Recipes, Special Diets on February 13, 2014 by

Getting Enough Dietary Fiber on Your Low Carb Diet + Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

There are a great many misconceptions about low carb diets, and one of them is that they must be very low in dietary fiber. We all know fiber is good for us. It fills us up, keeps us regular, slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and may contribute to heart and colon health. It’s pretty important stuff. Since low carb diets eschew many commonly accepted sources of fiber, such as whole grains and legumes, many people believe low carb diets to also be low fiber diets. And if they are low in fiber, it logically follows that they can’t possibly be good for us, right? Wrong. Don’t mind me if I just gently blow a few holes in that idea.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

First, let’s consider the best source of dietary fiber. It is not, as many people believe, whole grains and legumes but vegetables and fruits that give us the bulk of our daily fiber intake. Or at least it should be. It goes without saying that any healthy diet should include a variety of vegetables and fruit every day. We’re all supposed to be getting our 7 to 9 servings or more per day and that holds just as true on a low carb diet as it does on any other. And thankfully, the vast majority of vegetables, and some fruits as well, are both low in carbohydrates and high in dietary fiber. No matter what diet you follow, if you’re skimping on these foods, you’re cheating yourself of the best sources of fiber and other nutrients.

You might also be surprised to find that many of the low carb alternatives to whole grains have just as much as much or more fiber than their conventional counterparts. Nut meals typically contain 3 or 4 g per serving, which is as much fiber as a serving of whole wheat flour. Coconut flour varies between 5 and 10 g of fiber per serving, depending on the brand, and almost all of the carbohydrates in flax and chia seeds are from dietary fiber. Many low carb recipes also substitute veggies like cauliflower and zucchini for rice and pasta, increasing the fiber and nutrients of many dishes even further.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free| Bob's Red Mill

A great part of the confusion surrounding low carb diets comes from the misperception that they are high protein diets. They aren’t, or at least they shouldn’t be. Done correctly, a low carb diet should be low in carbs (obviously!) and high in fat, with moderate amounts of protein. I know the high fat part scares many people, but science is increasingly coming out in favor of the idea that fats, even saturated fats, are not the enemy. Admittedly, it’s still a bit of a hard sell, and with low carb diets being so misunderstood, they are easy to vilify. I get that; it was a hard sell for me too at first.

I recently read an article about two men, identical twins, who decided to put low carb versus low fat to the test. For a period of one month, one twin ate low carb and the other ate low fat. In the end, the twin on the low carb diet lost more weight, but says he felt sluggish, his breath stank and he was constipated. Well no wonder, since his version of low carb consisted solely of meat, fish, eggs and cheese. He didn’t do a low carb diet, he did a NO carb diet, eating zero fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds for a whole month. There was nary a gram of dietary fiber to be seen and I don’t know anyone who would advocate this kind of extreme dieting. Naturally, the article gained traction on many news outlets across the globe. Is it any wonder that with this kind of press, low carb diets are so misunderstood?

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

One more thing that should convince you how important fiber-rich foods are if you’re going low carb is that they count against your overall carb count. Fiber is indigestible and is not absorbed into the bloodstream. It has no effect on blood glucose levels and many countries don’t even consider it a carbohydrate in their nutritional labeling. The US lists it as a carbohydrate, however, and most low carb diets suggest calculating “net carbs” by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrate. Bingo. Right there, you just ate less carbs than you thought you did.

I advocate eating a variety of fiber-rich foods on a low carb diet, as they will help you feel full, healthy and energized. With so many great sources of fiber available, there is simply no need to limit yourself to meat, fish, eggs and cheese. And why would you want to? You can enjoy an amazing variety of foods without blowing your low carb goals. And you’ll be much happier and more likely to stick with it.

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Brownies Low Carb, Gluten Free | Bob's Red Mill

Mocha Chocolate Chunk Chia Seed Brownies

  • ¾ cup Chia Seed Meal (about ½ cup whole seeds – I grind them in my coffee grinder)
  • ¾ cup Swerve Sweetener or other Erythritol
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 3 oz Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 4 large Eggs
  • ¼ cup strongly brewed Coffee
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate Chunks (70 to 90% cacao)

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 9 square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, with some overhanging the sides for easy release. Grease parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together chia seed meal, sweetener, baking soda and salt.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate together, whisking until smooth.

Whisk in eggs (mixture may seize), then whisk in coffee. Stir in chia seed mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 15 to 16 minutes for a fudgier consistency or 18 to 20 for a cakier consistency.

Remove and let cool completely in pan.

Remove brownies from pan by grasping the overhanging parchment and lifting carefully. Cut into 16 squares.

