeded my expectations. I know you said they taste good “for a healthy brownie” and not for a decadent dessert but I 100% do not agree. I could easily serve these to people who I know aren’t the energy bar or healthy foodie type and I’m pretty certain they would still like these. The brownies are thick and fudgey and so chocolaty, and I haven’t even let them sit overnight yet!

    Thank you for all that you do and your creative genius. I love all the recipes I have tried from your site.

  6. Becky says

    Wow, these look and sound fantastic. They might even inspire me to work out. Seriously, I am going to make them tomorrow.

  7. Elisabeth says

    Hi Katie!

    These look so yummy and easy! Can I omit the protein powder or would I have to sub something else for it?

    Thanks!

    • Jason Sanford says

      You can probably sub just extra cocoa powder and maybe a small amount of extra sugar or sweetener. Be sure to report back if you try!

  8. Claire says

    These were really good! I wasn’t expecting them to taste quite so dessert-like, and I’m definitely not complaining. You said to let them sit overnight but I didn’t want to wait that long. So I just cooked them a little longer until they were no longer underdone. A third of the pan is already gone!

  9. Jenn says

    The photos make me want to grab them off the screen. I appreciate how you revealed that they are not meant as something people not used to healthy desserts would probably like. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a recipe from a blog or from Pinterest that claims to taste like one thing and then you’re left disappointed when it doesn’t. But I am the girl who eats Quest Bars as dessert so pretty sure I will love these!

    I also am happy for the protein powder rec. I’m not really big on buying things online though. Do they sell it in stores at all, like at Whole Foods?

    • Jason Sanford says

      I’ve seen some of their products even at stores like Giant! If you don’t see their protein powder at your Whole Foods or grocery store, just ask for it at the customer service desk and they might be able to get it into stock.

      • Karen says

        I actually was at Target today and saw their protein powder in the vitamin/pharmacy section! I’m sure it’s been there before. I go to Target a lot but I probably passed it over. This time the protein powder stuck out to me because I had just read the recipe email a day before from Katie and bookmarked it. So of course I had to buy a container, because it was fate, right? 😉
        I haven’t tried the protein powder yet but am planning on making the brownies with it this weekend.

  10. Sarah says

    Love this idea! Question: Can I sub unflavored protein powder? Would I need to add additional ingredients? Thanks!

    • Jason Sanford says

      You will probably just need to add a little sugar or sweetener of choice. Also maybe a little extra cocoa powder. If you experiment, be sure to report back!

  11. Karen says

    I saw ALOHA protein powder at Target today so I considered it to be a sign and bought some to try in the brownies. Pretty excited about this one 🙂

  12. Carrie says

    This might be a strange question and I know it might be annoying to be asked about substitutions, but I’ve seen more and more recipes using avacados. Do you think those could be subbed for the banana or applesauce, or would they not be moist enough?

    • Jason Sanford says

      You can definitely experiment, and be sure to report back if you do, for other readers. You might have to add some extra sweetener.

  13. Ashley Barganier says

    These look great! I am about to try them with pumpkin because I have an open can that I need to use. I’ll let you know how they turn out!

  14. Elle says

    Awesome idea using the protein powder, on my must try list! I’ll be making these in bulk and I’ll freeze them to add to smoothies for a nutrient (and flavour!) boost 🙂

  15. Sam says

    Dear Katie,
    I wanted to write to you and thank you for the protein powder recommendation. I do not use stevia, and finding a vegan protein powder without stevia that actually tastes good has been near impossible. Vega and Garden Of Life both have stevia, and I don’t like the taste of Sunwarrior at all. But I read your post and have always liked your recipes so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try one more. And I am so glad I did!
    I haven’t made these brownies and probably won’t to be honest, because I prefer my protein powder in the form of smoothies, but I wanted to thank you for the recommendation because you have no idea how happy I am to have finally found one that I like!

  16. Georgia Thompson says

    These are such a great 3.30pm work break snack! I made a half batch yesterday – just to try them – and I wish I made a double batch! Great flavou and texture. I made with my cookies and cream protein powder as I don’t have chocolate flavour and still works a treat. Plus I used 1/2 peanut butter and 1/2 tahini paste so it wasn’t too peanutty flavour. I topped with your healthy chocolate frosting too… YUM! Would recommend.

