• 200g/7oz/heaped ¾ cup almond butter
  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
  • 100g/3½oz/½ cup xylitol
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60g/2¼oz/heaped ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 courgette, about 125g/4½oz, finely grated
  • 60g/2¼oz/½ cup chopped pecan nuts (optional)

These grain-free brownies are packed with protein and healthy fats thanks to the addition of the nut butter and almonds. No one would ever know they also contain courgettes. Low in sugar, this is a rich and indulgent treat. Pecan nuts are little nuggets of nutrition – they are rich in many phytochemicals and antioxidants which can help protect the body’s cells and DNA from damage as well as support immune health.

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and line a square 20cm/8in baking tin with baking parchment.
  • Put the nut butter, chocolate and xylitol in a saucepan over a low heat and warm gently to melt the chocolate. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add the eggs, vanilla extract, ground almonds, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda and process to combine. Process in the courgette, then stir in the chopped pecans, if using. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to touch. Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into 16 squares.

Makes: 16 brownies
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Nutritional information per brownie:
Protein 5.2g Carbohydrate 15.9g, of which sugars 14.1g
Fat 17.5g, of which saturates 13.5g Kcals 225

By Zita West, Eat Yourself Pregnant

About The Author

Midwife & Fertility Expert

Fertility and Pregnancy Expert Zita West is the leading pregnancy, birth and fertility expert in the UK. She is a practising midwife with 35 years' experience and runs her own hugely successful clinic for natural and IVF birth - the only clinic in the UK to specialise in an integrated approach, combining mainstream medicine and holistic health with excellent IVF results. Zita is also a trained acupuncturist and nutritional advisor and is the author of nine books on fertility and pregnancy, including the best-selling Zita West's Guide to Fertility and Assisted Conception. Her latest is Eat Yourself Pregnant, illustrating a range of traditional and modern mouth-watering recipes designed for prospective parents to boost their nutrition for fertility. She has a product range of vitamins and minerals to assist fertility and pregnancy, Zita West Products, and has set up an affiliated network of 170 acupuncturists in the UK and Ireland to promote good practice in fertility and pregnancy. She treats many high-profile clients, lectures around the world, and appears regularly on television and in the press giving advice and guidance on all pregnancy, birth and fertility issues. She is a columnist for Women's Health magazine and a blogger for The Huffington Post. If you would like Zita to appear as an expert, please contact 020 7224 0017 or

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