These brownies are rich, moist and chewy. They are also vegan and virtually fat-free! They are quite possibly the world’s healthiest, yet still scrumptious brownie! The black beans provide binding and substance (sort of like egg and flour), while providing protein and fiber. I created them when I first taught at Dr. McDougall’s Health & Medical Center for their Celebrity Chef Weekend back in 2009.
Serve these brownies alone with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar or, if you really want to impress, top with my homemade cashew-based Vanilla Ice Cream and Fresh Strawberry Sauce for a show-stopping ending to any meal. Your family and friends will never guess this decadent dessert is actually good for them!
P.S. If serving with powdered sugar, sprinkle each square just before serving. If sprinkled on ahead of time, the moisture in the brownies will seep into the powdered sugar and make the top of the brownies look gummy.
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1¼ cups pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup organic fair trade cocoa powder *See Note Below
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup oat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (oat flour will make a fudgier brownie, while whole wheat will make a cakier brownie)
- Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream (Vegan) & Fresh Strawberry Sauce (optional)
- Garnish with fresh mint; dust rim of plate with powdered sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8” pan with parchment paper and allow about 1” of the paper to hang out on each side. Spray with a little non-stick cooking spray. This will allow you to lift the brownies out of the pan once they cool.
- Place black beans in food processor and with the blade running, stream in maple syrup. Process until smooth.
- Add the flax seeds, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt process until well mixed.
- Add the flour and pulse until just until barely combined, scraping the sides as needed. Do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan. Bake approximately 40 minutes or until center is no longer jiggly when shaken gently and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
- Allow to cool completely before slicing. Cut into 12 rectangles.
- Top with a scoop of Iced Vanilla Cashew Cream and drizzle with Fresh Strawberry Sauce (see recipes, below).
Make this fresh, sweet syrup whenever strawberries are in season. Drizzle it over ice cream, pancakes or French toast. Substitute any seasonal fresh fruit for the strawberries including blueberries, peaches, kiwi and more!
2 cups fresh strawberries (substitute frozen, thawed organic strawberries if desired)
¼ cup pure maple syrup (more or less as needed depending on sweetness of fruit)
Puree in blender until smooth. Pour into a squeeze bottle and drizzle onto plate beneath brownies.
*Note: Visit The Food Empowerment Project at www.foodispower.org for a list of organic, vegan, slavery-free brands of chocolate and cocoa powders.
Nutrition Facts: Black beans are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, and are the single most important food we can add to our diet for health and longevity. Beans are a staple of all of the longest lived, healthiest people around the world. Black beans in particular, are also a rich source of phytochemicals, including anthocyanins, which help fight inflammation and cancer[i].
Brownies are typically loaded with butter and eggs – both extremely high in fat and cholesterol. According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, we should avoid foods that contain saturated fats in order to reduce our risk of heart disease[ii]. Saturated fat is found in both eggs and butter, usually used to make conventional brownies.
By replacing eggs and butter with black beans, we’ve eliminated the saturated fat and cholesterol and cut the calories, while lowering our risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer.
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2009. © All Rights Reserved. www.emilyhoneycutt.com
[i] M. Dong, X. He, and R. H. Liu. Phytochemicals of black bean seed coats: Isolation, structure elucidation, and their antiproliferative and antioxidative activities. J. Agric. Food. Chem., 55(15):6044-6051, 2007.
[ii] R H Eckel, J M Jakicic, J D Ard, J M de Jesus, N Houston Miller, V S Hubbard, I M Lee, A H Lichtenstein, C M Loria, and more. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014 Jun 24;129(25 Suppl 2):S76-99.