  17. Kristen says

    Delicious brownies! I made my brownies with the banana and sunflower butter option. I intended on making them for after workout later in the day…but ended up eating a brownie for breakfast. 😀 Thanks for the recipe!!

  18. Cait says

    I’m gonna need to make these very soon… too much starch makes me sick, so I’m having to cut wheat, rice and other ingredients high in starch out of my diet until my body can handle them again… but I do love me a brownie (or two) very much. Your bean brownies would probably work well for me too, now that I think about it. Can’t wait to try!

  19. jennea says

    Can anything be substituted in place of the nut butters?
    I’m not a fan of the flavors of many of these… especially the peanut/sun/hazelnut… looking for suggestions that replace this versus continuing to throw out due to this flavor… Thoughts?

  20. Jamie Pacheco says

    These turned out amazing! I love the ingredient list, they took no time to throw together, and are so yummy!

  21. Andrea says

    Made these today and love them especially since I normally have these ingredients on hand! So easy to make and so delicious.

  22. Audrey says

    I need to make those at once! Thanks for providing a pregnant woman with something to fuel her up postowrkout! You mentionned using the additional sweetener if using unsweetened protein powder. Do you mean unsweetened chocolate protein powder, or a neutral blend of protein powder? I am considering using a neutral blend with additional cocoa and additional stevia if needed, because I haven’t found yet a chocolate protein powder that satisfies my principles (vegan) AND my taste buds!

  23. Elizabeth says

    Would you be able to sub canned pumpkin for the mashed banana/applesauce? Just trying to make these with ingredients I already have on hand 🙂

  24. Heather says

    Just made these– they’re delicious!! I loved the batter, too! Ate some fresh from the oven. Can’t wait to try tomorrow when they’ve fully cooled. Also made some of the Reece’s frosting. Yum–thank you for this recipe!!

  25. Tasha says

    I have made these a couple of times; they are really a great treat! I keep them in the freezer and nuke them in the microwave for a very short bit before eating. I made a couple of changes based on what I had in my pantry: I used granulated stevia, chocolate PB2, and chocolate whey protein powder. I used 2 bananas (I had no idea how many bananas made a cup, but 2 seemed to work just fine). I did not frost them simply to save time. I cook them for about 21 minutes. The texture is nice and fudgy. I love them as an evening treat…I don’t even work out to enjoy them! 😉

  26. Connie Liu says

    Hi Katie, can I use coconut butter? I know the the texture is a bit different than the other nut butter eg almond, cashew, etc.

    Thanks

  27. Kari says

    Miss Katie-
    I follow a lifestyle called THM ( Trim Healthy a mama) you should check it out! It’s low carb/ slow carb way of eating. You don’t mix your fats and carbs together and always have a protein as your foundation. Could I sub out apple sauce for the banana? I don’t want to mix good carbs ( apple sauce, with my good fats- but butter.) also, if I used stevia liquid, how much would I use? I hope you’ll check out THM. It’s just amazing and not limiting !!! I would LOVE to seee your recipes in the THM community ???

  28. Chey says

    I LOVE the idea of these and I’m definitely going to try experimenting with them but maybe you can give some advice before I do. I can’t use nut/seed/soy butters which means I miss out on a whole bunch of great recipes like this… Do you have any suggestions on substitutes?

  29. Katie says

    I LOVE these. Made the brownie base as written – Used Aloha protein powder, unsweetened applesauce & added 1/4 cup maple syrup. I topped them with a more indulgent frosting (made from melted chocolate chips, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract & almond milk) and they are definitely dessert brownies. My husband even liked them (and he is always suspicious about my healthy desserts — his first question before tasting them was “there’s not black beans in this, is there??” 🙂 )

  30. Jenna Weglarz-Ward says

    These are amazing! My son loves chocolate brownie Cliff bars so I made these when we ran out. He loved them. I ate them for my nighttime treat. I served them at a family dinner for our vegan friends. Yum!

  31. Amanda says

    I made these (unfrosted) – they are excellent!

