Vegan Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Brownies

We’re more cookie people than brownie fans around here, and you’ll find more recipes for pies than bars in the archives.

In fact, this is the first brownie recipe I’ve published in five years. Now, I get the appeal of brownies; I really do! It’s just that most recipes require so much white sugar and butter, I can’t make them for my family in good conscience. Until now, that is.

My editor recently sent me a cookbook that happened to arrive just in time for my January pantry purge. At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well is an absolute gem of a book, not only for the sheer wealth of information it offers on healthy eating, but for the line-up of incredible recipes begging to be made.

Today’s brownies are adapted from Amy Chaplin’s book. Finally I have a brownie recipe for the lunchbox, my afternoon tea and basically any special occasion. These are brownies well worth a five year wait.

Pumpkin Seed Vegan Brownies | Simple Bites #recipe #vegan #brownies #baking #sweets

Amy’s original recipe are almond butter brownies but I needed a nut-free treat I could send to school with my boys. I made a version using an organic pumpkin seed butter, which I have on hand for smoothies and snacks. My grocery store stocks the special seed butter so it’s actually easier to find than you would think.

I also sprinkled the top with pepitas, which are shelled pumpkin seeds. They are so good for you! I keep a bag in the freezer to add to granola, salads, soups — and now brownies.

Pumpkin Seed Vegan Brownies | Simple Bites #recipe #vegan #brownies #baking #sweets

This is our first dessert since Christmas, more or less. Gosh, these dark chocolate morsels hit the spot. Apparently my chocolate cravings were reaching an all-time high.

It’s impossible to resist rich vegan brownies with dark chocolate chunks, nutty pumpkin seeds and sea salt. The ingredient list may be a little different that what you are used to, but make a shopping list for your local whole foods store and bake up a batch of these brownies this weekend. I think you’ll find they are your new favourite treat, too.

Pumpkin Seed Vegan Brownies | Simple Bites #recipe #vegan #brownies #baking #sweets

Pumpkin Seed Vegan Brownies

Rich vegan brownies with dark chocolate chunks, nutty pumpkin seeds and sea salt. Recipe adapted from Amy Chaplin's book At Home in the Whole Foods Kitchen.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Keyword: Vegan
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 24 squares
Calories: 150kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 1/2 cup packed pitted Deglet Noor dates
  • 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seed butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil plus more to oil pan, warmed
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup pure maple sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate coarsely chopped and divided
  • 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds pepitas
  • Maldon or fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt


  • Place dates in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 20 minutes or until softened, then drain well.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper; brush paper and sides of pan lightly with coconut oil, and set aside.
  • Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder into a medium bowl; whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Place pumpkin butter butter, warm coconut oil and drained dates in a food processor; blend until smooth. It's okay if a few small date pieces are not blended.
  • Add maple syrup, maple sugar, soy milk, salt and vanilla and process until smooth.
  • Pour into sifted flour mixture, and stir with a rubber spatula until almost combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons chopped chocolate and stir remaining chocolate into batter, being careful not to overmix.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with pepitas, remaining chocolate, and a large pinch of sea salt.
  • Bake for 25-27 minutes or until edges pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • For best results, refrigerate until completely cold before cutting. These brownies keep well for three or four days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.


Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Reminder! My free Bonus Recipe Bundle is available for a few more weeks! Take advantage of this special offer for 8 all-new recipes while you can.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. These look amazing! Wondering, can one interchange most flours cup for cup?

  2. Wonderful! So nice to have a healthy brownie option. I don’t make brownies often either because mixing together all that butter and sugar makes me wince. But I have a daily afternoon sweet tooth and these look perfect to keep on hand.

    Glad the five year wait is over! 😉

  3. These look great! I just discovered a vegan brownie recipe I love and will definitely think to add pepitas next time I make them. I use pepitas on pretty much everything!

  4. If you’re going to wait five years to post a brownie recipe, you may as well start with a bang! These look great. More and more, I find I’m turning to vegan recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth. I can’t believe I’ve only just started working with dates in the last year or so; they add such depth of flavorful sweetness. Love the idea of the pepitas and chocolate chunks on top of these brownies!

  5. Love how healthy and decadent they look!

  6. I love this healthy brownie option.

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve totally got to make these! YUM.

  8. These brownies are going to be made here soon and very soon! I am thinking of using sunflower seed butter, since that’s what I have on hand. Should work, right?

  9. Hard to believe it’s been 5yrs, this brownie recipe looks amazing! Love that you used pepitas for topping!

  10. Wow, they look absolutely lovely!! The green pepitas on top add such a nice touch of colour – I’ll have to try it next time I bake some brownies 🙂

  11. Can you use cacao instead? Many thanks

  12. I rarely comment on blogs but I had to say, these are the best brownies I have ever made, bar none. And not just for healthy ones. The taste and texture are incredible. I made it in an 8×8 dish so they would be thicker. The only change i made was to decrease the sugar and maple syrup to 1/2c each instead of 3/4 and it was perfectly sweet, even for a dessert lover like me. Thank you! This is a special one.

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