Carolyn Ketchum | All Day I Dream About FoodCarolyn Ketchum is the writer, photographer and almond flour wizard behind All Day I Dream About Food, a low carb and gluten-free food blog. Her mission is to prove to the world that special diets need not be boring or restrictive and that healthy dishes can be just as good, or better, than their sugar and gluten-filled counterparts. It’s astonishing what you can do with a bag of almond flour, a stick of butter, and a willingness to experiment. Follow her on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus and Pinterest for inspiring ideas for the low carb, gluten free lifestyle.


Kapu says:

Looks so yummy. What could I use in place of the coffee?

Meta108 says:

Me too – want to know what to use instead of coffee! May try sugarfree maple syrup..

Carolyn says:

You can simply use water to get the right consistency without the mocha flavour!

Lynne says:

This looks fantastic, can’t wait to try it. I also saw the Horizon programme about Sugar V Fat and was so angry that all he ate was fat and meat, no vegetables at all. It garnered a lot of negative press in the UK where I live, and just added to my frustration that the world sees low carb diets as faddy and unhealthy.
Thanks again for another brilliant recipe.

Psh says:

I hate to impose with this question…but… is there a way to sub out cocoa powder in recipes for something else? I have not been successful so far. My experiments mostly get tossed.

In this recipe for the chocolate squares could one sub butter? I have become the proud possessor of Rosacea (acne kind no less) Winkles and acne – a beautiful combination.

And chocolate seems to aggravate it aggressively. I love chocolate of course. 🙂

Thank you. Always enjoy looking at your articles, pictures and trying some of the food.


Lisa says:

I would use chocolate protein powder in place of the cocoa powder.

Carolyn says:

That’s a tough one. Cocoa powder is very dry and powdery, so you could perhaps sub in something like coconut flour in some recipes. But coconut flour absorbs more moisture so you’d also need some additional liquid and perhaps a little additional fat to get the right consistency.

Mary says:

You could try carob powder as a substitute for the cocoa powder.

Becca says:

I made these today and they came out fantastic, by far the best keto brownies I’ve ever tried! Thanks so much!

Tara says:

Becca, I know your comment was from a while ago but I’ll ask anyway. Did you use a 9 x 9 pan? I did. After a half an hour they were still not done. They’re very thick. Came out like a molten cake. Not bad, but not the brownie texture I was hoping for.

Sinds says:

Do you happen to have the nutritional information for this recipe? Thanks!

I am so sorry, but we do not.

Sinds says:

Actually, the nutritional info is on the original site with this recipe, in case anyone’s interested. It’s 152 Calories; 14g Fat (75.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 69mg Cholesterol; 172mg Sodium


Phyllis Kinchen says:

I’m trying to lose some weight. I weight 282 and only 5′ 3″ tall. I’m a big girl. Someone told me to get China seeds would help cleanse my body, and make me fill full. And drink plenty water. But they didn’t tell me how much to take or how to take it. Can you help!!

We typically recommend 2 Tbsp per day, but I’m not sure how you would use them specifically related to weight loss. Here is a great article from WebMD about chia seeds and weight loss:

carrie says:

these look wonderful! I am not familiar with the sugar free sweeteners used in this recipe. I do use stevia. I have a liquid and a powder form. Could either of those be used instead? Any idea on the amount to use? I am new to baking with these sweeteners.

Carolyn says:

Hi Carrie – Swerve measures like sugar so figure out how much of your stevia is equal to 3/4 cup sugar and you will be all set.

Julie says:

Hi Carolyn love your recipes as always, can you tell me the carb/calorie count on these brownies please?

V says:

Carob powder is a good replacement for cocoa powder– I think it gives you a “milk chocolate” taste. Carob and chocolate go very well together, though carob by itself lacks something to really stand tall as a chocolate substitute. But it adds something if you put in a bit of “Dandy Blend”, a GF instant coffee substitute. That gives it a fuller chocolate taste, and if you add more, you get mocha flavoring without the caffine or bitterness!

M says:

I have some organic xylitol. Will it work for this recipe? How much should I use instead of erythritol? I’m making these for our Independence Day celebration. I want to introduce our friends to some gluten-free yummies. I have heard xylitol can make baked goods drier. Thanks for any help you can give to me. 🙂

M says:

Oops, I forgot to ask: How long should I bake in 9 x 9 baking dish if I want chewy brownies? Will finely ground chia meal work for this recipe? I’m planning to serve with a smidgen of whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

M says:

Arrghh, not meal, finely ground chia seeds!

Cory Ahern says:

Hi – I don’t use any fake sugars, Iuse raw sugar – how would that translate? And the “unsweetened chocolate” is that cocoa powder? Thanks!

Debbie says:

Hi, ditto the above, could the unsweetened chocolate be cocoa powder?

I believe this would work fine, Debbie.