    Ingredients I used:
    – 1 scoop chocolate casein protein powder
    – Cocoa powder
    – 2 bananas
    – Chunky peanut butter
    – Vanilla
    – Salt

  32. Jim Farris says

    For those concerned about fat in the nut butter, you might consider the powdered peanut butter products available. I use it in lots of recipes that call for peanut butter

  33. Emily says

    Made these for my mom’s birthday, and they were a hit! I baked them for 20ish min, and they were *really* fudgey – not a problem if you’re into that kind of texture. The tastes that I had were chocolatey and delicious, and my mom had to comment that they were AMAZING! 🙂 I frosted them with the avocado-frosting, used almond butter as the nut butter, and threw a handful of chopped walnuts into the mix as well.

  34. Jennifer says

    I LOVE these brownies! They are sooo tasty!!!!! I am completely satisfied eating them as a dessert.

    Thank you for the recipe!!

  35. Martinique Edge says

    I made this yesterday and oh my god they are amazing with the avocodo frosting. I will defiantly be making more Yum!

  36. Lindsey O. says

    I got to the end of this recipe and only then did I see “refrigerate overnight – they are much sweeter the next day!” I saw this as I was about to put the brownies into the oven, and am making them to eat tonight, not tomorrow. Please put warnings on your recipes at the top saying these need to be prepared the day before. I love your website and have been following you for years but that was disappointing – hopefully they are still Ok tonight! Thank you for all the amazing vegan recipes! 🙂

  37. Terry says

    I made these today. Excellent! I, too, am the person that would eat a Luna bar etc for dessert. I normally always follow a recipe to the tee the first time, then experiment. I love reading comments before making some things for the tips. We are between homes right now so I don’t have all my stuff. No brownie 8×8 type pan, so made cupcakes. Baked for 20 min. Perfect!! I used bananas, almond butter, raw cacao powder. I didn’t have any protein powder so used a little more raw cacao powder. I did add walnuts. They have not made it to the fridge yet and we’re already into them . This recipe made a dozen cupcake brownies.

  38. Kat says

    I made these for a couple of vegan friends yesterday,one of whom eats no sugar. I used the chocolate frosting shots recipe for frosting. I absolutely loved them and the frosting worked brilliantly, and my friends loved them too. I used banana for sweetener in the brownies but ended up adding a little Stevia to sweeten it further. I’m vegetarian and always willing to try out a vegan recipe, and although my husband prefers the sugary egg-filled brownies with a honey-based frosting that I usually make him, he said he liked these a lot too 🙂

  39. Diane says

    I’ve made these probably ten times now. They are ALWAYS in my refrigerator!! They are amazingly delicious and super easy to make!!!

  40. Rita Zubo says

    I made them yesterday.As cupcakes They taste really good but a little dry.

    Diy I bake them too long?

    • Jason Sanford says

      Unfortunately we’ve never baked them as cupcakes so really don’t know how they’d turn out. It sounds like a fun experiment, but there’s just no way to know how long they’d take or how they’d taste if we haven’t tried it. Maybe we should ;). Good excuse to eat more chocolate!
      Jason

  41. Bry Marie says

    Hi Katie, unlike most people here my brownies tasted like dog food and chocolate mixed together. To make sure I didn’t do anything wrong, I retried the recipe, and it came out the same. I would give it 0 out of 5 stars. Sorry but it just wasn’t good,

    • Jason Sanford says

      Not all recipes are for everyone. That’s okay. But just to check because so many others did like the recipe, what nut butter and sweetener did you use? And what protein powder?

  42. Pamela B Adams says

    These did NOT disappoint! I have been let down by “healthy, no sugar, tastes like the real thing” snacks before but this was not one of those times!! These are delicious-raw and cooked. I really could just eat the batter and never even put these things in the oven.

  43. Jules says

    These were so ridiculously good! Notice I said were because in 24 hours there aren’t any left.. my fam devoured them. I used my regular protein powder (ProMix Chocolate) with them and cashew butter (that’s what I had on hand) and they were so yummy. I also used the Reeses Pieces frosting recipe on top and oh my goodness.. Will be making these waaaay more often. Thanks so much for sharing these Katie!

  44. Carley says

    Absolutely disgusting.
    Made this tonight and about choked on the damn thing. I feel like I should be reimbursed 4.00 for the wasted protein. I do not recommend this recipe.

    • Jason Sanford says

      Well to be fair, the recipe does say it’s not for everyone. I personally love them, and reading the comments I can see there are a lot of others who do as well. So it’s just a matter of different tastes, which is completely okay!

