It’s almost Valentine’s Day!! The most pointless holiday of the year! If your significant other doesn’t show you how much the love you until that national holiday pops up on their calendar, well I think it’s time to drop their ass. I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person…obviously. But I’m also not a holiday person in any sense. I’m not in to gifts or even receiving them. But I do like an excuse to eat a brownie. Where the hell is national brownie day?? I’m sure there is one, but it’s really only celebrated in the food blog world because it gives food bloggers an excuse to promote an old brownie recipe. I want Trump to come out on stage for the State of the Union and announce that February 14th is now National Brownie Day, where everyone has to give each other brownies. That’s a holiday I can get behind.

PaleOMG Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies

Anywho, I’m not in to going out to dinner or going somewhere special on Valentine’s Day. I could really care less. But I definitely was thinking about what kind of dessert I wanted to enjoy this year. But something I’ve been doing in the New Year is staying away from sugar as much as possible. I’m not great when it comes to self control so I have to stay away from most things or I can’t seem to physically stop myself. So when I decided to make brownies this year, I wanted them to be loaded with some good stuff, not just sugar. And that’s where the secret ingredient comes in to play…can you guess what it is? It’s actually THREE secret ingredients.

PaleOMG Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies

First up – sweet potatoes. I made my own Sweet Potato Brownies back in 2012. 2012!! That’s insane. I love adding some sweet potatoes to a brownie because it helps make it nice and dense and it adds a little extra sweetness without the added sugar. Second on the list – zucchini. Zucchini isn’t anything new in the baking world, but it definitely keeps the brownies nice and moist. Yes, I said it. And if you peel it and finely shred it, you can’t even see it in the brownie! Last but not least – spinach!! Yes, these brownies have spinach in them but you’d never know it! So everything single one of these brownies is loaded with 3 different kinds of veggies! Yes, it’s also loaded with some chocolate and hazelnut butter, but I feel just a tad better knowing I’m getting a little extra veggies in while I’m enjoying my stupid holiday dessert!

PaleOMG Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies

Speaking of a stupid holiday, guess what I’m doing on Valentine’s Day?! I’m flying to Albuquerque to interview for my Global Entry! The Denver Global Entry office was all filled up until May and who knows when the government is going to shut down again, so I booked mine in Albuquerque, which is only an hour away! I’m getting some miles in while getting my Global Entry done before the government flips upside down again. It’s a win-win! I leave by 8, home by 2. Not a bad Valentine’s Day in my eyes. Especially since the brownies will be waiting for me when I get home. What a lovely day.

PaleOMG Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies

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Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies

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5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: juli
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 brownies 1x


  • 1 cup finely shredded white sweet potato (peeled first)
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (peeled first, drained after measuring)
  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut butter
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • handful of chocolate chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish and line with parchment paper.
  2. Use a grater to finely shred sweet potato and zucchini, then drain the zucchini of as much liquid as possible. I used a nut milk bag to squeeze out any of the excess liquid. 
  3. To a food processor, add sweet potato, zucchini and spinach and pulse until combined. Then add melted chocolate, chocolate hazelnut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda and salt and blend until completely combined, scraping the edges of the food processor throughout. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  4. Pour into baking dish then place in the oven to bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the baking dish.
  5. Let cool slightly before removing from pan. Slice and eat!!

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PaleOMG Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies

PaleOMG Extra Fudgy Secret Ingredient Brownies


More Valentine’s Day Treats!

PaleOMG Raspberry Caramel Shortbread Heart Cookies

Valentine’s Day Raspberry Caramel Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

PaleOMG Chocolate Heart Cookies

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Chip Chocolate Heart Cookies


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  1. Jessie Higginbotham says:

    These are soooooo yummy! I think I maybe undercooked them slightly because there was no slicing possible. They were definitely spoon brownies. I am curious if these need to be refrigerated.

    1. juli says:

      that could have to do with the moisture in the zucchini, depending how much you squeezed out. yes, i would recommend refrigerating them since they don’t have preservatives in them. and i find that they are tastier out of the fridge anyways!

  2. Liz says:

    These are the best EVER!!! Thank you!!! So much better than ANYTHING store bought. I brought them to work today and everyone loved them. 🙂 Thanks Juli.

    1. juli says:

      woooohoooo!! i’m so glad you love them as much as I do!!

  3. Lesa Prichard says:

    I love Paleomg recipes and this one… I’ve made probably 5 or more times. The ONLY thing my husband ever requests is this brownie. I agree with other posts though that it’s more of a spoon brownie. I wish that we could get it to hold together better. this time I dried the “hell” out of the vegetables. I wonder if cooking the spinach and then drying would help. I always use raw spinach and it contains a lot of water so maybe thats it. I let it cook about 10 minutes longer than it calls for this time and it was a little better, but still hard to pick up. The taste makes up for the consistency… they are outrageously delicious… as are all of your recipes. LOVE this site and visit almost daily. Thanks so much Juli! Happy Holidays to you!!! Happy 2020!!!!

    1. Juanita says:

      I made them with frozen spinach, slightly defrosted but unsqueezed. I also baked them in cupcake cups. They hold together pretty well. I store and eat them thawed for a few minutes from the freezer. I love every bite!

  4. Juanita says:

    I made these and like others subbed several ingredients based on what I had. I used unsweetened 100% chocolate chips and added in extra sweetener, orange potatoes, and frozen spinach. I also baked them in muffin cups since I did not feel like prepping a square ban. I half expected them to turn out awful but was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the taste and texture. I added caramel to the top of some and they are a new favorite. Thanks!

    1. juli says:

      so glad you liked the recipe Juanita!

  5. Kelsey says:

    These are seriously awesome. I am always looking for a way to sneak veggies into my treats, especially for my kids, and I was so impressed with the way these turned out! To cut down on the sugar, I used almond butter and sunflower seed butter plus a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder in place of the chocolate hazelnut butter. Delicious!!

  6. Mary says:

    Hi! I am assuming you are shredding the sweet potato uncooked? I love this idea abd the comments about the spinach will try to cook first and squeeze. As for the hazelnut butter, I don’t like using sugar and they normally have sugar. Can you recommend any other substitutions for this?

    1. juli says:

      yes, shredded uncooked. and i haven’t tried the recipe without the hazelnut butter, so i can’t say for sure what sub would be best

  7. Lori says:

    These are the bomb.

  8. Lori says:

    These are the bomb! On my second batch, I didn’t have any fresh spinach on hand so I used a scoop of unflavored greens powder and they turned out every bit as delicious.