You will only taste the chocolate and walnuts (not the sauerkraut) in these Sauerkraut Brownies, and your gut will be reaping all the probiotic benefits! These brownies are raw, which means that the beneficial probiotic bacteria are alive and well rather than being killed during the cooking process.
Move over avocado and sweet potato, there is a new secret ingredient in these raw brownies … sauerkraut!
Sauerkraut brownies? Why? Well, it is one of my absolute biggest food joys to figure out how to add more fermented foods into unsuspecting recipes and, thus, our guts. Gut health was essential for my own healing and I’m super passionate about it!
On this personal mission, a few weeks back I settled on a chocolate happy gut smoothie recipe which included the food marriage of chocolate and sauerkraut. It was so good that I decided to experiment with another way to bring these two ingredients together and thus these brownies came to be.
Sauerkraut is a loud food (meaning it has a strong taste), thus it has to be balanced out with enough loud flavors so that it isn’t offensive. When you taste these super moist, raw brownies you won’t be able to detect that there is any sauerkraut in them. What you may be able to taste is a small amount of tang, but that tang resembles what a vinegar or a citrus.
The wonderful raw cacao (chocolate) balances out this tang, coconut and walnuts add healthy fats and bulk, and dates add natural sugar and hold the brownies together.
They are not overly sweet, which I love and strive for, but are also very easy to customize to your own taste preference by simply adding a little extra honey or coconut sugar.
I hope you enjoy!
- Cacao – Cacao is the raw version of cocoa. You can substitute cocoa powder in this recipe and get the same results, BUT cocoa is not a substitution for cacao when it comes to nutrients. Since cocoa is the heated version of cacao, you’ll lose out on a whole bunch of antioxidants as well as vitamins. Raw cacao is a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. It’s also a good source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, fiber, natural carbohydrates and protein. Since these brownies are not cooked, I would definitely go for the cacao powder! You can read more about the differences here at Paleo Hacks.
- Sauerkraut – If you are using store-bought sauerkraut for this recipe, make sure it’s from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. The jars in the middle aisles have been pasteurized more intensely to make their shelf-life longer and thus don’t have a good amount of beneficial bacteria. (Also, fermented foods have a strong bacteria culture that “comes alive” at room temperature and can create incredible pressure on the jar or container!)
- Walnuts and Pecans – I buy all my nuts in bulk, soak them for 8+ hours (cashews for 6) with a touch of salt, and then dehydrate them on the lowest oven setting until crisp again. This improves the digestibility and neutralizes phytic acid present in raw nuts, which makes the nutrients available in the nuts more available to our bodies. The taste and texture of the recipe results will be the same regardless of this step. Of course, raw will work as well!
Special Diet Recipe Modifications:
- GAPS – Make sure the walnuts are soaked and toasted. Homemade almond butter is also preferable. Substitute 1 vanilla bean for the extract.
- 16 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup unsalted almond butter *
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ½ cup sauerkraut **
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (can substitute 1 vanilla bean)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional, recipe not raw if using)
- few teaspoons of honey (optional, depending on preferences, use maple syrup if vegan)
- ** Cook time reflects time the brownies need to sit in the refrigerator. They are not baked. **
- If your dates are hard, remove the pit, and then soak them in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes or so to allow them to soften.
- Place all ingredients except the walnuts into a food processor and blend until dates are broken into very small pieces, 15 seconds.
- Add in the walnuts and chocolate chips (if using), and mix in thoroughly.
- Spread brownie mixture into a square baking pan and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Cut up and enjoy chilled!
** If using store-bought sauerkraut, choose a variety that is in the refrigerated section. Sauerkraut in the middle of the store on the shelves typically goes through a more rigorous pasteurization process and, therefore, doesn't contain much good bacteria. Now, I urge you to try these at least once with the sauerkraut! They really are good!! But you can also leave it out of the recipe as well and the brownies will still turn out just fine.