The Hungry Swimmer: Creative Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth 2.0

by Zoe Gregorace 3

November 02nd, 2020 Hungry Swimmer, Lifestyle

Over quarantine, I’ve definitely had a love-hate relationship with baking. From burnt cookies and flour explosions all over the kitchen counter, to countless amounts of raw batter consumed, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs.

With the holidays slowly approaching, it’s time to sharpen those baking skills! Not only will these recipes brighten up your socially distanced gatherings, but baking can be a fun activity to help pass the time when you’re bored in a house, in a house bored! The following recipes are high in plant-based protein, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan (except for the No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups). To make this recipe vegan, you can substitute the honey for maple syrup.

For some drool worthy, chocolatey sweets, check out the recipes below!

Pumpkin Swirl Black Bean Fudge Brownies  (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)


(makes 10-12 brownies)

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Pumpkin Swirl

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice

I mean. Look at how gooey these things are! This recipe came out of sheer curiosity. How does one combine chocolate and the ultimate seasonal flavor, pumpkin? Well, these brownies are certainly a winner! Not only do they taste unbelievable, but they’re packed with 30 grams of plant-based protein.

First, preheat the oven to 350. Next, blend brownie ingredients in a blender or food processor to ensure that the black beans are completely pulverized into a mushy consistency. Nothing ruins a perfectly good brownie like a full sized bean. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin swirl ingredients. Pour the brownie batter into a baking dish or pan and then spoon the pumpkin swirl mixture on top. Use the back of the spoon to spread the pumpkin swirl mixture over top the brownie batter. Sprinkle the dark chocolate chunks on top and bake for 15 minutes. After allowing the brownie to cool for 10 minutes or so, cut into squares and enjoy 🙂

 Chewy Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Cups (dairy-free, gluten-free)


(makes 5 cups)

  • 1 bag of chocolate midibites
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 bar dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios

If you’re a Reese’s fiend like me, this recipe is definitely up your alley! Bold dark chocolate, gooey peanut butter center, chewy crust and 12 grams of plant-based protein, what’s not to love?

What’s great about this recipe is that there is no baking involved whatsoever. You just need a muffin tin, cupcake liners and a freezer. First, crumble the midibites with your hands in a small bowl. I love this brand of protein bites because they’re made from wholesome ingredients and taste amazing. Carefully fold in the peanut butter and honey. Roughly divide the crumble into 5 and press into the bottom of a lined muffin tin. Set this in the freezer for 10 minutes then spoon about a ½ tsp of peanut butter on top of each cup. Place your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for :30 intervals until completely melted. Fold in the chopped pistachios then pour the melted chocolate mixture on top of each cup. Freeze for 30 minutes then enjoy 🙂

Salted Dark Chocolate Pretzel Brownies  (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Salty and sweet is the most iconic flavor combination. The pretzels add that nice crunch and salty flavor but, the espresso infused finishing salt perfectly complements the rich, dark chocolate brownie.

Unlike the black bean brownie batter which was completely made from scratch, I used boxed brownie mix for this recipe. What I love about Renewal Mill is that they use upcycled byproduct ingredients, which helps reduce food waste and supports a more sustainable food system.

First, preheat the oven to 350 and follow the instructions on the boxed mix. For this brand of brownie mix, I added ¾ cup of hot water and 6 tbsp of vegetable oil. Pour the batter into a greased 8×8 pan and gently press the gluten-free pretzels into the batter. Bake for 45 minutes and when they’re done, sprinkle the espresso infused sea salt over top. Let the brownies cool for 10-15 minutes then slice into squares. Enjoy 🙂

Check out my website for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your creative ways to satisfy that sweet tooth with me @whatzoeeeats.

About Zoe Gregorace

Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.

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1 year ago

Can you do some that don’t have chocolate? Some of us aren’t into that stuff

1 year ago


1 year ago

Use dates instead of Maple Syrup. Much healthier.