Janet says:

I used 9 Tablespoons of cocoa powder and 3 Tablespoons of coconut oil to replace the 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate. The conversion was on the Hershey’s cocoa box.

Debbie says:

Thank you Cassidy 🙂

Kelley says:

Could I sub erythritol for a liquid sweetner, such as agave?

I think it would change the outcome, but you can certainly try it.

Julie Rider says:

I love your recipes but wish you had nutritional analysis for those of us who watch macros.

Great suggestion, Julie. Thank you!

Carolyn says:

Hi Julie. I always publish the full nutritional count on my teaser on my blog, simply because I know my readers want them. You can find it here at:

Stephanie says:

Anyone have a suggestion for a sub if you don’t care for coffee? I know they are mocha brownies, sorry 😉

Carolyn says:

You can just replace it with water, that should be fine.

Againstthegrain says:

Whether consuming a low carb diet or not, let us not overlook the most important reason to eat soluble fiber on a regular, is to feed the beneficial bacteria that live within in our colon. A healthy and diverse “inner garden” of bacteria consumes the fiber that we humans cannot (we lack the necessary enzymes), and in the process, our gut bacteria provides us with many benefits and nutrients.

Barbara says:

i made these as muffins. Delicious!

Jenny says:

The substitution for cocoa is carob.

Jaclyn says:

What are the changes to this recipe if I used flax seed meal instead of chia seed? Would the final product still taste as good?

Houseblessings says:

Can I make my own Chia meal in my Vitamix?

We haven’t tried it, but we hear the Vitamix can do just about anything. I’d try a coffee grinder or a spice grinder, if the vitamix can’t do the trick.

Georgina K. says:

Hi! I was wondering if I can use regular sugar in place of the sweetener, and if so, how much to use? Thanks!

Yes, we think you can, but it won’t be low carb any longer. We’d recommend using the same amount of sugar as the replacement sugar called for in this recipe- 3/4 cup.

[…] Mocha Chunk Chia Seed Brownies on Bob’s Red Mill […]

I made these yesterday, accidentally forgetting the coffee but deliberately using coconut oil in place of the butter. They are fantastic, amazing, super delicious! I have to keep myself from devouring the whole pan. Thanks much!

Tara says:

Did you use a 9 x 9 pan as the recipe says? Mine did not get done after a half an hour. (recipe says 15 minutes) Mine came out like a molten cake.

nina says:

Hi these sound so great, I saw comments on using agave has anyone actually used this recipe with honey, maple syrup or agave any advice on quantity

Jenna says:

What an awesome recipe.
Could cocoa nibs could be substituted for cocoa powder. If so, what would be the ratio?

Alicja says:

I just made these. Left out the coffee, didn’t add water. After 15 minutes it looked still liquid. I doubled the baking time and ended up with more of a very moist, fluffy cake, about 1.5 inches high. Would it solidify into a thinner, dense brownie if I took it out after 15 minutes?


I haven’t made this myself, but I think it would be more like the picture above if you took it out at 15 minutes and let them cool. I’m not totally sure, but the coffee might help the chia seed meal thicken- so it might not have worked out the same because of that.

Carolyn says:

Hi Alicja,

By not adding any liquid, you didn’t let the chia seeds do their thing, which is to become like a gel that moistens the whole recipe. So that would be the issue here.

Jackie says:

After 20 minutes (and letting them cool, the brownies were way too liquid to cut, much less eat. After an additional 15 minutes of cooking, they are ok (still a bit fudgy).

Tara says:

I had the same experience. I’m wondering if my bigger pan would be the fix.

Sophia says:

Can u sub flax for the chia seeds?

cis says:

They look good, but I have a fundamental concern:
cooking with chia? It does not seem a good idea, as it is almost guaranteed to fully denature the omega-3s in them.


While that may be the case, the chia sees here are used to give the brownies a boost of fiber.

Cathy says:

Baking with Chia seeds results in an indirect heat that does not harm the nutritional value.

Colleen says:

I have been low carb and added sugar or processed foods for six months.
I have tried three low carb brownie mixes from Amazon (quite expensive).
I have also tried three or four low carb brownie recipes from Pinterest.
I made these with sugar free french vanilla cappacino instead of coffee.
These are the BEST low carb brownies that I have ever had !
I love brownies, so you are my hero !
Thank you for posting this recipe 🙂

Susan says:

This looks so wonderful! I am allergic to the protein in milk and eggs so I can only eat them if they have baked at 350 degrees for 45 min. Do you have any similar recipes that bake longer? I am also on a low carb – basically protein and veggies – eating style that my doctor put me on to lose weight. Getting bored and looking for alternatives.

If you search the recipe section on our website you will find some there.

View Comments

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

Keep up to date on the latest from
Bob's Red Mill
Subscribe Now