lightened up vegan gluten free pecan brownies {RECIPE}

these moist & dense lightened up, cake-like pecan vegan gluten free brownies use only one flour & are only 4 WWP points per serving #vegan #glutenfree #brownies //

Life is a whole lotta crazy over here.

Only a few more weeks until we leave Texas for good & head west for a few months before we venture overseas.

We don’t have our official orders yet (if you’re in the military, you know you can’t do *anything* without these), which means we don’t have our movers scheduled yet. (And we’re supposed to be moving in a little over two weeks!)

Funny side story: We have been prepping Salem for our move from Texas to Washington & then Japan by talking about it every day. A few days ago, Joseph spent a few minutes explaining that we had only three more weeks until we move. I came downstairs right after this particular conversation. Salem was jumping on our couch as she blurted out, with all the excitement only a four year old can have–“Mom, in three weeks we are gonna leave this world!!!”

These days, my house often looks like a bomb went off.

(Just in case you thought I was one of those perfect homemaking types who always keeps an immaculate house, I’m here to shoot down that misconception right here & now. I’m not June Clever by any stretch of the imagination, even in our non-transition/moving periods. I’m far too creative for that, though don’t get me wrong, I must have order admist the chaos.)

There are papers, books, & boxes & bins of things to get rid of or pack (even after all of our downsizing from last fall!).

Between homeschooling & preparing for the move, our house looks very lived in (ie. it’s a lovely mess that I do my best to wrestle with every day without losing my cool about it).

If you are a person who is in any way OCD about cleanliness or organization, you would have a panic attack if you came to my house.

Living in transition is part of the military package deal, as frequent moves make this a somewhat regular part of life. It’s inconvenient to have another life upheaval, but I suppose I can live with it since the trade off is we get to move to a sub-tropical island.

But homeschooling part two (you know how homeschooling part one ended, from this post), despite the current transition period, is going swimmingly well, as I mentioned in the last post.


I don’t know if I’m more mature (I’d like to flatter myself), or if it’s because the kids are older, or if it’s because I have a totally different approach, but I am genuinely excited & look forward to what each new day holds. It’s a challenging adventure, one that is keeping me on my toes.

Which means, I have been spending very, *very* little time in the kitchen.

(Thank goodness for my Blendtec which enables me to make all of these quick & easy recipes.)

these moist & dense lightened up, cake-like pecan vegan gluten free brownies use only one flour & are only 4 WWP points per serving #vegan #glutenfree #brownies //

The other day as I was making some vegan gluten free brownies, I realized we were out of baking powder.

“Where’s the baking powder?” I ask Joseph.

“Umm….I don’t think we have any. In fact I don’t think we’ve had any since we moved to this place five months ago.”


Has it been five months since I’ve baked or had the need to use baking powder? I can’t believe that I really had not baked anything in five months. FIVE months.

Needless to say, I improvised.

I used baking soda & vinegar, instead of baking powder, as a leavening agent.

In this instance, it totally worked.

these moist & dense lightened up, cake-like pecan vegan gluten free brownies use only one flour & are only 4 WWP points per serving #vegan #glutenfree #brownies //

As my days have become filled with so many other things than cooking, I have to say I’ve gotten lazy–with a capital L–in the kitchen.

This brownie recipe is a classic example of my lazy no-fuss, no-frills approach to churning out tasty delights for my family. I want it to be simple, I want it to be quick, I want it to be good.

For lots of simple, quick & easy meals, check out my 28 day meal plan 

When I first went gluten-free over three years ago, I learned about how to bake with all sorts of gluten-free flours.

Almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, bean flours. If it’s a nut, seed, or grain, chances are, it can be turned into a flour, & chances are, I’ve tried it.

About two years into my gluten-free pursuits however, I scaled things way back & have more or less stuck to my favorite homemade flour mix (a mix of brown rice, white rice & garbanzo bean flours) because I could make it myself from scratch & delivered fairly decent baked goods.

10 tips for frugal vegan + gluten free baking

The one other flour I ♥ is oat flour.