  45. Cath says

    Yum! These are so easy to make and so delicious!
    I sprinkled frozen raspberries over mine before baking.
    The tartness goes beautifully with the sweet of the maple syrup and the bitter chocolate.

  46. Cath says

    Posting again because I’’ve added frosting and taken photos. YUM! For the brownies I used mashed banana, raw cacao, maple syrup and almond butter. I used a TBS of pea protein powder and extra cacao powder as I was worried the protein powder would hurt the flavour.
    I got oerfect results! So incredibly yummy! I also sprinkled frozen raspberries all over before baking.

    Then I frosted with chocolate frosting shot frosting (without any sweetener) and finished with a sprinkling of cacao nibs for added crunch. This is so good. I’ll definitelh be making them again. I noticed a few people have posted that they didn’t get good results. I think with this sort of food, quality of ingredients is everything. It’s possibly a taste thing too, but I think the quality of the ingredients would definitely change your results.

    I posted a photo of the brownie before it was frosted and cut so you can see the yummy raspberries. It looks like a child got to it with a spoon because my 4 year old, while I was settling my baby!). The second photo is the finished product.

  47. Rennae says

    I made these with banana and cashew butter and agave as seeetener. And I only had cacao powder but still came out great!! Next time I think I’ll try applesauce and peanutbutter or almond butter and maple syrup as sweetener. Ive recently started strength training and need more vegan high-er protein snacks, so thank you for this 🙂

    • Jason Sanford says

      I did it after and it worked well because the frosting hardened immediately. But if you do it before, the frosting will melt into the brownies, which also sounds delicious.

  48. Faith says

    Absolutely love these! I’ve made them twice so far- the first time with no added sugar except for dark chocolate chips, and the second time with chopped walnuts and 1/4tsp agave. Both turned out perfectly! I don’t really like “sweet” desserts or foods so they were the perfect fudgy, chocolatey goodness that I was looking for. Didn’t have protein powder so I used 3tbs extra cocoa. Going to have to try them with the avocado frosting, looks delicious!

    • Faith says

      To add on: the first time I used all banana and the second time I used half banana and half unsweetened applesauce to cut down on the calories a little bit, couldn’t tell a difference- both were great. Thanks for the quick & simple recipe Katie!

  49. Lerlene says

    I love this recipe and everytime I have a martial arts competition, I bring these brownies and they are wonderful snack in between fighting and kata.

  50. ollie says

    Im really surprised at how great these came out! You’d think without flour of some sort they would be kind of weird but NO. They were honestly a better consistency than regular brownies! I added a little vanilla extract and some espresso powder and they were freaking amazing. Thank you soooooo much!

  51. Asia says

    Hi Katie – these look delicious!
    Can I use vanilla protein powder and axe out vanilla extract?

    Stay safe with this Coronavrus ❤️ Thanks!

  52. Katelyn Kelly says

    I made these with:
    Applesauce
    PB2
    Cocoa powder
    Garden of life protein powder
    Vanilla extract
    Salt
    Agave for sweetener
    Using the measurements provided they came out super fudgey and wouldn’t hold their shape even after being in the fridge for about 24 hours. Basically like raw brownie batter. Did I do something wrong?

  53. Sera says

    These are surprisingly good! I just found your site, and although I am neither vegan nor vegetarian, I do love to bake, and I am trying to bake healthier things. I like the looks of a lot of the dessert recipes you have, and decided to try this one first. I used almond butter because I wanted to finish it up, but I think I’ll use peanut butter the next time. The flavor was overwhelmingly banana, but I like bananas, so that was fine. I just think I would like some peanut butter flavor to break it up a bit next time.

    These were very filling and had a pretty good taste. I think I will leave the honey out next time, since I don’t need something this sweet after a workout. Would unsweetened applesauce work in place of the honey? I didn’t want to add more banana if possible.

    Or maybe I can replace it and/or some of the banana with an egg? I’m ok with more protein and a bit higher calories; mostly just trying to limit sugar since I’m diabetic.

    Anyways, I’ll be trying more recipes. Thanks for this one!

  54. Katie says

    So yummy! Seriously one of the favorite sweets I ever ate, and I used to be a “big girl”, recently lost 100 pounds and weight train regularly and these post workout on occasion are guiltless and satisfying! I skipped the frosting and added a small handful of dark chocolate chips before baking. I also eat it with a big spoon full of kemp’s frozen yogurt! Dynamite!

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