Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brownie Experiments With Black Beans

Doesn't that brownie look good? Well, it is...its got all the chocolaty goodness you'd expect from a brownie & its got fiber and protein from black beans. Um, yes, you read right.

Why would I ever think of putting black beans in brownies? Well, I'd heard rumors of them, but didn't give the idea a second thought (I mean really, black beans in a sweet treat?!?) But my father's recent passing has made me hyper-health conscious and I want to take better care of the family left behind. Of course, I find a lot of my solace and solutions to life's problems in the kitchen...hence, the black bean brownie experiments.

I admit the combination of chocolate and black beans just sounds wrong…but trust me, the results are good…actually better than good. Fine, make a face, but keep reading.

I tried several recipes and tried them out on unsuspecting children and adults (all related). The results were 99 percent positive.

To save time, I used canned black beans, rinsed and drained to remove the extra sodium and the canning liquid. Black beans add protein, fiber and moisture to your special brownies and are a great way to give your children (and yourself) a tasty treat that’s actually on the healthy side.

The simplest recipe I found is:
1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed & drained
1 box brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownies, but use your favorite)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

NOTE: You are essentially skipping the oil and eggs


1. Preheat oven according to box mix directions and spray/grease a 8”X8”pan.
2. Place the black beans back into the can and add enough water to just cover the beans.
3. Place the brownie mix, beans with water, and vanilla (if using) in a blender & process until combined and smooth.
4. Mix in the chopped nuts (if using).
5. Pour into prepared pan & scatter the chocolate morsels on top (if using).
6. Bake according to box directions. Test doneness by inserting a toothpick or knife at the center and should come out clean.
7. Cool & serve. These got rave reviews from my kids, my 14-year-old nephew and adults who managed to get some.

Note: I love blenderizing my having to drag out my pretty, but heavy, stand mixer.

Flourless, Sugarless, and Oil-free Black Bean Brownies – Okay, I know these don’t sound like Brownies at all, but they were a hit with adults. My darling husband described them as smooth & peanut buttery. Personally, I loved the coffee flavor. The kids suggested I leave out the coffee…um, not happening.

1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs + white of 1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa powder (don’t go for the extra dark)
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
½ cup Splenda or other sugar substitute (or less if you prefer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ to ¼ cup instant oats (optional – leave them out if you want grain-free brownies)
½ cup chocolate chips (divided)


1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees and spray/grease a 8”X8” pan.
2. Put black beans, eggs, cocoa, apple sauce, flavorings (Vanilla to Chipotle), Splenda and baking powder in a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Stir in oats (if using) and ¼ cup of chocolate chips.
4. Pour mix into prepared baking pan and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges start pulling away from the side. You can also do the toothpick test.
6. Cool 10 minutes and serve.

Please Note: The batter --still waiting to be baked -- looks very, very chocolaty!

Now, if you want recipes a bit closer to traditional brownies, i.e. including some flour, oil and sugar in the mix, I found two very decent ones:

Weight Watchers Black Bean Brownies

Melissa d'Arabian's Black Bean Brownies

Happy Eating!


  1. Sorry to hear about your dad. Thank you for sharing the recipe; it's always nice to be able to food the kids w/a healthy alternative!

    1. Thanks for visiting! Yes, feeding kids can be a challenge at times. :)