Secret Veggie Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan, grain/gluten-free, refined sugar-free


I don’t know exactly what sparked the idea to put greens into baked goods. I am pretty sure that it is when my friend Steph sent me a link for kale bread that I started thinking about how I could put some greens into a sweet treat. 

This might be a bold statement, but I am not a fan of kale. Firstly, my Ostomy does not really do well with it. But for the most part, I just don’t think that it has a tremendous amount of flavor. There are so many delicious greens out there that have just as much nutritional value, are a bit easier to digest (at least for me), and have not had all the hype. 

Move over Kale. 

Swiss chard, especially rainbow chard is my favorite. I cook with the leaves and pickle the stalks (which are not nearly as fibrous as kale stems). Swiss chard has oodles of vitamins A, C and K, magnessium, potassium and those wondrous antioxidants. See? Kale isn’t necessarily king. 

For me, living with an ostomy, I am continually trying to find ways to get in my veggies, but in a more Ostomy-friendly form. So I mean, why not in a cupcake? Add zucchini for moisture and more veggie goodness and some additional fruit like bananas and apple juice; these are a better for you cupcake. Not to mention, if you have a picky eater who doesn’t like veggies, these are a good way to sneak them in. 

So let’s talk about a few important ingredients. 

Apple Juice

I do not drink a lot of apple juice, but my local gourmet food shop carries a locally made apple juice that looks more like orange juice. It is not the clear, amber kind that you usually see in the grocery store. 

When you juice an apple, the juice is not clear, so the clearer it is, the more processed it is and the more nutrients it loses. So when you are baking these, use the best apple juice you can find. Apple cider is also a great alternative. 

Dark Chocolate

I can be a bit of chocolate snob. When you brother and sister-in-law make chocolate, you definitely get used to getting the good stuff and knowing more about when goes into making chocolate. 

For the ganache, my favorite chocolate is Taza Chocolate. It is a vegan dark chocolate that is not bitter like others. It is a smoother, fruiter flavor that works wonderfully as a ganache. Even those who say that they don’t like dark chocolate will like it. 

Espresso powder

It might seem weird, but espresso is chocolate’s best friend. I am not adding it here for a caffeine kick (you can use decaf espresso powder), but rather to boost the chocolate flavor. Since these are made with cocoa powder rather than melted chocolate mixed in, the espresso helps the cocoa powder to really deliver that rich chocolate flavor. 

If you would rather omit it, that is fine. However, espresso powder is something I always have in my pantry to add to almost all the chocolate things I make. 

Ok, I will keep this post short. Enjoy this recipe! 


125g/1 large super ripe banana 

78g /3 leaves (no stalks) Swiss chard (washed and dried; doing use frozen)

Half a medium zucchini (62g(, roughly chopped 

1/3 cup tahini 

1/4 cup apple juice (I like the cloudy apple juice)

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut sugar 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1/2 cup cocoa powder (carob powder also works)

3/4 cup almond flour 

1/4 cup arrowroot flour 

1 1/4 tsp baking soda 

1/2 tsp salt 

1 tbsp flax meal 

1 tsp instant espresso powder 

1 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Ganache topping

4oz chopped dark vegan chocolate

1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat) 

2 tbsp tahini

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard muffin pan with paper or silicone liners. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, almond flour, arrowroot flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder and flax meal. Set the chocolate chips aside. 

In the bowl of the food processor, add the Swiss chard leaves, banana, zucchini, tahini and pulse to break down the zucchini. Then blend on high for 2-3 minutes until a smoother consistency. Add the apple juice, coconut sugar and vanilla extract and blend again until smooth. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the food processor, going a little bit at a time. Blend until smooth after each addition. Once smooth, pour into the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips. 

Using an ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the center of each cake springs back. 

While the cakes cool, make the ganache. Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the coconut milk until just starting to steam; you don’t want it to being to boil. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 4 minutes. Stir the chocolate and coconut milk together until smooth. Add the tahini, mix until smooth. It will be a thicker ganache. 

Once the cakes are completely cool, warm up the ganache (about 20 seconds in the microwave). Spoon the warm ganache over each cake. Place the covered cupcakes in the fridge for the ganache to set. 

Enjoy these lovelies straight from the fridge or at room temperature. They’re a sweet treat and have a little boost of fruits and veggies! 

Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 1 week.