Grandma Witch Brownies: Zucchini, Almond Butter, and Dark Chocolate Chips

Do you remember reading Strega Nona as a kid, or maybe 10 minutes ago, 10 times in a row to your own kid? You know, Grandma Witch, the one who works magic with oil, water, and a hairpin? The stories generally involve magic gone awry — most famously, when the magic pasta pot floods the town with pasta. (Oh Big Anthony, you’ll never learn!) There’s also a harvest Strega Nona story, in which a garden keeps growing and growing, demonstrating yet again that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. All of this brings me to August, and to zucchini.

At my house, our vegetable garden is just getting started. And by getting started, I mean my husband got a bunch of gardening books, and actually read some of them, and we started composting. My daughter wants to be just like Strega Nona: she goes on pretend trips to Northern Italy, blows kisses at the moon, and can’t wait to harvest her garden. But despite not yet having a vegetable garden to harvest, zucchini still makes its way to our door. Lots of zucchini. Just like in the book! Where does it all come from? Is your kitchen overrun with zucchini, too? Is everyone just out there every night, blowing kisses at the moon, or what? (Seriously, are you doing that? Because that would be adorable.)

These flourless brownies, adapted from this, started as an excuse to use up August zucchini, but as it turns out, they’re actually an excuse to hoard zucchini. My family and friends thought they were just extra-moist chocolate-y brownies, and they are. The taste is not overly sweet, and oh my god, they are so moist from all the zucchini, although the vegetable’s mild flavor disappears into the chocolate. You can grate the zucchini more finely if you’d prefer to hide it even more. I like being able to see those little specks of dark green. Beautiful. But, do what you want. Just remember: don’t touch the pasta pot.


1 cups almond butter (or whatever nut butter you prefer)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup agave or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 ½ -2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9×9” brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with olive oil.

2. Shred the zucchini using a shredding attachment on your food processor, or by hand using a grater. Or just chop it up.

3. Mix together everything else! Fold in the zucchini pieces and dark chocolate chips, mixing just until combined, and pour it all into your prepared pan.

4. Bake for ~40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. I like these warm and still-gooey, preferably eaten on the porch, listening to the cicadas after the kids have gone to bed.

Previously: The “I Dare You” Chickpeanutbutter-and-Honey Bars

Natalie Eve Garrett is an artist who likes disgustingly good food. You can follow her on Twitter, here, and on Pinterest, here. Prints of her art are for sale here.