Who knew that the humble black bean could be turned into such a delicious treat?! I love black beans in salads, soups, and tacos, but love them extra here. These healthy brownies have a rich dark chocolate flavor and are not overly sweet thanks to the raw chocolate powder and all-natural ingredients.
Black beans make the perfect healthy base for brownies and don’t leave behind any black bean flavor. For real! I was skeptical, too, but now I’m a believer. Don’t mention it to anyone until after they eat them—no one will know about your secret ingredient.
The Best Black Bean Brownies Ingredients:
Black beans: One of natures most super of superfoods, black beans double as a protein and good carb. They’re also loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, making this a much healthier base than traditional wheat flour in brownies. Look for a 15-ounce can or box (plain, no seasoning added of course) and rinse and drain them well. One 15-ounce can is approximately one and three-quarter cups.
Flax eggs: I know this sounds weird at first if you’ve never made a flax egg, but trust me, it works and you’ll want to use it often. A flax “egg” is simply one tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with three tablespoons warm water. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes for the flax seeds to absorb the water and gelatinize, and voila! You’ve just made yourself a vegan egg replacement. Flax eggs work great in baking and usually do a great job to replace a regular egg. You can read more about how to make the best flax eggs here.
Whole rolled oats: I used whole rolled oats in these black bean brownies to give them some structure. Oats are gluten-free by nature, but they’re usually stored with other grains, so if gluten-free is important to you, then look for certified gluten-free oats. To make this recipe grain-free you can substitute the oats with almond flour one for one. I prefer the texture with the oats, but almond flour works if you want a true grain-free brownie.
Cacao powder: Cacao is raw chocolate. It has an earthy chocolate flavor and is another superfood packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I use cacao powder in almost all of my chocolate recipes for its purity and health benefits, but you can substitute vegan unsweetened cocoa powder (cacao’s roasted cousin) if you prefer. But try cacao if you can! It’s delicious. I use the Thrive Market brand because it’s high quality and a great price.
Vegan dark chocolate chips: Look for the highest quality possible. The addition of the chocolate chips to the cacao powder makes these brownies extra chocolatey and full of flavor. Like with the cacao powder, I use the Thrive Market brand because they’re healthy and a great price.
For the rest of the ingredients, like always, read your labels and use the highest quality you can find.
2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons water, let to sit for 15-30 minutes)
1/2 cup whole rolled oats
(1) 15-ounce can black beans, well rinsed and well drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or other healthy oil of your choice)
3/4 cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder if you prefer)
3/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon high-quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegan dark chocolate chips, divided
First, make the flax eggs as they need to sit for 15-30 minutes to gelatinize. While the flax egg mixture sits, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with a healthy extra virgin olive oil spray, or use a paper towel with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil to grease the pan.
Place the 1/2 cup of whole rolled oats into the food processor and process for about 30 to 45 seconds until you have milled oat flour. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and process for about 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Mix until very well combined and thick. Once the brownie mix is made, add 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips and pulse once or twice to combine.
Pour the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish and smooth evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle on an additional 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips if desired. A few tablespoons of chopped walnuts would also be a great addition to the top if desired.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the sides appear completely cooked. The middle will stay a little gooey but will firm up as it sets.
Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the brownies to firm up. I find them even better the next day. Cut into 4 sections lengthwise and widthwise to have 16 brownies.
Store in the refrigerator up to a week, or freeze up to three months.
– This recipe is written for an 8×8-inch dish – I used a Cuisinart 12-cup food processor to make this recipe and many others and I highly recommend it for this recipe. An 8-cup food processor would work, too. A blender can work if that’s your only option, just stop often and scrape down the sides and continue to blend until you have a smooth batter.
If you make them, let us know how they turn out in the comments.