Black Bean Brownies

I know you're skeptical, but give the black bean brownies a chance! Who could say no to that plate?
I know you're skeptical, but give the black bean brownies a chance! Who could say no to that plate?
I know you’re skeptical, but give the black bean brownies a chance! Who could say no to that plate?

Paul and I have been on a health kick lately, so I’m revisiting some lighter recipes. Here’s a simple dessert that’s filling, gluten-free and high in fiber, thanks to these little guys:

Rinse your black beans very well to remove the liquid and extra sodium.
Rinse your black beans very well to remove the liquid and extra sodium.

Yep, black beans! I know it sounds strange, but the beans replace all the flour and produce a thick, fudgy brownie. The trick is to pulverize them in a food processor until they are very, very smooth. (You can make this recipe with a blender, but it will take longer to achieve the right texture.) I won’t say that you’ll fool anyone into thinking these are regular brownies, but they’re definitely capable of satisfying a craving with about 160 calories each.

The original recipe I used comes from Meal Makeover Moms. I’ve made a few changes to their version, including adding a ripe banana for more moisture, reducing the oil, increasing the chocolate chips(!) and omitting the peppermint extract.

Printer-friendly PDF available here.

Black Bean Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and coat an 8 x 8-inch brownie pan with cooking spray. Rinse your black beans in a colander until no bubbles appear, then shake the colander and let them dry out for a few minutes.
  2. Add the black beans, banana and oil to the work bowl of a food processor. Process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You can’t really over-mix at this point, so don’t rush it! (The original recipe has you processing the beans by themselves, but I think you get a smoother result when there’s some liquid and other ingredients with them.)
    Action shot!
    Action shot!

    Process the beans, banana and oil until very smooth, pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.
    Process the beans, banana and oil until very smooth, pausing to scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt to the food processor. Process just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

    Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and process.
    Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and process.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips (reserving 1/4 cup) to the food processor and pulse it several times until the chips are combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the reserved chocolate chips.
    Add 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips to the batter and reserve the rest for the top of the brownies.
    Add 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips to the batter and reserve the rest for the top of the brownies. This addition to the batter really ups its brownie game (and helps to conceal the beans!).

    Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
    Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes until the brownie begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool before slicing, preferably overnight. I know it’s hard to resist the appeal of a warm brownie, but these are definitely better the next day.
    Bake until the brownie begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
    Bake until the brownie begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

    Cool them in the pan as long as you can stand it! (Knitted potholder courtesy of my sister--thanks Lauren!)
    Cool them in the pan as long as you can stand it! (Knitted potholder pictured courtesy of my sister–thanks Lauren!)
  6. Fun but not necessary: Slip them to your friends and family under the guise of “dessert” and see if they can discern the secret ingredient.

    Enjoy with a big mug of coffee or tea.
    Enjoy with a big mug of coffee or tea.

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