brownies and beans

A friend gave me an intriguing recipe today and because I had the time as well as all of the ingredients, I gave it a go. Black Bean Brownies appealed to me not so much as a healthy alternative to an otherwise decadent dessert, but because I wondered if the full, rich flavor of black beans would intensify the chocolate-ness of it all.

The brownies took only minutes to throw together and put in the oven and I was surprised to see them puff up as they contain no baking powder or baking soda. (Though whipping the eggs in a blender would add air.) The original recipe was heralded as gluten-free, but this wasn’t entirely true as most oats contain traces of gluten. Leaving out the oats (which I would do next time as they didn’t serve much of a purpose flavor- or texture-wise) would make them truly gluten-free.

I’d eat them regardless of nutrient content or health claim, though, as they’re sweet and melt-in-your mouth chocolatey. With no flour, they’ll get thumbs-down from anyone who enjoys cakey brownies–these are more moist, dense, and pudding-like. I ran nutrition numbers and each brownie clocks in at 170 calories. Use nuts instead of chocolate and the number goes down a bit; omit the chocolate or nut topping and you’re down to 130. That’s not oodles lower than a standard brownie (though far lower than some of the ultra-decadent versions), but you also get 3 grams of fiber and 4 of protein, which is better than what you’d find in most baked goods.

These brownies are more of a novelty for me as I very much enjoy using butter, white flour, and sugar in dessert-like baked goods. That said, this was a fun recipe to try and these intensely chocolate brownies will disappear quickly in my house. Next time I have a can of black beans on my shelf, I might just whip up another pan of brownies!

black bean brownies in a Christmas tree pan

black bean brownies in a Christmas tree pan

black.bean. brownie.

black. bean. brownie.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate or nuts

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 9×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In blender container (or in bowl using immersion blender), combine all ingredients except oats and chopped chocolate or nuts. Blend until smooth. Stir in oats. Pour batter into pan. Sprinkle with chocolate or nuts. Bake 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Cool on wire rack. Makes 12 brownies.