Black Bean Brownies

America’s favourite chocolate treat, the brownie, is loved for its fudgy consistency and rich taste.

These chocolate brownies have a fudgy texture but are not overly gooey. They hold together nicely, they melt in your mouth and they are as decadent as a brownie should be. You can eat them with your fingers or with a scoop of ice cream using a fork.

But the best part is that they are low in saturated fat and high in fibre and antioxidants. It’s a healthy brownie that tastes just as rich and awesome as a classic buttery brownie.

There is no white flour, no white sugar and no dairy butter in this recipe. Instead, I’ve added black beans, cashew butter,100% cacao powder and 70% dark chocolate. For sweetness, I reduced the 11/2 to 2 cups of white sugar found in most traditional brownie recipes to 1/4 cup granulated sugar cane and 1/4 cup maple syrup.

Making brownies with black beans is not new; you can’t even taste them. However, last week, I came up with this vegetarian version with two fresh eggs. Should you want to make them vegan, you can substitute the eggs with silken tofu.

High in protein, nutrients and fibre – without sacrificing anything on taste – this recipe pushes all the buttons for nutrition, taste and texture.

The recipe is below.


Black Bean Brownies

  • 1/4 cup 100% cacao powder (no additives or preservatives)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated organic sugar cane (e.g. Dark Mascobado) or coconut sugar
  • 100 grams 70% dark chocolate, divided in two parts * (see note)
  • 1/3 cup 100% smooth cashew butter (or almond butter), no sugar added
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1X400 gram jar/can cooked black beans, strained and rinsed well (1 cup strained beans)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 medium/large eggs (for vegan, substitute eggs with 1/2 cup (130 grams) organic silken tofu)

* Note: It’s better to use a good quality dark chocolate.


Oven: 350°F/ 180°C

One square pan lined with parchment: approx. 8 inches X 8 inches (20 X 20 cm)

In your NutriBullet or small blender bowl, add the cacao powder, baking powder, vanilla powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar and process for a few seconds until powdery. Set this aside.

Break up half of the dark chocolate to make 50 grams or about 1/2 cup of chocolate broken into pieces. Transfer the pieces into a small microwaveable bowl. Add the cashew butter and almond milk to the chocolate. Microwave this on high for 15 seconds (not longer) then take it out and stir with fork. Repeat this three times until most has melted. After, stir the mixture with a fork in the hot bowl until completely melted. Melting the chocolate this way will prevent it from burning in the microwave (which doesn’t taste good!). Alternatively, you can use the double boiler method on the stove-top, but this takes more time. Set this aside on countertop.

In the bowl of your food processor, add the strained black beans and maple syrup and process until a thick paste with small chunks of beans forms.

Then add the eggs (or silken tofu) and process for a minute or so until well mixed and combined.

Add the melted chocolate/cashew butter mixture and process until completely combined.

Then add the powdered cacao mixture and process for a minute or so, until you obtain a creamy chocolatey mixture and the black beans are specks. You may have to stop your processor half way to scrape the sides of the bowl.

As an option for an extra chocolatey flavour, chop the remaining half of the dark chocolate (50 grams) into small chunks and scatter some of the chunks into the mixture. Lightly process for a few seconds just to mix them in.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined pan and spread evenly. Can sprinkle the top with a bit more of the dark chocolate chunks, if you want (option). Preserve any remaining chopped chocolate in a sealed container or jar in your fridge or freezer for future use.

Bake in preheated oven on centre rack for 25 to 30 minutes, until cracked at the top. Let cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan and then transfer with the parchment kept underneath to a wired wrack to cool completely before slicing into squares.

Left over brownies can be rapped with foil or placed in a sealed container and stored in refrigerator.

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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