Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan.

Whisk milk and flaxseeds together in a small bowl using a fork and set aside.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to mix and set aside.

Beat together sugar and oil in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Add applesauce and vanilla and beat until the mixture is soft and creamy. Add milk mixture and beat to mix well.

Stir in half of the flour mixture (dry ingredients) and beat to mix well. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir to mix well. Stir in pecans (if using) and chocolate pieces.

Scrape into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the pan. Cut into 2-inch squares.


If you store chocolate chips or pieces in the freezer and add them frozen to cake or brownie batter, they will melt during baking but will remain in place, providing small pockets of pure chocolate in the finished product.

The longer brownies cook, the drier and more cake-like they become. So if you check the brownies a couple of minutes before the minimum time given and there is crumbly (not wet) batter clinging to the toothpick, remove the brownies from the oven and they will be chewy, not dry.

To Store

Store brownies in a container with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 16 (2-inch) Squares Servings, Easily Doubled


  • ⅓ cup unflavored, unsweetened almond milk or other nondairy milk

  • 3 tablespoons flaxseeds

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • ¾ cup coconut sugar

  • 5 tablespoons softened extra-virgin coconut oil

  • 3 tablespoons applesauce

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped vegan semisweet chocolate or carob (see tips)

From “The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone In-Between” by Reducetarian Foundation (Center Street, $21.99). Recipe developed by Pat Crocker. Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.