All-Star Recipes: Paleo Brownies

Those of you who know me are aware that I’m not a fan of using “paleo” to describe twenty-first century food. I mean, it’s like saying “human” to describe a very nuanced and sophisticated way of eating and taking care of ourselves. My soapbox aside, to pay homage to the many authors out there in virtual paleo-land, who have influenced the many iterations of my brownie recipe, I am calling them paleo brownies. I hope you love them!

This brownie recipe has gone through much exploration and many modifications to get the flavor and texture just right (for me). It is much less sweet than traditional brownies, more dense and fudgy, and uses nut meal instead of flour. It is completely grain-, cow’s milk-, and legume-free.

In addition to being delicious, these brownies are packed with healthy nutrition. They contain healthy fats from nuts and coconut, and antioxidants from cocoa and dark chocolate.

You will need:

16 oz walnuts, 1 egg, 1/4 cup honey or grade B maple syrup, 1 can full-fatted organic coconut milk

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not dutch processed), 1/2 tsp course sea salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 oz chopped dark chocoloate

  • You may replace the egg with egg-replacer: use 1 Tablespoon flax seed mixed in 3 Tablespoons hot water. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes, until thickened.

Prepare Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil.

Pulse walnuts in food processor until creamy and smooth. Gradually add the can of coconut milk until you achieve this.

Add all other ingredients to food processor (no need to use another bowl or mixer) and blend well. You will need to scrape down the sides of mixing container a few times with a spatula so all ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Pour batter into your greased baking dish and bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpick in the center. It should come out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes. Cut and eat.

These brownies will store well in covered container and can be frozen for later use.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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