You’d never guess the secret ingredient in these black bean brownies! They’re naturally sweetened, rich, and delicious hot out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream or a cold glass of almond milk. Or maybe both, if you’re like my dad.
I have the mindset: eat healthy 80-90% of the time and then indulge in things that I really love and that are worth it for the other 10-20%. My favorite treats include a lot of chocolate– mostly dark chocolate peanut butter cups, really good ice cream, and really good brownies. Healthy brownies typically haven’t really interested me in the past (and I know these won’t be everyone’s cup of tea!).
But this year, for my dad’s birthday, I had a new baking challenge. He and my mom have cut most of the refined sugar, grain, and dairy out of their diets for medical reasons, and I still wanted to make something special for his birthday. So, my mom and I started sending recipe ideas back and forth that might work, and I ultimately decided to make these secretly healthy black bean brownies.I knew it may take a few recipe attempts to make brownies we liked, and I ended up making three batches of brownies. These are the best ones!
Oh yeah, and I decided it would be fun not to tell my dad these brownies had black beans until after he ate them. I actually didn’t tell them until several days later, when all the leftovers were gone, and my dad had no idea! He really loved them.
And all you need to make them is a powerful blender or a food processor, because whole black beans in brownies are, uh, a dead giveaway.Now, I will say that these are not the fudgiest, gooiest baked brownies I’ve ever tasted in my life, but that would be a little unrealistic since they’re pretty healthy. They are, however, rich and dark chocolate-y, and they’re especially delicious hot out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream on top or a glass of almond milk on the side.
If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember these ultra-fudgy raw brownies and wonder how these black bean brownies compare. I’d say that those brownies are an amazing fudgy brownie best eaten cold (kind of more like flourless chocolate cake!) while these are more like a traditional baked good, if that makes sense. These black bean brownies are ideal for serving warm with ice cream, which is why I wanted to make them for my dad. He loves cookies and brownies hot out of the oven with ice cream, almond milk, or both!
I’ve seen healthy brownie recipes that call for avocado, bananas, or zucchini, but at least in my mind, those aren’t really subtle ingredients. With these, I love that you can’t tell they’re healthy! And I really love that these black bean brownies are made with pantry staples so you can whip up a batch anytime.
They’re free of refined sugar and actually pretty low in sugar overall, so they won’t spike your blood sugar, which is awesome for my dad who’s a Type 1 diabetic. I used a combination of natural sweeteners (maple syrup and coconut sugar), but the amount of coconut sugar is so small that you could easily use regular granulated sugar for those couple of tablespoons. I also used dark chocolate cocoa powder because it’s what I love. You can find it at your grocery store next to the regular cocoa power. And these flourless brownies are naturally gluten free if that’s helpful for you!
These brownies are healthy enough that I loved even having the leftovers for an afternoon snack some days (there were a LOT of leftovers with 3 batches, but we had no problem finishing them off). And if you’re wondering…would you make them again? The answer is YES– I actually made them again this past weekend just because!
If you try out these black bean brownies, rate the recipe and let me know in a comment or take a picture and tag me @livbane on Instagram! I’d love to see!
Black Bean Brownies (You'd Never Guess!)
- 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (1 3/4 cups)
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tbsp. melted butter (can sub coconut oil)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar (can easily sub regular granulated sugar)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, plus 2 Tbsp. extra to sprinkle on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or powerful blender, add black beans, eggs, butter., maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add cocoa powder, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder and blend again until combined. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
- Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add brownie batter to the pan and smooth with a spoon. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until brownies are mostly set. (You can jiggle the pan and brownies should just barely jiggle in the middle– be careful not to over-bake).
- Let brownies cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve warm with ice cream. Or, let cool completely, slice into 9 squares, and enjoy at room temperature.
Heavily adapted from this recipe