I can make it in in my Blendtec from old-fashioned oatmeal in less than a minute. It’s a flour that, depending on the recipe, doesn’t have to be mixed with other flours in order to have a successful end product (as in the case with this recipe!).

It also has a lovely neutral flavor (not like many of the bean flours) & because of the higher fat content, does well in baked goods.

These vegan gluten free brownies are more cake-like than fudge-like, & are extra awesome with the addition of pecans (so don’t omit these lovely nuts, if at all possible!).

I’ve always like berries with chocolate, so I think the sliced fresh strawberries go well here (plus it’s strawberry season in these parts, & hopefully it is there too where you live). You can of course eat them plain, but I like a little contrast with my desserts, & a warm brownie topped with cool fresh fruit or ice cream is absolutely heavenly in my book.

these moist & dense lightened up, cake-like pecan vegan gluten free brownies use only one flour & are only 4 WWP points per serving #vegan #glutenfree #brownies //


Recipe type: dessert, baked good
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 brownies
A vegan, gluten-free cake-like lower-fat (but not fat-free!!) brownie topped with pecans; refined sugar-free option
  • 2¼ c. old-fashioned rolled oats (enough to make 2 c. oat flour)
  • 2 TBS. chia seeds
  • ⅔ generous c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. non-dairy milk (I used soy milk, but any non-dairy milk will do)
  • ¾ tsp. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • ½ c. melted oil (coconut or canola)
  • ½ c. pureed squash--NOT APPLESAUCE (I used baby food)
  • 1½ c. sugar/evaporated cane juice (OR 2 c. coconut sugar) + 12 packets stevia OR 2 c. sugar/evaporated cane juice (no stevia)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓-1/2 c. raw or toasted pecans (whole or chopped)
  1. First, you can try to make this completely oil-free, but do so at your risk (see note below). I have found that if you reduce fat too much, it will taste more like a muffin or bread, & not so much like dessert. But then again, I feel like dessert is dessert & bread is bread, so if you're going to have dessert, it should be a little decadent, don't you? Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lightly oil or grease your baking pans to prevent sticking. You can use two 8 X 8 pans.
  3. Combine oats with chia seeds & make your oat flour (so you will blend your chia seeds in with your oats). I make mine using my Blendtec, but you can do it any high-powered blender like a Vita-mix, or even a food processor with the S-blade. Make sure the flour is as fine as you can get it.
  4. Sift the flour with cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt. Set aside.
  5. Whisk milk & vinegar (this will cause the milk to curdle a little--think of it like making butter milk). Combine this mixture with remaining liquids (oil & squash puree).
  6. In the dry ingredient bowl, make a well & pour wet ingredients. Stir enough times to incorporate all the flour (it should be fairly thick--don't add additional water or liquid). Pour batter into pan(s), smooth it out, & top with whole or chopped pecans.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven & allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, &/or sliced fresh strawberries. See below for links to recipes for vegan vanilla ice cream & coconut "whipped" cream.
***About reducing fat/sugar: The thing I've learned about reducing fat & sugar over the years, is that desserts taste better & bake better when they retain some fat & sugar. (If you want something completely lowfat/fat-free, eat some fruit!) The recipe as it stands with ½ cup oil & reduced sugar is about as low as I wanted to go. If you reduce the oil or sugar more, I can't guarantee good results! Venture at your own risk 🙂 Also, if you must, you can eliminate the pecans. But I think the pecans do these brownies a huge service & give it some extra contrast, flavor, & texture.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 brownie Calories: 140, 4 WWP points Fat: 7 g Carbohydrates: 20 g Sugar: 13 g Sodium: 100 mg Fiber: 2 g Protein: 2 g

Serve brownies with:

vegan vanilla ice cream {RECIPE}
coconut whipped cream {RECIPE}

Other bring joy gluten-free vegan brownie recipes you might want to check out:

Other bring joy lightened up gluten-free vegan desserts you might want to check out:

Also, for more lightened up vegan + gluten-free recipes, check out my slim + slender recipe index.